November 11, 2018, at 11:00 am marks the 100th observation of Armistice Day, now called Remembrance Day in Canada. This solemn day of remembrance is observed worldwide, honouring the war dead as well as those in active service.
As long as I can remember, at the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, I pause to give silent thanks for those who sacrificed their lives to ensure my freedom. Although no one in my immediate family served in the military, I sincerely appreciate those who answered the call of service. Even as a child, I had some understanding of the ramifications of answering such a call. My next door neighbour suffered from PTSD. It wasn’t until he was in his late seventies that he finally began to speak of the horrors he went through during World War Two. Two uncles by marriage left a sheltered farming life to join the army.
I have been privileged to meet men and women from many cultures and countries who stepped into battle to protect their nation’s freedom. While their experiences vary, I noticed common characteristics in all their stories. A quiet determination and a resolution that no matter how difficult the task, they would never give up and they would never turn back. Humility was their strength. When the battle intensified, they relied upon the combined force of their comrades-in-arms to carry them through. Retreat was never an option unless ordered to do so.
The day we surrendered our lives to Jesus Christ, we were recruited into His army. Most battles we fight are internal ones; dismantling fear, prejudice, selfishness, wrong belief systems, and other sinful patterns. God calls us to press in as His warriors for the sake of others through intercession. Sometimes, His orders lead us to speak out against injustice. As God’s chosen Freedom Bringers, we may need to physically step into a battle that places our lives at risk. However, we must always keep in mind who we are battling against.
We cannot give ourselves the luxury of being insubordinate to our Lord. We cannot retreat, and we cannot desert our posts. For we do not do battle for earthly riches or earthly kingdoms. Eternity is at stake. If we endure to the end, we are given the guarantee that we shall see victory.
Go out of your way to honour those who have served your nation in the military. If you know veterans or active members in the military, make a point to reach out to them this week. Think of practical acts of appreciation that you can do. Pray for those suffering because of their sacrifice.
Study Ephesians 6 – The Full Armour of God. Paul often compares Christian disciplines with the battle gear and the day-to-day activities of those in active service. However, he draws a distinct line between spiritual and earthly battles, making it clear that our spiritual struggles are not against flesh and blood.
Ephesians 6:12 – “For we do not wrestle 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.”
Social Media accommodates the tendency to vilify, politicise, and polarise. We as Christ followers must resist the temptation to fall into the trap of labelling individuals, political parties, and other religious beliefs as our only targets. It’s time for an inventory! Take some time today and scroll through your personal Facebook timeline, your own Twitter account, and your Instagram. Are the majority of your posts contributing to the advancement of God’s kingdom through encouraging, positive posts that lead others to a better understanding of God’s love and purposes? Or are the majority of your posts speaking against individuals or political parties? Does your Internet presence only exist to do battle against others? Do you regularly share news articles that denounce others but seldom share the good news? Is your influence on the Internet life bringing?
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All Bible verses attributed to the ESV version unless otherwise indicated.
Until Next Week
2018 Katherine Walden
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