What Did You Sign Up For?

There are two things I have never done (actually, there are millions of things I have never done). But you know what I mean.

The first is that I have never walked into a military recruiter’s office. But I imagine some of their spiel, “Come see the world”; “The GI bill will be waiting for you”; “You will learn to be all you can be”; stuff like that. The second is I have never sat through a time share presentation. But I imagine some of their pitch being, “You can own property all over the world”; “No more tents or hotels”; “It is staying in one of the finest resorts two weeks out of every year”; and so on.

Christianity can be presented that way, too. Such benefits of forgiveness of sin, life eternal, purposeful life and “peace like a river” as some hymn long ago phrased it.

The military recruiter didn’t mention the physical training, early mornings, loud sergeants, and Afghanistan deployments. The time share guy didn’t mention the increasing monthly dues, capital projects, and property unavailability.

What is often omitted from the Christianity presentation is that one’s faith is more encompassing than Jesus living in your heart. The above benefits are true but there is more—way more. Here are two neglected ones. There is a war to be fought. There is territory to be taken.

Christianity is not pacifism. Jesus is far more than our personal Savior. We have been given suits of armor (Ephesians 6:10-17) and we are duty-bound to fight.

But how are we to fight? The Apostle Paul answers in part in the three verses that follow the above verses. That we are to pray

At all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,  and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel,  for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak (6:18-20).

The battle theme of the verses continues with the words “keep alert,” “perseverance,” and the cost for doing so becoming “an ambassador in chains.” Ours is a proactive faith. It is an “opening my mouth boldly” faith. It is a faith lived outside our homes and the four-walls of our church. It is also a faith that can get you in trouble.

Like the Christians of the first century, we too are overmatched on the ground. We look around and the halls of power, education, entertainment, and seemingly everywhere else is enemy territory. There is much that is arrayed against us.

What are we to do? Worship God on Sundays. Raise up the next generation of warriors. Put the armor of God on and get out there. What are we not to do? Live life as if there is no war going on and there is no enemy territory to take.

Timothy is told to “Fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). We are too.

Pastor Rich Hamlin
October 21, 2021

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