I confess summer has stolen most of my routine and too much of my productivity. I feel quite soft and lazy, so now I’m running to catch up as summer closes the gap and the demands of fall looms ahead.
One of my summer activities included attending my son’s Army graduation ceremony. While it was a scorching 100 degrees that took your breath away and left you with wilted hair, the torture of intense heat paled in comparison to the wonder of the demonstrations showing off nine weeks of hard work.
While I had been floating on my raft in the bay of Lake Michigan, they had been getting yelled at, pushed to extremes, prodded to work together in the most difficult situations, and prepared for every kind of battle.
And it showed…in both of us.
Later, while touring base, I came across the Soldier’s Creed. I was struck by the significance of it. If you’ve never read it, here are a few of the highlights that impressed me:
- I am a warrior and a member of the team.
- I will always place the mission first.
- I will never accept defeat.
- I will never quit.
- I will never leave a fallen comrade.
- I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.
This is just a piece of what the troops memorize, recite, and hopefully, as good soldiers, live and die by. As a woman who enjoys the freedom my nation and these troops give me, I’m glad they live by this creed.
It also struck me that I too often forget I’m living for a worthy cause. While vacation and rest are necessary, they shouldn’t become my existence every day.
I have a tendency to lose focus and forget that Jesus told us often to remember why we are here and to live with the end in mind, rather than on the soft, temporary pleasures of things that won’t last forever.
Paul warned his spiritual son, Timothy, not to run away from hardship:
“Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs-he wants to please his commanding officer.” (2 Tim. 2:3 &4)
God has called us to fight battles on many fronts:
- For freedom. He has called us to battle against our fleshly nature. Against the bitterness that threatens to eat away at our soul. Against the temptations that come our way. Against the selfishness and sinfulness of our human hearts and live free.
- For truth. He has given us the task of pushing back deceitful philosophies. My husband says the most dangerous thing is a lie you think is true. That’s why truth matters so much when it comes to the sacred things of life, regardless how cool or uncool the idea. If we are honest, we all want to be liked, especially by the cool people. Not much changes after high school. But what does it profit me to gain the approval of cool people if I buy into a lie and lose my soul?
- For people. We’ve been called to engage in a battle of love for people be reconciled to the One who created them with design and purpose for Him.
“Provide purses,” Jesus said, “that won’t wear out.” In other words, invest your life in the things that last forever.
People are the only thing that last forever.
Stop building mansions and start building people.
We’ve been called to work together, instead of biting and devouring each other while our enemy sneaks around stealing, killing, and destroying us all.
We may disagree on the small things, but for Heaven’s sake, can we unite around the main things? How much time and energy is wasted on things that will all come out in the wash eventually, but don’t matter here and now.
Pet doctrines are like pet rocks. Pointless.
We’ve been called to never accept defeat, but to see ourselves as competent (through Christ) with everything we need because victory has already been secured. He hasn’t left us without a defense. The problem is that we often don’t use it.
Are we declaring the truth, praying for the impossible, and remembering that what Christ purchased cannot be stolen by the accusations or intimidation of our enemy? While it can never be stolen; it can be surrendered.
I hope we learn to stop surrendering.
And finally, we must stop floating softly through life and get into the fight.
Will it be hard? You bet.
Will it be costly? It will cost you everything.
But the only question you should ask is: Will it be worth it?
I’ve accepted the promise of One who says when life is all said and done, it will.
Live like a good soldier. Leave the civilian affairs to your Commander. Find your fight in this life and whatever you do, never buy into the lie that hardship is a dirty word.