Soldiers of the Cross, Ephesians 6.11-15

This headline caught my eye, “‘Bionic legs’ for military amputees” (BBC website). The courage of these men and women inspire me. They have sacrificed so much for little personal gain. Soldiers of war have much in common with soldiers of the cross. What can we learn from them?

  1. Recognise the True Enemy, “Put on the full armour 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 6:11–12 NIV11-GK). There is nothing worse than fighting the wrong enemy. We hear of tragic ‘Friendly Fire’ incidents on the battlefield, but they also happen in families and the church. The enemy is real, but the enemy is not one another, non-Christians or difficult people. Who are you more angry with – a human being or the devil?
  2. Put on God’s Armour, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground” (Ephesians 6:13 NIV11-GK). God’s plan is for us to be strong and stand firm. For that to happen we must be humble about our need for God. Then He can use us in our weakness.  We are to use the armour He gives us, and not rely on our intelligence, training or gifts. The easiest way to find out where our confidence lies is by examining the consistency and depth of our prayer times.
  3. Stay Awake. “your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” (Ephesians 6:15 NIV11-GK). A sentry stays awake – or they and their comrades die. Soldiers are always alert. Are we growing in self-discipline? Self-control grows as we discover the peace that is ours through the gospel. Peace in the soul leads to alertness of spirit. Is your peace growing?
Let’s give the limbless soldiers their prosthetics – they have earned them.  But also let us soldiers of the cross make sure we are at least as serious about our mission as they are. Recognise the real enemy, put on the armour we need and stay alert.  Like the song says,
Onward, Christian solders! 
Marching as to war,
With the Cross of Jesus 
Going on before.
Christ, the royal Master,
Leads against the foe;
Forward into battle,
See, His banners go!
Onward, then, ye people,
Join our happy throng,
Blend with ours your voices
In the triumph song:
‘Glory, laud and honour
Unto Christ the King’ —
This through countless ages
Men and angels sing.
CHORUS:
Onward, Christian soldiers! 
Marching as to war,
With the Cross of Jesus
Going on before.
Malcolm Cox

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