The invisible war


When I was younger, I was obsessed with army men, tanks and things that went boom. I loved the Fourth of July. Me and my brother would walk almost a mile one way to the only gas station in our town to buy fireworks with change we had collected. Once I had used up most of the change I had collected, I would use my money from doing chores around the house. I didn’t understand the concept of throwing away my money back then, but I think when you are eight to twelve years old, you don’t really care about the value of money, you just care how much it can buy you. A dollar could buy me five packs of those snapper things that you throw on the ground and they make a sharp pop. Me and my brother would have competitions to see how many of these snappers we could throw in one handful in order to get the coolest noise off the surface of our driveway. I think we set an unofficial record of five boxes in one handful. It was cool for the second that it lasted for all of them to hit the pavement and pop. Then our fun was over until we got another pocket full of change to go buy some more things that went boom. 
As I grew into my teenage years, I started to read stories in books about World War II. The more stories I read of the horrific things that took place during this time in history, the more I respected the soldiers who fought those battles. Through reading stories, I became interested in movies about the major events in war history.
I once watched a movie where a soldier said something to the effect of, “You can’t be an effective soldier until you have accepted you are already dead.” See, no matter what side you were on during the war, if you were a soldier, it took dedication on your part in order to be effective. For some soldiers this meant they had to sit on a base in the south of England watching the skies with eyes peeled wide for enemy fighter planes seeking to reek havoc on their base. For other soldiers it meant traveling to the other side of the world to storm islands in the Pacific and fight an enemy that was ready to give up their life to defend a few feet of land. For a select few, this meant running up a beach with bullets raining down from the cliffs above while watching countless numbers of your friends drop to the ground lifeless around you. If you weren’t dedicated to getting to cover, you were probably dead. 

The application

Being dead

This concept of thinking of yourself as already dead is so foreign to me. It conjures up an image of me floating over my own body. How does one accept death so readily? Are we really that much more effective when we accept that we are dead? Jesus told us to die to ourselves daily, take up our cross and follow Him. Just like the commander in the war movie, Jesus is asking us to do essentially the same thing. In order to be effective in His service, we need to put our own needs and desires aside. We need to forget about what this world thinks is important in order to more effectively serve His kingdom. So how do we do that? How do we effectively put our lives aside? Jesus was a living example of what it looked like to put His own life aside. When Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, He prayed that that His Father’s will be done, not His own. He put His own life aside to get out of the way of what God had planned for Him. 

Taking cover

One thing you are taught to do as a soldier is to learn how to take cover. If your cover isn’t effective, you are left out in the open. No one wants to be caught out in the open. The beauty of accepting Christ in our lives is that we get the ultimate form of cover. We get God’s cover. Though we may lose our physical bodies some day, we will have eternal life in heaven with God because of the choice we made to take cover in the same bunker as Him. War doesn’t stop at the bunker though. Sometimes God calls us to get out of the bunker and use the gifts he has given us to fight the good fight. War is not easy. Sometimes you get the tiny little snap poppers thrown at you, but other times you have to run up the beach and trust God to get you through it. 

Being tactical

As a soldier, you always need to have a plan. You need to know where the exit points are, who is a threat, how close are you to your objective and what your objective is. Just like a soldier, we need to have a plan. We need to know where the enemy lies in wait so that we can prepare ourselves for his attacks. We need to be tactical in how we spend our time so as not to waist the precious time we have been given. So, what tactics do you have in place? What is your battle plan?

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