THIS IS NOT A GAME!
Anyone over the age of 35 should remember these words from the “original” series…”your mission, should you choose to accept it…”, I remember watching that show with my heart pounding thinking to myself, “I’ll do it, I’ll do it!” I was a little bit of a tomboy, and I always thought that whatever the boys could do well, I could do as well.
So I went into the military after high school, unwillingly, but I went. Nobody told me what to expect, no one prepared me for the hell on Earth that I was going to face. No one. Had I known then what I know now, I would have gladly adopted the mountainous loads of student loans to have avoided the first experience that changed my life. I guess at this point I can tell you that I believe the military ended up hating me as much as I hated it lol. No, I didn’t give it an easy time at all; as a matter of fact I tried to do the opposite of everything instructed. I believe that I spent more time mopping floors, running laps or in C.C than I did in actual service. The one thing that someone did tell me before I left on that late night flight for San Antonio was that “Basic Training” was set up to break your will, and to break you out of your old habits. I have to agree that it is what they tried to do; unfortunately they underestimated MY will. If told to run, I walked and if told to march I would shuffle. I’m still amazed that I made it through basic training at all, possibly due to a lenient and forgiving training instructor. Or maybe because they just wanted to get rid of me. 😉
I’ll be honest, I was always a very nice girl but I was the middle child and always seemed to fade into the background, which was fine by me. However, when I left high school I decided to exert my independence and then when I entered the military they immediately tried to stifle the one thing that I was determined to exert. That didn’t work for me at the time, so I became disobedient. I know…this doesn’t sound good at all, but it is the truth!
Fast forward a few years and I found myself as a new recruit, in the Army of the Lord; for a while I wondered if I had what it took to be a good soldier considering my past experience. See, I told you that I was disobedient, and strong-willed and even had an independent nature. Then one day I read a scripture that changed everything. Jesus was speaking to his disciples and he stated, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me (Matt. 16:24). There was that, “Your mission if you choose to accept it…” all over again, and again I thought to myself “I’ll do it, I’ll do it!” However, even though we are eager, I believe that many of us struggle with the very first thing. Oh we can take up our cross and follow Jesus all day, but first He stated that we had to deny ourselves. And that’s a tough one for many of us. Let’s look at the word deny (from MW.com):
- to declare untrue <deny an allegation>
- to refuse to admit or acknowledge :disavow <deny responsibility>
- to give a negative answer to <denying the petitioners> b : to refuse to grant <deny a request> c : to restrain (oneself) from gratification of desires
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled (2 Cor. 10:3-6).
So we’ve got it all together now. We have denied ourselves, taken up our cross and we are following Jesus – great! Understanding what Paul is stating above will help in this spiritual battle; we are not battling people here, it is a spiritual warfare. It always grieves my spirit to see so-called Christians attacking each other about their interpretation of the Word, when they should be seeking counsel from God. That is a spiritual battle in itself because satan has effectively taken the focus off of Jesus, and has the saints battling each other instead of that “high thing” or pride that has exalted itself. Stay focused and remember that God is not going to send His soldiers into battle unarmed; first he is going to prepare us by having us learn of Him. That is what the military refers to as “basic training”. Before I enlisted I would have never been able to hump a knapsack up a hill for two miles, or run an obstacle course. God prepares us in the same way, by handling His Word with precision, strengthening our endurance, and being “battle trained and tested”.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12).
And this is it. The greatest battle. The fight of our lives. The one where only the strong (in Christ) will survive. You’ve gotta get ready saints!
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (6:13).
- Have your loins girt about with truth. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15). You have to know who you are in Christ, and be prepared to defend His truth and your mission.
- Put on the breastplate of righteousness. There is none righteous, no not one. Yet in His infinite wisdom, God sent His only begotten for us. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1).
- Feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Wherever you walk you should carry the Word of the Prince of Peace with you. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
- Above all, taking the shield of faith. Faith is the most important because it is what will stave off attacks from satan. Even Jesus prayed for Simon’s faith. And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren (Luke 22:31-32).
- The helmet of salvation. Where do the attacks from satan penetrate? The mind. If we keep the helmet of salvation firmly fastened then his attacks will bounce off of it. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee (Isa. 26:3).
- Sword of the Spirit/Word of God. Older people in the church used to always talk about having their “sword” with them, and when I was a young teen going to church I used to call them “gangster grannies” lol. Now I know that the sword is our most powerful weapon. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).
So are we ready? Not quite. I’m sure that many of us are used to stopping right at the “Sword”, and saying “I’m good, now let’s go kick some devil butt”…but wait, there’s more!
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints (Eph. 6:18).
This is important because we can have our full armor on and not pray and fall right into a ditch. Praying in the spirit gives us our guidelines and directions (i.e. road map). Didn’t Jesus instruct His disciples to watch and pray lest they enter into temptation (Matt. 26:41)? Same mission, same word. Are we ready now?