A Call To Arms
A few months ago a friend of ours was staying at our house while on leave from basic training. A musician, he had recently joined the Army to play in the band. I was very interested as I listened to his stories about basic training because I realized that being in the United States Army was no different than being a part of God’s army. The training is built on similar principles. The main objective is to take many individuals, each unique, coming from varied abilities, backgrounds and life experiences, and shape, discipline, mold, and train them to operate and function as one machine.
One story he told was how all their identical black shoes were thrown into a huge pile in the middle of the room when one soldier forgot to put his away. When there are rules to be followed, no one is on their own. Each person’s conduct affects everyone who is part of the group. The consequences of it taking several days to completely sort out the shoes would probably keep someone from neglecting that task again. Each person must learn to be a dependable, reliable soldier, always putting the needs and objectives of the group above his own. The reason this is so important is that when they are in the heat of battle, each one knows that his backup is there, that he can always count on his fellow soldier.
Paul entreats Timothy to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, not to get caught up with the affairs of this life, and tells him the way to win is to play by the rules God has established (2 Tim. 2:3-5).
One difference I see between the two armies is the ability to define our enemy. Military enemies art not always so easy to recognize, but the Bible is very clear about the enemy of the Christian. His name is Satan, also known by many other names. The strongest attack that we in God’s army can wage against Satan is to see his big lie for what it is. His lie is that he is self-operating and independent from God, and that we humans are also independent, self-operating selves.
The biggest foothold that Satan has held in the world has been by our believing his lie that we are just us, living our own lives. Because of this belief, Satan could hide out "no holds barred" in the lives of non-Christians ("they are by nature the children of wrath" Eph. 2:2-3). He also hides out in Christians’ lives ("And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him to do his will." 2 Tim. 2:26), keeping them from being all that they were created to be: containers and expressers of the pure life of Christ’s Spirit.
C.T. Studd, in his little booklet, "The Chocolate Soldier," says that all true Christians are soldiers of Christ, but those not willing to go to war are chocolate soldiers, dissolving in water and melting at the smell of fire. He then traced one after another of the heroes listed in the Bible, from Noah to Paul. Each one of these men, in various circumstances, faced hard obstacles, often life-threatening, to walk out the life of God in them. With the light they had at the time, they trusted Him no matter what He told them to do. Imagine the ridicule Noah must have received as he hammered away on the ark for over 100 years; or the pain Moses felt when he came down from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments, only to see the impatient people worshiping a golden calf.
Down through the centuries, other soldiers have risen to the call of battle. One that stands out is Martin Luther, who brought out the great, vital truth of salvation by grace, long lost to church dogma. Countless others have taken that same salvation message to vast areas of the world who had never heard of Christ.
C T. Studd was most qualified to write about chocolate soldiers because he certainly was anything but. Literally giving up fame (he was one of England’s premier cricketers) and fortune, he set out as a young man, one of the famous "Cambridge Seven," to join Hudson Taylor’s China Inland Mission to take the gospel to China. Later on he went to India, and finally, beginning in 1910, when his health was nearly spent, his last twenty years were consumed with getting Christ into the hearts and lives of the natives of central Africa. Norman Grubb, in C.T. Studd, Cricketer & Pioneer, says about Studd "Penniless, turned down by the doctor, dropped by the Committee, yet told by God to go, what was he to do? ‘The only honest thing.’ Once more he staked all on obedience to God. As a young man he staked his career, in China he staked his fortune, now he staked his life. A gambler for God!"
But the call to battle is not some special appeal made only to a few chosen people; it is the call proclaimed to all who will hear and take it as their own. We are vessels, temples, and containers of the living God and our part is to recognize that fact and trust Him to live His life out through us, and as us. We do not know what God’s plans will be for us, how His Life will live out by us. That is part of the adventure and thrill. It probably looks very ordinary, but we know it is actually Christ living.
Once again, the battle is with Satan. We rescue first ourselves, and then others, from Satan’s lie that we are self-operating and can run our own lives. The reason that it is a battle and so serious is that when we believe we are just ourselves, it is actually Satan operating us in some self-for-self way. That is his hold on humanity. It must be broken.
So, how do you join the front line? Step right up and take your place as a soldier of Jesus Christ because you are one. What a privilege!
"Believing that further delay would be sinful, some of God’s insignificants and nobodies in particular, but trusting in our Omnipotent God, have decided on certain simple lines, according to the Book of God, to make a definite attempt to render the evangelization of the world an accomplished fact. For this purpose we have banded ourselves together under the name of ‘Christ’s nobodies,’ otherwise ‘Christ’s Etceteras.’"
"The Etcetera Evangelist must be a man of God and not a child of man. He is not the salaried servant of the Etcetera Committee. He is a servant of Jesus Christ with Whom he has settled terms of agreement already. He knows no other Master. He has not the ghost of a doubt about God supplying his need; he carries his chequebook with him always, and has no fear of the cheques being dishonoured. If death overtakes him on the battlefield, he knows such to be a special mark of Christ’s favour, Who has thus honoured and promoted him sooner than he had any right to expect. As he looks to God to supply his needs, so also shall he look to God for his guidance and shall obey Him."
"Too long have we been waiting for one another to begin! The time for waiting is past! The hour of God has struck! War is declared! In God’s Holy Name let us arise and build! ‘The God in Heaven He will fight for us,’ as we for Him. We will not build on the sand, but on the bedrock of the sayings of Christ, and the gates and minions of hell shall not prevail against us. Should such men as we fear? Before the whole world, aye, before the sleepy, lukewarm, faithless, namby-pamby Christian world, we will dare to trust our God, we will venture our all for Him, we will live and we will die for Him, and we will do it with His joy unspeakable singing aloud in our hearts. We will a thousand times sooner die trusting only in our God, than live trusting in man. And when we come to this position the battle is already won, and the end of the glorious campaign in sight. We will have the real Holiness of God, not the sickly stuff of talk and dainty words and pretty thoughts; we will have a Masculine Holiness, one of daring
faith and works for Jesus Christ."
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 9 No 3
- Judging Good and Evil
- The Self Can’t Be Improved
- A Look at a Book
- Excerpt from The Intercession of Rees Howells
- Moments with Meryl
- And Man=You and Me
- Creation and the Fall of Man
- A Call To Arms
- THE MAILBOX
- Where Are the Elijahs of God?
- Powerless Over Alcohol & Life: Steps 8 and 9
- HOPKINSVILLE, KY CONFERENCE
- JACKSON, MS CONFERENCE
- SEVENTH BRITISH SPRING CONFERENCE 1993
- From "Real Man" To "God’s Man"
- Editor’s Note
- No Independent Self Part Two