“Well done, thou good and faithful servant…
Enter thou into the joy of thy lord”
In the strictest sense, I’m a veteran. However, I don’t consider myself one because: a) I served in the reserves only; b) I never went overseas; and c) I never saw combat.
My definition might be skewed, but it honors those who truly understand the ideas upon which America (and somewhat even Christian faith) is founded. Truth: freedom is never free.
To those who have sacrificed to serve our country, “thank you” is not enough. No words could be enough, but I think they can be. For example, I really appreciate Jesus’ words: “Well done.” I hope I hear them one day.
In the Christian walk, we should all be veterans before our physical life ends. Believers understand that their soul liberty (salvation) cost something: Jesus’ life. TRUTH: Freedom is never free.
The Apostle Paul used soldiers several times to metaphorically represent the life of a believer. This is no coincidence. God inspired Paul to write these things. God understands life is a spiritual battle with numerous battlefields.
“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3).
A few things I learned about being a good soldier that translate well into my spiritual life:
- Good soldiers don’t question orders. If you stop to question an order, you endanger everyone. Why do we feel like second guessing God’s command is acceptable behavior?
- Good soldiers immediately obey. Since you aren’t debating about if you would or should not do what the sergeant, lieutenant, or supervisor says, you can just carry out the command. Samuel is the best scriptural example of this (1 Samuel 3: 1-10). If it isn’t immediate obedience, it may as well be disobedience (Insubordination – which will get you disciplined in the US Army.)
- Good soldiers focus on the mission goal. Depending on the mission, it could be to retrieve an item or make an area secure. For believers, it’s to spread the gospel (Matthew 28:18-20).
- Good soldiers don’t quit until they accomplish their objective. “Drive on,” is the phrase I heard when I was at boot camp. There’s still another mile to go. As long as we have breath and there are people who don’t know Christ as their savior, we need to “drive on.”
- Being a good soldier is physically and mentally brutal. I really don’t want to rehash my experiences or relate any secondhand stories. You’ve seen the movies. Saving Private Ryan is an especially graphic example of the realities of soldiering during war time. It’s not going to be easy, but God promises to walk beside us (John 14:18).
- Good soldiers help their buddies. I really despise the saying “The Christian Army is the only army that shoots its wounded.” I’ve been on the receiving end of an intentionally wounding attack and, if not for the grace of God, I would have been a fatality in my Christian walk. We have to love our comrades and that means helping them out. I love the scene in Captain America where the scrawny little guy throws himself on the grenade while all the big guys duck and cover. Yep, Christ is our hero and we should willingly throw ourselves in front of the bus rather than see our fellow soldier attacked.
- Soldiering isn’t a part-time gig. My whole stint as a Weekend Warrior aside, a real soldier is on duty 24/7. Back to what the Apostle Paul said, “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” (2 Timothy 2:4). Make no mistake; every day is a spiritual battle. As soon as we let our guard down, the enemy (Satan) will attack.
Suit up and arm yourself in with the appropriate weaponry. It’s time for us to “withstand in the evil day” (Ephesians 6:13) because we are “strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (Ephesians 6:10).
At that day, will you hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful (soldier)”?
Up next week: Traditional Thanksgiving