March 30, 2021
“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called…” (1 Timothy 6:12, ESV).
He walked in with a shaky voice, a cane and a Vietnam veteran cap. His life had been hard since the war—told me he lost six buddies from his high school class. Now suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, he said he would serve again if he could. “When I went to the recruitment center with my friends, I had just turned 18 and only weighed 104 pounds. The recruiters required 106 pounds to sign. My buddies all signed up and then came to me with 10 pounds of bananas. They told me I had to come with them.” I asked him how many he ate. “I ate them all.” I’ve never seen anyone work so hard to join something that would cause him so much grief and then look back and say, “I’d do it again.”
Some things are worth the pain. Some things may require us to fight like this 17-year-old army recruit to break away from the normal and join. Once we join, some things are incredibly hard. After some incredibly hard things, we sometimes look back on and say, “I’d do it again.”
For some, this is a picture of their walk with God.
Not all of us were raised in pleasant Christian churches with parents who loved Jesus.
Many of us know families who have disowned their children because of their faith in Christ.
Some of us know those who have given up their lives because they followed our Lord.
The battle in God’s army begins for some when they sign up. For all of us, the struggle to follow Him continues, as we repeatedly decide whether we will engage in the battle.
How much are we willing to endure in order to join the battle with Christ?
Some of us will not even skip a golf match, or a television show, or an afternoon of relaxation to follow Jesus as He points us to our neighbor who is lost.
We are surely in a battle. We are surely in God’s army.
We surely fight against powers and principalities that would seek to destroy God’s kingdom, but we must also be aware of the enemy within that keeps us from the fight. Rather than join God’s battle, I often choose to settle in the rear with apathy, greed, pleasure, time-selfishness or an incredible desire to be respected. I sit out more of the battle than I engage.
I might be able to get down 10 pounds of bananas to join God’s battle if He asked, but mostly I prefer my own food.
What will it take?
“Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us” (Hebrews 12:1, NIV).
Unentangle me if I cannot, so that I may fight your battles, not mine.