Sep 10, 2012
We will now glance at two or three of the main characteristics
of that warfare to which Christ has called His soldiers.
Christ’s soldiers MUST be imbued with the SPIRIT of the WAR:
Love to the King and concern for His interests must be the master passion of the soul. All outward effort, even that which springs from a sense of duty, will fail without this.
The hardship and suffering involved in real spiritual warfare
are too great for any motive but that of LOVE.
It is said that one of the soldiers of Napoleon, when being operated upon for the extraction of a bullet, exclaimed, "Cut a little deeper and you will find my general's name," meaning that it was ENGRAVEN on his heart.
So must the image and glory of Christ…
be ENGRAVEN on the heart…
of every successful soldier of Christ.
It must be the all-subduing passion of his life
to bring the reign of Jesus Christ
over the hearts and souls of men.
If the hearts of the Christians of this generation were inspired with this spirit, and set on winning the world for God, we should soon see nations shaken to their centre, and millions of souls translated into the kingdom.
The soldiers of Christ MUST be ABANDONED to the WAR:
They must be thoroughly committed to God's side:
there can be no neutrals in this warfare.
When the soldier enlists and takes the queen's shilling, he ceases to be his own property, but becomes the property of his country, must go where he is sent, stand at any post to which he is assigned, even if it be at the cannon's mouth.
He gives up the ways and comforts of civilians, and goes forth with his life in his hand, in obedience to the will of his sovereign.
If I understand it, that is just what Jesus Christ demands
of every one of His soldiers, AND NOTHING LESS.
There will be NO running away…
NO forsaking of the cross…
NO shrinking from the hard places of the field;
but a DETERMINED PUSHING of the battle to the gate…
even amid weariness, opposition, and sometimes…
in the face of dire defeat.
I ask, Was it any less a devotion than this which actuated
the martyrs and confessors of old?
Have I depicted an abandonment greater than that
which they understood to be their duty and privilege?
If they might have drawn back, why did they persevere,
many of them, through long years of conflict and persecution,
culminating in stripes, imprisonment, and death?
It is evident that they understood fidelity to Christ
to involve the most perfect self-abandonment,
BOTH in LIFE and in DEATH.
Christ’s soldiers MUST understand the TACTICS of WAR:
In order to do this, they must make it a subject of earnest and prayerful study how to make the most of their time, talents, money, or any other resources which God may have placed at their command for the advancement of the kingdom.
They must think and scheme how best to attack the enemy.
Only think of the time, trouble, skill, and money that are expended by great killing armies in planning for stratagem and maneuver in order to surprise and overcome their enemies.
Some of you will remember reading, in the records of the last German and French war, that the German officers were better acquainted with the geography of France than the French themselves; they knew every road, by-way, and field, likely to be available for their purposes.
Think of the time and trouble that must have been expended in becoming thus familiar with a foreign country, and compare this with the haphazard, rule-of-thumb kind of way in which spiritual warfare is for the most part conducted.
Think of the undigested schemes and abortive plans, throwing away both labour and money, embarked in by professed Christian soldiers, who have never, perhaps, spent a day's anxious thought and prayer over them in their lives.
Think also of the shameful indifference--which cannot be characterised as warfare at all--of the ordinary services and arrangements of the churches.
We may well ask, Where is the zeal of the Christians
of this generation for the Lord of hosts?
How much do they care about His reign over the hearts
of their fellow-men?
What is their appreciation of the present and eternal benefits
embraced in His salvation?
or what is their estimate of the "crown of life"
which He promises to give to every one of
His conquering soldiers?
The soldier of Christ MUST BELIEVE in VICTORY:
Faith in victory is an indispensable condition
to successful warfare of any kind.
It is universally recognised by generals of killing armies, that if the enthusiasm of expected conquest be destroyed, and their troops imbued with fear and doubt as to the ultimate result, defeat is all but certain.
This is equally true with respect to spiritual warfare,
hence the repeated and comprehensive assurance
and promises of victory from the great
Captain of our salvation.
The true soldier of Christ…
who has the spirit of the war…
and who is abandoned to its interests…
has an earnest in his soul of coming victory!
He knows it is only a question of time, and time is nothing to love!
As he is lying in the trenches, or taking long marches,
or suffering for the want of common necessaries,
or enduring the sharpest bayonets or heaviest fire of the enemy,
or lying wounded, overcome by fatigue, pressed by discouragement,
realizing the greatness of the conflict in contrast with his own weakness—in the very darkest hours and severest straits,
he has the herald of coming victory
sounding in his ears.
The faithful soldier knows that he shall win, and that his King will ultimately reign, not only over a few, but over all the kingdoms of this earth, and that He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.
This faith inspires him to endure hardship and to suffer loss,
to hold on.
He never thinks of turning his back to the foe,
or shirking the cross, or turning the stones into bread,
or of trying to shorten the march.
He never thinks of withdrawing from the thick of the fight,
but goes on through perils by land, by sea, by his own countrymen,
by the heathen, by false brethren
at home and abroad.
He looks onward through the dark clouds
to the proud moment when the King will say...
"Well done, good and faithful servant!"
He listens, and above the din of the earthly conflict
he hears the words…
"Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life!"
Excerpts taken from: The Real Warfare
By Catherine Booth, 1887