Sunday, January 8, 2012

The First General Order

As believers, we are called to soldier on in the name of Christ.

"Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus." II Timothy 2:3

Since through the Word we are conscripted into a mightier, non-Earthly Army, we conduct our affairs and relationships with others through God's orders.  Amongst the first things any soldier, either enlisted or officer, learns upon entry in the the United States Army are the three General Orders.  I believe that the first General Order also applies to our spiritual lives.

"I will guard everything within the limits of my post and quit my post only when properly relieved."

This order takes its origin from the practice of standing guard, presumably over sleeping comrades, while also being responsible for protecting property, weaponry, and installations.  To abandon post without proper relief, or to slumber on the job, could bring potentially disastrous consequences.  Similarly, you and I are called to a mission here on Earth, which is for every believer in every walk of life to share the story of Grace with everyone we come in contact with.  This doesn't mean that we have to knock on doors and harass people; we must remember that love and devotion cannot be forced.  That is why the Lord, short of illness and tragedy, gives us long lives in which we can build relationships that positively impact the lives of others and influence the well-being of a nation in all facets and measurable statistics.

I wrote previously on the dangers of idleness within the family of believers.  A downward spiritual spiral opened up in America in 1962 when prayer time in public schools was ruled unconstitutional.  Half a century later, many in the church still tolerate the mounting evil in society in the name of the policy of "separation of church and state", which is a myth I debunked in my previous article, "Are you tolerating idleness in your life?", from 1 January 2012.  In a sense I feel like many "soldiers" who could otherwise impact society for good have abandoned the very post that we are called to guard through II Timothy 2:3 and neglect the ground that we can gain through the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20).

In the military, lazy service members approaching retirement are said to be "retired on active duty."  Sadly, many Christians are content to sit back and wait for "the Rapture", hoping that they will get to leave our Earthly issues behind.  While I believe in the Second Coming of Christ, I do not believe in "end times".  I see such speculation only as fuel for a film and book industry that rakes in millions from those who devalue the power that lies in their faith.  Knowing what God demands of his church, it makes no sense to me that He would send us on a scavenger hunt to piece together a puzzle that will tell us only when to be idle because things are coming to a close.  There is an old adage I enjoy- "Why polish brass on a sinking ship?".  If everything is destined for failure, then why should we bother electing honorable leaders, having children, saving for retirement, or continuing education?  Attitudes like these are defeatist and will only prolong the lingering moral decay in our nation and world.

What can we do to combat such defeated viewpoints in our own circles?  We have to be goal-oriented and truly understand and believe in the power of Christ in us.  God doesn't see time as we do.

"...with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day."  II Peter 3:8

To insist that Christians cannot be victorious and what we strive for cannot come to fulfillment because of speculative prophetic inevitabilities serves only to sow seeds of doubt in the body of believers and in what we can truly accomplish when we go forward in faith.  I believe that this nation can be restored.  We can offer up lip service to heaven, but if we don't believe in our heart of hearts that the prayers can be answered, we should not expect to receive anything.  Consider the following passage from James.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.  Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do." James 1:5-8

Yes, James specifically mentions wisdom as the requested blessing, but why should it differ with anything you ask God for?  If you ask God for spiritual revival and for good leaders, but your preoccupation with inevitable Earthly defeat and last days madness overwhelms your faith with doubt, then you clearly should have no reason to believe that your prayers will be answered.

I will close with the words of our athletics chaplain in college.  He defined faith as "the confident assurance that what you hope for is going to happen."  Our founding fathers had a dream that was America.  With the help of Providence, we patriots and believers cannot be stopped in reclaiming what was clearly established by God's own hand.

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