No no no. Not a soldier defending a country.
A soldier standing for Christ.
There inevitably comes the conversation about being a Gospel Soldier. The legalist will say we have to advance on enemy position by opening our mouths and pointing out faults, sins, and unrighteousness. Others will use that famous quote “Preach the Gospel at all times, and use words when necessary.”
I think a more appropriate picture of a Soldier for Christ is one that
- Stands in the face of opposition
- Fights their own Flesh
- Considers others more than themselves
These are pretty self explanatory and I won’t get too much into depth.
Side note: I love what my Pastor Luke shared today – to preach the gospel through both deeds and words at all times (Paraphrase)
A Soldier Stands
Matthew 5:38-39 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. http://esv.to/Matt5.38-39
I heard a pastor say from the pulpit, when they hear God’s name said in vain publicly, he would call that person out. Righteous indignation. I get it. A radio pastor, whom I admire, shared he cringes and is saddened, but never mentioned a public chastising of said individual. Righteous sorrow.
Me? I do fall into the pattern of righteous indignation. I get cranky about someone falling out of righteous lines. But we are never called to personally attack. For those who don’t know Christ, pray for them, love them and reason with them. Your fight is not with them. It truly is (as Ephesians 6 points out) against the powers of darkness in this world.
Exercising righteous indignation more often than not just feeds the flesh (under a cloak of Spiritual character) while righteous sorrow feels the wounds Jesus feels when His creation behaves offensively towards him.
A Soldier Fights their own Flesh
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. http://esv.to/1Cor9.24-27
There is a battle between the flesh and the Spirit going on inside of us and the flesh isn’t going to go down quietly. Anyone who has walked this Christian walk for a number of years can attest to this. If you feed the flesh, you will feed its desires, its lusts, its depravity – and like uncaged tiger its hard to wrangle and corner. But if we starve it, feeding Spirit, we will have more success here.
I live in the (post-Christian) United States of America. Just walking to the checkout counter of a grocery store, I am challenged with things that scream “Look at me! Feed your flesh!” I kinda chuckle at this serious deal because it is soooo prevalent, but how many times have I seen on a magazine cover: “blah blah sex …” or some young starlet showing us what a deep plunging V-line looks like on a glossy mag cover.
– Men want that hanging on their arm
– Gals want to be that
Different challenge. Same source.
➡️The Legalist says sternly: “obedience. Ifyou’re a Christian you will resist. Every time, just like me, Mr. legalist”
➡️The Free Grace crowd says: It’s okay if you drink it in occasionally. Jesus Died for you so you are free.
Both as absolutes are wrong.
❗️Dear Legalist – you ain’t perfect. Put down your pride and think rightly about yourself.
❗️Dear Freeper: God hates your sin. You better check your heart, that you’ve bowed yourself to the King. He’s coming back and he will take an accounting of all deeds
➡️The realist says: its a daily battle. I could fall at anytime but by the grace of God.
The point I’m making is, the real battle is spiritual forces outside ourselves, and the flesh within ourselves. Not other people. We cannot argue someone into accepting a message. And check your pride. You’re still a stinkin’ sinner.
Soldiers Consider others before themselves
Philippians 2:3-4 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. http://esv.to/Phil2.3-4
This passage continues
Philippians 2:5-85 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. http://esv.to/Phil2.5-8
I don’t know how many times I heard the equivalent of “Hang with the sprinters because they’re going somewhere, moving forward.” Sometimes when you’re forging new paths ahead its easy to forget what or who is behind you. With deference and consideration we must be a part of the whole, not just some stellar clique that “appears” to have it together.
Jesus looked at our helpless state, leaving behind the comfort, glory and honor of eternal dwellings to incur the abuse and filth of this world.
It is easy to look down our nose at someone who we think is struggling, or not following “the Plan” as we envision. God puts us all together as a body for a reason. When one part is sick, the whole is sick.
Paul reminds us to bear each other’s burdens. :
Galatians 6:1-5 1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load. http://esv.to/Gal6.1-5/blockquote>
So let us be a good soldier and love each other deeply from the heart, binding up wounds. We are advancing on the gates of Hell through self-sacrifice and dying to ourselves. (Paraphrase TwitterID @lukedsimmons)