The Chocolate Soldier Part One
Heroism is the lost chord, the missing note of present day Christianity!
Every true soldier is a hero! A soldier without heroism is a chocolate soldier!
EVERY TRUE CHRISTIAN IS A SOLDIER of Christa hero per excellence! Braver than the bravestscorning the soft seductions of peace and her oft repeated warnings against hardship, disease, danger and death, whom he counts among his bosom friends.
The otherwise Christian is a Chocolate Christian, dissolving in water and melting at the smell of fire. Sweeties they are! Bonbons, lollipops! Living their lives in a glass dish or in a cardboard box, each clad in his soft clothing, a little frilled white paper to preserve his dear little delicate constitution.
Here are some Portraits of Chocolate Soldiers taken by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He said, I go sir, and went not. He said he would go to the mission field, but he stuck fast to the Western world instead.
They say and do notthey tell others to go, and yet do not go themselves. Never, said General Gordon to a corporal, as he himself jumped upon the parapet of a trench before Sebastopol to fix a gabion which the corporal had ordered a private to fix and would not fix himself, Never tell another man to do what you are afraid to do yourself.
To the Chocolate Christian the very thought of war brings a violent attack of ague, while the call to battle always finds him with the palsy. I really cannot move, he says. I only wish I could, but I can sing, and here are some of my favourite lines:
I must be carried to the skies
On a flowery bed of ease,
Let others fight to win the prize,
Or sail through bloody seas.
Mark time, Christian heroes,
Never go to war;
Stop and mind the babies
Playing on the floor.
Wash and dress and feed them
Forty times a week,
Til theyre roly poly
Puddings so to speak.
Round and round the nursery
Let us ambulate,
Sugar and spice and all thats nice
Must be on our plate.
Thank the good Lord, said a very fragile, white-haired lady, God never meant me to be a jellyfish! She wasnt!
God never was a chocolate manufacturer and never will be. Gods men are always heroes. In Scripture you can trace their giant foot-tracks down the sands of time.
NOAH walked with God; he did not only preach righteousness, he acted it. He went through water and did not melt. He breasted the current of the popular opinion of his day, scorning alike the hatred and ridicule of the scoffers who mocked at the thought of there being but one way of salvation. He warned the unbelieving and, entering the ark himself, did not open the door an inch when once God had shut it. A real hero untainted by the fear of man!
Learn to scorn the praise of men, Learn to lose with God; Jesus won the world through shame! And beckons us His road.
ABRAHAM, a simple farmer, at a word from the invisible God, marched with family and stock through the terrible desert to a distant land to live among a people whose language he could neither speak nor understand! Not bad that! But later he did even better, marching hot foot against the combined armies of five kings, flushed with recent victory, to rescue one man! His army? Just 318 odd fellows, armed like a circus crowd. And he won!
He always wins who sides with God. What pluck! Only a farmer! No war training! Yet what hero has eclipsed his feat? He was the Friend of Godthat was his open secret.
MOSES, the man of God, was a species of human chameleon: scholar, general, law-giver, leader, etc., brought up as the emperors grandson with more than a good chance of coming to the throne. There was only one thing between him and itTruth. What a choice! What a temptation! A throne for a lie! Ignominy, banishment, or likely enough death for the truth! He played the man! Refusing to be called the son of Pharaohs daughter, he chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin and success for a season, accounting the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.
Again I see him. Now an old man and alone, marching stolidly back to Egypt after forty years of exile. He goes to beard the lion in his den, to liberate Pharaohs slaves right under his very nose, and to lead them across that great and terrible wilderness. A wild-cat affair, if ever there was one! When were Gods schemes otherwise? Look at Jordan, Jericho, Gideon, Goliath, and scores of others. Tame tabby-cat schemes are stamped with another hallmark that of the Chocolate Brigade! How dearly they love their tabbies, yet think themselves wise men! Real Christians revel in desperate ventures for Christ, expecting from God great things and attempting the same with exhilaration. History cannot match this feat of Moses. How was it done? He consulted not with flesh and blood; he obeyed not men but God.
Once again I see the old grey-beard, this time descending Mount Sinai with giant strides and rushing into the camp, his eyes blazing like burning coals. One man against two million dancing dervishes drunk with debauchery! Bravo! Well done, old man! First class! His cheek does not pale, but his mouth moves, and I think I catch his words, If God is for me, who can be against me? I will not be afraid of ten thousand of the people that have set themselves against me. Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear. And he didnt. He wins again. Whence this desperate courage? Listen! Now the man Moses was very meek above all the men which were upon the face of the earth. The Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. My servant Moses, said his Master, is faithful in all My house; with him I will speak mouth to mouth. Such is the explanation of Moses, the chameleon, the man, the friend of God, and consequently a first class hero.
DAVID, the man after Gods own heart, was a man of war and a mighty man of valour. When all Israel were on the run, David faced Goliathalone…with Godand he was only a youngster, and well-scolded, too, by his own brother for having come to see the battle. What a splendid fool brother Eliab must have been! As though David would go to see a battle and not stay to fight. They are chocolate soldiers who merely go to see battles and coolly urge others to fight them. They had better save their journey money and use it to send out real fighters instead. Soldiers dont need dry nurses, and if they did the Holy Spirit is always on the spot and ready to undertake any case on simple application.
No! David went to the battle and stayed to fight, and won! Wise beyond his years, he had no use for Sauls armour. It cramped his freedom of action. He tried it on and took it off, quick sharp. And besides, it made such a ghastly rattle, even when he walked, that he could not hear the still small voice of God, and would never have heard Him say afterwards, This is the way to the brook, David. And there are the five smooth stones! Trust only in Me and them. Your own home-made sling will do first class. And there, thats the shortest cut to Goliath. THE CHOCOLATES had run away (they were all chocolates) but David ran upon Goliath. One smooth stone was enough.
Davids secret was that he had but one Director, and He, the Infallible One. He directed the stone as He directed the youth. Too many directors spoil the sport, and two are too many by just one. Thus Christ said to His soldiers, HE shall teach you all things. HE shall guide you into all the truth.
This is My Beloved Son; HEAR HIM.
One mediator only, between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.
One Director of Christian menGod the Holy Spirit, whose directions require indeed instant obedience, but not the endorsement of any man.
The Devil needs red-hot shot, fresh from the foundry of the Holy Spirit. He laughs at cold shot or tepid, and as for that made of half iron and half clay, half divine and half human, why you might just as well pelt him with snow balls.
Whence did this raw youth derive his pluck and skill? Not from military camps, nor theological schools, nor religious retreats. To know the only True God and Jesus Christ is enough. Paul determined to know only Jesus Christ, and look at the great results! Whilst others were learning pretty theories, David, like John the Baptist, had been alone with God in the wilds, practising on bears and lions. The result? He knew God and did exploits. He knew God only. He trusted God only. He obeyed God only. That is the secret. God alone gives strength. God adulterated with men entails the weakness of iron and clayChocolatebrittleness!
Yet hero as he was, even David (alas!) once stayed and played the role of a Chocolate Soldier. HE STAYED AT HOME WHEN HE SHOULD HAVE GONE TO WAR. His army, far off, in danger, fighting the enemy, won. David, at home, secure, within sight of Gods house and often going there, suffered the one great defeat of his life, entailing such a bitter, life-long reaping as might well deter others from the folly of sowing wild oats. Davids sin is a terrific sermon (like Lots preaching in Sodom must have been). Its theme? DONT BE A CHOCOLATE SOLDIER!
In his simple, quick and full confession, David proved himself to be a man again. It takes a real man to make a true confessiona Chocolate Soldier will excuse or cloak his sin. He tumbles in the mud, flounders on, wipes his mouth to try and get the bad taste of his acted lie out of it, and then goes on his way saying, I have done no wickedness. A self-murdering fool! Killing his conscience to save his face, like Baalam beating the ass who sought to save his masters life. Being a Chocolate Soldier nearly finished David. Beware!
NATHAN was another real Christian Soldier. He went to his king and rebuked him to his face, like Peters dealing with Ananias (only David embraced his opportunity and confessed), and unlike the Chocolate Soldiers of today who go whispering about and refusing either to judge, rebuke, or put away evil because of the entailed scandal forsooth! Veritable Soapy Sams! They say, It is nothing, nothing at all! A mere misunderstanding! As though Gods cause would suffer more through a bold declaration and defence of the truth and the use of the knife, than by the hiding up of sin, and the certain development of mortification in the member, involving death to the whole body. He who does what is right is righteous; and he who does what is sinful is of the devil and ought to be told so. He that is a second time led captive by the devil needs neither plaster nor treacle, but the brave rebuke and summons to repentance of a righteous man to effect his salvation. We are badly in need of Nathans today, who fear God and nothing else, no, not even a scandal.
DANIEL was another hero. Of course he was! Was not the man greatly beloved of God, who sent an angel to tell him so?
I love to watch him as he walks, with firm step and radiant face, to the lions den, stopping but oncelike his Master on route to Calvaryto comfort his weeping and agonised emperor. God shut the mouths of the lions against Daniel, but opened them wide against those who had opened their mouths against His servant.
A man is known by his works, and the works of Daniel were his three friends who, rather than bow down to men or gold, braved the fiery furnace.
Again, see him going to the banquet hall, and hear his conductor whisper in his ear, Draw it mild, Daniel. Be statesmanlike. Youll get position and power again if you are tactful and wise, especially tactful. And Daniels simple reply, Get behind me, Satan! There he stands before the king, braving torture or instant death but its the king who quails, not Danielwho tells him to his face the whole hot truth of God, diminishing not a jot.
JOHN THE BAPTISTa man taught and made and sent from God. Good old John! Who doesnt love and admire him? Why, even Herod did. A genuine deficiency of oil and treacle in his composition! He always told the bang flat truth, with emphasis. As he loved, so he warned. He did not know how to butter up to anyone. He wooed with the sword, and men loved him the better for it. They always do.
The leaders of religion sent to John to ask him the dearly-loved question of every Pharisee, By what authority do you do these [good] things? They asked that of Christ Himself, and crucified Him for doing them. Johns answer was plain and pungent, I will tell you what you ask, and more. (John was always liberal!) I? I am nobody, but you and your masters are a generation of vipers. A good hot curry that! John never served his curries with butter sauce, but he was always very liberal with chutneya man of GodNO SUGAR PLUM, NOR CHOCOLATE SOLDIER HE!
Thus also he faced Herod after six months in an underground dungeon, and he a man of Gods Open Air Mission. Brought straight in before the king; surrounded with all the might and majesty of court; blinking at the unaccustomed sight of light, but by no means putting blinkers on the truth, he blurted out his hot and thunderous rebuke, It is not lawful for you to have your brothers wife. A whole sermon in one sentence, as easy to remember as impossible to forget. John had preached like that before. Like Hugh Latimer, he was not above repeating a good sermon to a king, word for word, when the king had not given sufficient heed to it.
John received the unique distinction of a first class character from both God and the agent of the devil. Listen to the Saviour indulging in an outburst of exquisite sarcasm, when He asked the crowd about John. What did you go out in the desert to see? A reed shaken by the wind? A man dressed in fine clothes? A Chocolate Christian? (How delicious! The Chocolates were right in front of Jesus at the time Pharisees, Sadducees, priests, scribes, lawyers and other hypocrites. How the crowd must have enjoyed it!) A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John. And what did the devils agent say when, after Johns death, he heard of Jesus? This, I tell you, is John raised from the dead. What a character! Fancy Jesus being mistaken for anyone! He could only have been mistaken for John. Nobody envies him the well-deserved honour, great though it was, for John was a man PURE GRANITE RIGHT THROUGH, WITH NOT A GRAIN OF CHOCOLATE IN HIM.
Had John but heard Jesus say, You will be My witnesses to the ends of the earth, I very much doubt if Herods dungeon or his soldiers could have detained him. He surely would have found some means of escape, and run off to preach Christs gospel, if not in the heart of Africa, then in some more difficult and dangerous place. Yet Christ said, referring to His subsequent gift of the Holy Spirit to every believer, He who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he, intimating that even greater powers than those of John are at the disposal of every Christian. What John was, each one of us can be: good, straight, bold, unconquerable, heroic.
But there are other footprintsoutrageous ones; they can only belong to one man, that grandest of Christian paradoxes, the little giant PAUL. His head was as big as his body, and his heart greater than both. Once he thought and treated every Christian as a combination of knave and fool. Then he became one himself. He was called fool because his acts were so far beyond the dictates of human reason, and mad because of his irrepressible fiery zeal for Christ and men. He was a first class scholar, but one who knew how to use scholarship properly; for he put it on the shelf, declaring the wisdom of men to be but folly, and determined to know nothing else except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. The result: he made the world turn somersault. His life was a perpetual gamble for God. Daily he faced death for Christ. Again and again he stood fearless before crowds thirsting for his blood. He stood before kings and governors and did not turn a hair. He did not even flinch before Nero, that vice president of hell. His sufferings were appalling; read them. He trod in his Masters footsteps, and so received the same splendid compliment that Jesus did, for God is always just in His favours. All forsook him. So there were some Chocolate Christians in those days too. Anyone who forsook Paul must have been made of Chocolate. Doubtless the CHOCOLATES excused themselves as they do today. Who could abide such a fanatical fiery fool, such an uncompromising character? Nobody could work with him, or he with them! (What a lie! Jesus did, and they got on well together.) A tactless enthusiast, who considered it his business to tell every man the unvarnished truth, regardless of consequences! He won his degree hands down, and without a touch of the spur, a first class one toothat of the headmans axenext best to that of the cross.
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 22 No 1
- From Spirit Action to Body Action
- Editors Note
- The Chocolate Soldier Part One
- Bible Study: Choice
- Thank GOD For The LawThe Guide to Our Manhood in Christ
- Tape Talk
- Where Lives Are Changed
- God Does Nothing by Halves
- Train Up A Child
- The Intercession of Rees Howells – Daniel
- A look At A Book
- Letters from Norman
- Christ in the Drivers Seat
- Words to Live By
- Body, Soul, and Spirit Part Two