Called to the Front lines
Our Commander-in-Chief does not draft His soldiers, but He opens His arms and welcomes all those who volunteer. He does not employ emotional gimmickry, but simply speaks out of love and calls each of us to join Him on the battlefield. Although he calls us to join Him in His battle against the forces of evil, He leaves us free to join the enemy fighting against Him. He makes no promises that we will become rich or not experience pain in this life. The belief that His army will be entirely free from injuries, strife, pain, and poverty is an invention of the “health and wealth” gospel that is not found in Scripture or in the Christian experience.
THE FRONTLINES OF THE BATTLEFIELD
Jesus is a great army Commander who is giving instructions to His soldiers; however, some of the officers under His command are giving contrary instructions preparing for a massive retreat. A soldier preparing for war is very different than the one who thinks he will be discharged shortly before the war begins. Many believers today are like soldiers looking forward to an early discharge. Can you imagine David or Joshua preparing their soldiers to retreat when the heat turns up? Can you imagine Peter or Paul looking to escape from preaching the gospel because persecution was coming? Christians must internalize this tough command of Jesus when He tells us that we need to remain faithful even unto death.
As volunteer soldiers in His army, like our Lord, we will grieve and bleed and perhaps lose our lives for our brothers and sisters who are not yet freed from the enemy. However, we are promised the ultimate victory and if we fight, His pleasure will rest upon us. Our Lord does not encourage us to join Him simply because we want to be on the winning team, but He wants us to join because we believe in the righteousness of His cause. Volunteers must also understand that we will die in our faith, while not really receiving all of God’s promises in this life.
This is not an armchair war and it will be very difficult for many in our generation to make the adjustment from being spectators to becoming active participants. One of the consequences of television is to turn us into “watchers” of world events so that our involvement is simply passive. Many Christians get so carried away with the final victory that they remain blind to the ongoing battle, and the oil in their lamps slowly fritters away. We all need to understand that the way to eternal life with Christ involves the way of the Cross. And the way of the Cross means there is a great battle to be fought.
Who are they who will fall away under the pressure of warfare in these last days? They are the armchair churchgoers who refuse to enlist in the Army of God under such harsh terms. It is challenging to be on the side of Christ in this life.