Anglican Morning Devotion for 18 January 2021 Anno Domini
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 3Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” (2Timothy 2:1-4; all scripture cited is from the King James Version)
When I remember the pristine days of my early life as a soldier, it seems as if it were ancient history. The shrill sounds of the fife and drums marching to meals at Washington Hall, the crisp and tailored, brass-buttoned uniforms of the cadet, the smell of boot polish being applied, and the ‘breaking of starch’ when adorning the drab green fatigue uniform seem to me today but a titillating dream of almost six decades past. It wasn’t long at all, in fact minutes, that I discovered that in being a soldier all was not appearance, but more performance and sacrifice.
We are all of faith called into the service of the Most High God as soldiers in the front line of His Army. The royal Banner of Christ, our Ensign, is unfurled at the forward line of battle as a rallying point and a guide to show is the way and to instill soldierly courage. The Army of God is not a defensive army, but one that emerges from the bunkers and trenches to carry the battle, in open battle, to the enemy who has mal-appropriated to himself that which is not his.
I was taught long ago that an army travels on its stomach (meaning there must be a logistics train of food and ordnance to perpetuate its forward movement). We have that logistics train in God’s Army supplied with the Water and Bread of Heaven, and the ordnance of prayer as our artillery. All is not bright parades and celebration in God’s Army. The line is fraught with disappointments and seeming setbacks. But there is never a defeat regardless of our personal disappointments. We have read the last chapters of our Standing Orders – the Holy Bible – and are aware of the ultimate and unconditional victory that awaits the loyal soldier.
There are certain common characteristics of the soldier (male and female) of God:
- The service in the Army of God is voluntary – “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.” (Hebrews 11:25)
- Service in the Army of God is a ‘uniformed’ service: “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.” (Revelations 3:4)
- The Army of God is equipped with its armaments: “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil……17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:11 & 17)
- Drilling and preparation is required in God’s Army: “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13)
- The Army of God is forever ready to advance but never retreat: “And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:” (Exodus 14:15)
- The Army of God must endure many hurts and wounds: “3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (2 Timothy 2:3)
- God’s Army perseveres to the end of the Battle: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7) and “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” (Romans 8:37) A conqueror such as Julius Caesar or Alexander the Great may conquer every army it confronts, yet, never enjoy the role of Sovereign. Those who persevere to the end in the Army of God will enjoy the title of princes of the Kingdom.
- The Army of God will stand the final Review before the Throne of God: “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15Therefore are they before the throne of God,” (Revelations 7:13-15)
If you wear the uniform, you had better be ready for service! We have a great Commander, and He is a Man of War: “The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name.” (Exodus 15:3)