Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans’ Day 2012

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The image was shared on Facebook by “A Friend Of Humanity”.  It’s Veterans’ Day.  Let’s remember not only those who served their country, but their families as well.  All of those have sacrificed for the good of the country.

And, while we’re at it, let’s consider the battle of spiritual warfare.  We’ll begin with this:

2 Timothy 2:3-4 (KJV)  Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

I wonder how many times that passage has been misused to get people to think poverty needs to be a voluntary state, endured for the sake of supposedly being spiritual.   When, in fact, spiritual warfare has its good times and bad, like any other war.  And the entanglement speaks of the enemy getting the soldier’s attention away from the battle.

Consider that the man focused on making money, getting the nice car, lusting for the larger house is so distracted that Satan has free reign in the battle.  Also consider that the man who doesn’t have the mindset that God controls everything will be focused on his circumstances instead of on God and the fact that He can carry us through any situation.  Any time our priorities are dictated by anything other than God, we’ve already lost that battle.  We’ve given the enemy a chance to “slip behind the lines”. 

When we let anything else get in the way of our spiritual success, that’s entanglement.  Whenever I hear that word, I have a mental image of some of the old black and white horror films where the hero or heroine is engulfed by a mass of vines, rapidly growing around them.  A more realistic image might be some of the old ivy covered college buildings.  There have been times where old structures have actually retained some of their integrity because the vines held them together, hiding some of the effects of decay.  More often, the vines broke down the mortar between stones or bricks, making the structural safety questionable and hastening the need for repairs.  But, either way, the entanglements were interfering in the natural course of what should have happened to the buildings.  So it is with our souls.

The picture that begins this post shows soldiers jumping off the landing craft, rushing toward the shore to engage the enemy.  That’s despite the reality that some are scared by the possibilities.  The ability to keep going is drummed into them by rigorous training.  We need that same kind of training on the spiritual level.  We need basic training:
  1. the daily nutrition of being fed by the Word,
  2. the daily calisthenics of meditating on that Word,
  3. practice in marksmanship by sharing what we’ve learned and meditated on
  4. our leave, by resting in God’s love,
  5. security by maintaining guard on our soul, and, finally, graduating to
  6. rescue others from permanent captivity, by sharing the Gospel with the lost and discipling young believers.
No matter whether the battle is earthly physical war or spiritual warfare, we need to be exercised in all the things that are going to keep us safe.  So, when we think of our veterans and all they went through to keep us free to be ready for the spiritual battle, we should remind ourselves to  get trained for that battle, too.  And, when we consider the warriors in the spiritual battle (ourselves included), let’s recall what the veterans and their families went through so we could have that freedom.

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