27 April 2012

Enlisting in God’s Army

Imagine with me: You have just signed up to the national armed forces in medieval times...

This is not an army for just anyone. You have to be called and chosen, personally selected by the commander-and-chief himself. After an amazing welcome ceremony and extensive training you are standing alongside a platoon of new recruits. The air is buzzing with excitement. Suddenly a helmet gets put on you, then body armour, belt and shoes. Finally a sword and shield is thrust into your hands. You gaze your eyes over them and notice these are no ordinary weapons. They have amazing detail and have been carefully crafted. You feel amazing!

2 Timothy 2:3-7 NIV
Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

Soon you are all transported to an unknown destination. The target is a small castle located on top of a hill. You are told this is new territory that has to be taken. Together with a small company of soldiers in a covert operation at night, your feet hit the ground and you start running. Suddenly the enemy comes out like a flood and all of hell is unleashed against you!

You start fighting back and thrusting your sword. You make some progress, but all of a sudden ten arrows get lodged 100km/h into your shield; and these arrow tips are on fire! The shock scares the living daylights out of you and you step back momentarily. You get hit in the side and you retreat back to the hospital for immediate medical attention.

A few weeks later you are back on the battlefield and the enemy comes right at you. You start fighting one on one – parry… thrust… parry… thrust. You refuse to step back but press forward until the enemy is backed into a wall. You strike him down and on the third blow he is destroyed.

The same happens with other enemies that come at you. You find that your sword and shield is far superior to theirs. You strike them down easier than you had imagined. You and your fellow soldiers take the castle and put up the flag of your kingdom. VICTORY!

Several days later you are back on the battlefield with a platoon of soldiers and leaders fighting with you this time. The general advises everyone of a change in direction. You are ordered to head down a dark path in a forest you are sure is unsafe, riddled with booby traps. Suddenly, the enemy comes out like a flood and has the entire platoon surrounded.

Booby traps go off everywhere and many soldiers are hit by incoming fire. You fight back to back with your officer and make some progress. Suddenly you get hit from behind sure your leader had your back. The call to retreat is sounded and many run but some sadly taken captive. You are heavily wounded but still manage to evade capture.

The pain this time is unbearable. You lose all rational thoughts of thinking and feel terribly insecure. Trust in those above you has been broken. Others who were fighting alongside you also got wounded, everyone except the leaders. Some you started out with leave the army and encourage you to do the same. But you press on, there’s no turning back. You have come too far. There is too much at stake. You reason there is nothing worth going back to anyway. Besides, you have been chosen by the commander-and-chief himself, and you don’t want to let him down.

A few months later you are back on the same battlefield with the platoon and the enemy comes right at you. You’re a different man now; more resilient, stronger, wiser, experienced. Attacks don’t surprise you anymore. In a matter of moments the enemy is defeated, one after the other after the other.

You take new ground and are at a place you have never been before. You come across the POW camp and release the prisoners, declaring freedom to the captives. Later you are promoted to a platoon of soldiers for excellence in bravery and overcoming against the odds. You put up the flag of your kingdom. VICTORY!

You feel invincible. The following week there is another castle still to be captured. It is deep in unchartered territory but you reason victory is achievable. Against orders you venture out in a covert operation with a few chosen soldiers, trusted and experienced in battle. You are full of destiny and vision but pride and ego have now set in. You don’t want to admit so you conveniently ignore it. You set out and your unit is ambushed by the enemy. You fight well for a time but you get hit with your shield not proving to withstand the onslaught of fiery arrows. You retreat back to the medical hospital questioning all the way just what went wrong…


The Fight of Faith

Welcome to the battlefield Christian. What did you expect? A walk in the park? Strolling through tulips and roses?  Faith isn’t casually heading down a path leading to heaven without any problems. The truth is there is a spiritual war raging all around you against your soul.

When you give your life to Christ you automatically enlist into God’s end time army. Opposition and battles come your way as a by-product. Being a Christian is warfare on a galactic scale. Heaven knows you and hell knows you. You have unlimited potential to take much ground and achieve greatness for the Kingdom of God. You are a massive threat, so all the enemy’s forces will stop at nothing to take you out.

The enemy is very cunning and scheming. He has had centuries of experience and knows human nature very well. He has no new tricks because the ones he uses are always effective. His weapons are only lies of discouragement, disappointment, fear and intimidation. We are the ones who choose to believe them and let them lead us astray or not.

Ephesians 6:10-12 NIV
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Much is at stake and God needs more than conquerors in His army. The fight of faith is to be bold, dedicated and strong in the day of trial and temptation. It is also to be incredibly surrendered and humbled. To have childlike faith, a pure heart and clean mind. To be shrewd as snakes but as innocent as doves.

The fight of faith is similar to castles and domains that you need to take. Battles can be against areas of strongholds, temptations to overcome, difficult people and physical places. Hardship handled correctly is greatly beneficial and profitable. Always know that the enemy is never people – it is the devil and the kingdom of darkness.

Capturing fortresses, mountains and castles is your objective. Every battle you go through you only get stronger in your authority. When you beat that castle you beat that area in your life! It is okay you will make mistakes along the way. We will all fall at some point – ourselves and others. If you get wounded church is our hospital for restoration, healing, guidance and strength in our time of need. We learn greatest by making one major mistake over 100 successes any day.

Ephesians 6:13 NIV
Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Take heart today Christian. The enemy is fighting a losing war. You are on the winning side, victory has already been declared. Our role is to simply be faithful and go where the Holy Spirit guides and leads us. When you’re going through a battle, always remember at the end of the day… we win!!