Written by: Michael Brown
Article source: stream.org

The psalmist said, “Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle.” (Psalms 144:1) This is our calling too as believers, except not in the physical sense of war. (I’m speaking here of the spiritual battle we’re in, not about those called to the military.)

Moses said after the exodus, “The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is His name” (Exodus 15:3) — and that means that everyone in His kingdom is drafted.

Child of God, you are consigned to military service! Change your thinking, comrade in arms. You’re in the army now.

You’re in the Army Now
So say the words of the Old Testament: “Let the saints rejoice in His honor and sing for joy on their beds. May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, to carry out the sentence written against them. This is the glory of all His saints.” (Psalms 149:5-9)

So say the words of the New Testament: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor 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.” (Ephesians 6:10-12)

So says John’s vision of Jesus: “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice He judges and makes war.” (Revelation 19:11)

The One We Worship is a Warrior
Our Savior is a Soldier! Our God is a General! The One we worship is a Warrior! We are His troops being led into battle. Let us enter the fray without fear!

Swords and armor; warfare and battle; vengeance and victory: The Bible is a Book of War. No wonder, then, that Paul called his fellow workers Epaphroditus and Archippus fellow soldiers. (Philippians 2:25; Philemon 2) The battle for human souls is truly the “mother of all battles.”

In the Old Testament, God’s people drove out nations; today, we drive out demons.

Then, Israel destroyed the Horites and Hivites; now, we disciple the heathen and the hateful.

They exterminated their enemies; we evangelize ours.

They fought with spears and arrows; we fight with prayer and the Word.

But the warfare is just as real. The conflict is just as intense. In fact, spiritual battles are even more real than physical battles. The victories are greater too!

Don’t Get Comfortable
People of God, hear these words. Now is not the time to settle down and rest. Now is not the time to pursue carnal ease. Now is not the time to cry: “Peace, peace! All is well, all is well!” (Jeremiah 6:14) Now is the time to fight.

The days coming upon us will be holy and hard, radical and rough, miraculous and militant. Soft saints will not stand. Flabby followers will fall. Only the powerful will prevail, and you become powerful by walking with your God. (Daniel 11:32b)

God’s army must awake and march forth. God’s army must arise and shine. Children of the Lord, be strong! Engage the foe and fight! Whoever said war would be fun? Whoever said the battlefront would be easy? Soldiers fight for their lives. And soldiers fight with their lives.

Such is the attitude of the true soldier. Such is the attitude expected of us: “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.” (2 Timothy 2:3-4)

Pleasing the Lord — our glorious Commander and Chief — is our highest and most wonderful call.

John “Praying” Hyde, a devoted believer and missionary who knew great intimacy with the Lord, understood this well: “I know but one word — obedience. I know how a soldier will obey an order even to death and I can’t expect to look Jesus Christ in the face and obey Him less than a soldier his commander.”

As the book of Revelation says about us, the children of God, “They overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” (Rev 12:11)

Qualities of God’s Army
What are the characteristics of God’s army?

God’s army must be holy and consecrated. Otherwise, God will not be in our midst. Otherwise, He will not fight for us. In fact, if we understand that God always stands against sin, then it is clear that we must be set apart from all uncleanness if we want the Lord on our side. That’s why He told the leaders of Israel to sanctify the people before the troops marched out to battle. Are you consecrated?

God’s army must be devoted to its Commander and Chief. Loyalty to Jesus must drive us, move us, motivate us, push us, inspire us, help us, carry us. What greater motivation could we possibly have? Are you devoted?

God’s army must be courageous. We must not be staggered by daunting odds. We must not fear the faces of those who oppose us. We must stand up, speak out, and obey, regardless of the consequences, just like frail, old Mother Teresa did at the National Prayer Breakfast in 1994, denouncing abortion as the root of all violence today — with the Clintons and Gores sitting beside her. Are you courageous?

God’s army must be obedient to death. As Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote of the Light Brigade soldiers: “Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die.” How much more does this apply to God’s army, fighting for the eternal salvation of human souls, battling over issues of life and death, striving for morality, truth, and justice, waging spiritual war against the powers of darkness? Are you obedient?

Filled With Faith
God’s army must be filled with faith. Jonathan, son of Saul, wasn’t afraid of the Philistine army, even though they had the weapons and the manpower. Jonathan had the Lord! Paul’s words are not just a religious cliché: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) You can stake your life on that promise. Jonathan and his armor-bearer did: “Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving,” said Jonathan, “whether by many or by few” — to which his armor-bearer replied: “Do all that you have in mind. Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.” (1 Sam 14:6-7) That’s the kind of attitude God can bless. Who knows what He will do, if we will only believe. Are you filled with faith?

God’s army must be aggressive. David “ran quickly toward the battle line” to engage Goliath in battle (1 Sam 17:48) — even though the Philistine giant had terrified the Israelite troops for the previous forty days. Then David used Goliath’s own sword to cut off the enemy’s head. He threw himself into the battle and held nothing back. He fought to win! Jesus taught that, in order to dispossess the strong man, someone stronger must “attack and overpower him.” We must get aggressive with the devil today. Are you aggressive?

Given Over to a Higher Cause
God’s army must subordinate its life and will to a higher cause. The apostle Paul said: “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or death. For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Phillippians 1:20-21) Are you given over to a higher cause?

Unafraid to Fight
God’s army must not be afraid to fight. In our conflict with sin and Satan there will be some scuffles. In crushing the enemy’s head, our heels might get bruised. (Genesis 3:15) But that is the nature of war. Elijah was wonderfully used by God when he publicly and fearlessly confronted the false prophets on Mount Carmel. But when fear entered, he fled. Fear can paralyze us too! But, “through our God, we shall do valiantly.” Are you unafraid to fight?

God’s army must be anointed. It God’s war! It’s God battle! We can only fight with His weapons, His strategy, His anointing. Israel’s priests had to be anointed before they could serve; the kings had to be anointed before they could rule; the prophets could do nothing without God’s anointing. Do we dare speak and act for God without His Spirit upon us? It is the Spirit’s anointing that sets the captives free. Are you anointed?

What is the Immediate Task of Your Life?
The conflict of the ages is upon us. Treacherous times are coming. Everything that can be shaken must be shaken. Only the righteous will not be shaken. Are you righteous? Turn from every defilement and sin and cast off all condemnation. Renew your faith in the saving and keeping power of the blood of Jesus. Walk in the righteousness given to you by God. And put the devil to flight.

The hour is absolutely urgent. Heaven is looking for laborers. It is as if billboards have been posted: “Wanted: true soldiers of the cross! Wanted: prophetic voices for a deaf generation! Wanted: devoted saints who will not love their lives even to the point of death.”

There is only one question: What is the immediate task of your life? A soldier in battle risks life and limb to rescue a severely wounded friend or to launch a frontal assault on an enemy position. And if he never sees his family again … such is the price of war! He knows what he must do. His choice is only to act. What is God calling us to do now? What is His short term and long term battle plan for us? A nice home? A good education? A big family? A successful career? For what purpose? While the world dies? While lost souls perish? While the devil gains ground by the hour?

No! The whole purpose of our lives is to glorify God, to actively and passionately work to extend His kingdom, and to do as much damage to the dominion of darkness as we possibly can. And whatever we have — families, homes, possessions, jobs, education, talents, influence — must be dedicated to these very same purposes. Think of the power of whole families and churches radically devoted to the kingdom of God! Think of the power of a true believer completely given over to the Lord!

Yes, the devil is mustering his army too — filled with hatred, venom, violence, and sin. Will we rise up for God, clothed with righteousness, love, wisdom, faith and power? The time, fellow soldiers, is at hand. If we don’t fight, who will?

The original draft of this article was written about 20 years ago. It is far more urgent today than it was back then.

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Date published: 02/11/2023
Feature image: Image for illustrative purposes only. Artwork from www.freepik.com

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