Recently, in the USA, we have experienced a very different involvement in war than in the past. We would fight , win then move on through peacetime, call our troops home and settle down till the next war. Now, it seems, our troops are fighting overseas a never-ending war. This requires a very different approach, a very different soldier, and very different supports.
This new war is very similar to the old war between good and evil, God’s kingdom and the devil’s. This war started long before we were born and will continue till long after we die. Fought in our own strength, we would soon grow weak and be defeated. My wife Lois has pointed out that the side of evil seems to have more stamina in our country than the godly forces. They fight to pull down marriage, to allow everyone to have sex with everyone, to discourage frugality, to encourage whining victim mentality, to encourage us to look to the government for security and not to God or his kingdom. They fight and lose, fight and lose, fight and win a little, fight and win a little more and soon we just give in. We want to do battle and then coast. It is a long distance race, a lifelong battle and I need to make up my minds to be good to the last drop.
Often my view of the average Christian soldier is someone wandering the battlefield with no training, no sword, no support team, no battle buddies, no instructions, no goals, clad in bermuda shorts and a Hawaaian shirt, sipping lemonade and when the enemy shoots at them, they throw their glass of lemonade at the enemy and whine about how they did not sign up for this.
When I become a Christian I am in a war and have joined an army and the enemy will certainly want to shoot at me.
So what does it take? First I must put on my armor when I get up each morning. I put it on by reminding myself that my thoughts are protected by the helmet of salvation and that I overcome the devil by: a. declaring that I belong to Jesus and am purchased by the blood of the Lamb and I do not fear the devil though he might arrange to have me killed. When he attacks and accuses me, that is his job, I remind myself and him that I have my heart protected by the breastplate of Jesus’ righteousness. When he temps me to be wishy-washy on “does the Bible really say?” When I think that maybe I should trust the secular scholars, who say don’t spank children and have lots of sex before marriage and only have as many children as convenient, in order to be better prepared to commit the long term responsibilities of marriage and children; I respond that I have the belt of truth in God’s word and will trust that. When he temps me to judge others and wall myself off and be defensive rather than tearing down the gates of Hell, I assure myself and declare to the devil that I have my feet shod with the good news of Jesus death and resurrection and that Jesus died for ALL and, together with my battle buddies, I will attack his kingdom with this good news. I will train mysellf in the use of my weapons, the quoted word, spoken prayer, and witnessing. I will seek and reward feedback from my brethren as iron sharpens iron, I will let others know of my struggles so they can come to my side, and I will continue to build while fighting the good fight till I finish the lifelong course and receive the prize.