Today at 11:00 local time take a moment to observe Armistice Day (Veterans Day). Today commemorates the signing of the Armistice between Germany and the Allies calling for peace and the end of WWI that took place in Campienge, France at 11:00 on November 11, 1918. In 1954, The United States combine Armistice Day with Veterans Day as a day to recognize all who previously wore the uniform of the armed forces in war, Cold War, or in times of peace.
As we honor those who protected our freedoms, I want to reflect on a different kind of soldier; ones who are active duty in our battle “against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph 6:12). Let’s turn our attention to you who are soldiers in the Army of the Lord. What makes for an honored soldier?
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me— may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.” (2Ti 1:8-18)
“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” (2Ti 2:1-10)
An Honored Soldier is Courageous: Suffering is a part of this battle. Chuck Swindoll eloqunetly stated, “The real tests of courage are . . . remaining faithful when noe one is looking, . . .enduring pain when the room is empty,. . . standing alone when you’re misunderstood.” The army of Israel considered Goliath too big to defeat; David with God at His side thought Goliath too big to miss.”
An Honored Soldier has Steadfast Faith: He is steady in his training, She is known by her actions. Faith is much greater that belief in that faith moves, faith takes flight, and follows our Leader – Christ.
An Honored Soldier is Strong: She is strong in faith and continues to strengthen that fait as the war rages on. The strength ofGod’s soldier comes from the grace of Christ and from fighting side-by-side with other honored soldiers.
An Honored Soldier has Discipline: Discipline is training, This discipline is of the spirit and mind. Just as a soldier in a physical army has discipline to follow orders of the commander, a soldier of Christ follows the direction of the One who is King, Master, and Lord.
An Honored Soldier has Motivation: This motivation comes from knowing Christ and seeing His leadership. Knowing He suffered in ways greater than any of His soldiers will ever face. If He can endure what was before Him and do that for me, then I as His soldier can patiently endure the trials and battles that come my way.
An Honored Soldier is Secure: “The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.” (2Ti 2:11-13) We die to self to live for Him. We suffer the here and now to reign suffering free. God is faithful and will keep His promise. He knows His own and rewards the honorable soldier. “But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”” (2Ti 2:19)
Keep fighting the good fight of faith!