By Pastor Lee Hemen
August 21, 2008
No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer. (2 Timothy 2:4)
A soldier follows orders don’t they? Kind of reminds me of what Jesus told His followers: “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15) I have often wondered why modern church goers had such a problem with the old-style hymns and I think it is because so many of them speak to the fact of serving, obedience, and sacrifice. I mean when you hear words like, “There’s a royal banner given for display To the soldiers of the King; As an ensign fair we lift it up today, While as ransomed ones we sing. Marching on, marching on, For Christ count everything but loss! And to crown Him King, we’ll toil and sing, ‘Neath the banner of the cross!” how are you supposed to respond to that except by getting up and get going!
For today’s feel good corporate Christian the hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers” might be rendered: “Onward, Christian comrades, marching to our seats, With the love of Jesus makes us feel real neat! Christ, our little buddy helps lead us to our latte; Always ever forward to the free biscotti! Onward, Christian comrades marching out to eat, With the love of Jesus makes us feel real neat.” (Sorry, I just had to do it.) When I see pastors acting like politicians and Christians acting like the world seeking first their kingdom and their own righteous comfort, it saddens me. I was taught early on that the Christian does not live for themselves, they are to live for the Lord. Every aspect of our lives is to glorify God and to serve Him in His church while we are here in this world. We are to go into battle as His soldiers fighting a foe that is evil and hates anything that is holy. The world personifies this and while Christians are to be in the world, they are never to be of the world. A soldier has one uniform they wear. To wear another is counted as being a traitor to the cause.
I will never forget when my spiritual naiveté on this issue was first stripped away. I was a brand new pastor of a small struggling church. It was spiritually weak and had no identity. We desperately needed well grounded Christians to come to our aide and assist us. I was foolish enough to think that families that came from other parts of America would come and join us to help make us stronger and so that we could do the work of the Lord He called us to do here in the community our church was in. Family after family came, visited, and left. Finally, I begin to ask them why and their pathetic answers shocked me because response after response was the same: “We are looking for more activities for our family.” After digging a little deeper I soon discovered that these Christians were not what we needed as a church, but it was very disheartening as a young pastor to realize people were so shallow in their spirituality. There was never ever a hint of their commitment to Christ, to serve, to join and help make the church stronger. And this is the “spiritual” psychic that much of the modern church plays to. In fact, I have been told by two major mega pastors of renown that getting bodies through the doors is what they focus on because they know that sheer numbers will equate into more money, even if it results in lower personal giving per individual, whereby they can hire more people to do the work of the church instead of having to train and ask people to serve. And the few who are willing to serve can be supported by the many. It has created extremely spiritually weak congregations full of ragtag wandering sheep instead of regular soldiers for the Lord.
Today dear soldier of the Lord, do not get caught up with the things of the world seeking first your kingdom and your own righteous comfort. Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, obey His commands, and proudly wear the uniform of the Lord. Do not get caught up in the civilian affairs of the world.
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