The Veteran

Squeezed in between Halloween Night and Thanksgiving Day, our nation officially honors The Veterans who have stood on the wall and protected a free people. Words cannot express the genuine appreciation most Americans feel for the families of those who have sacrificed sons and daughters to preserve the freedoms we too often take for granted. Today Americans say, “Thank you for your service and sacrifice.”
God thought highly of the service and sacrifice of soldiers. His Spirit selected them as expressions in Scripture of the kind of people God enlists to serve in His army.  When we honor our veterans, it would be wise to remember what God loved the most about soldiers.
Good soldiers were effective soldiers, because they were willing to suffer hardship, when others were seeking to be put at ease. They were willing to be inconvenienced, or pressed beyond their comfort zone.
When the night falls the enemy always seems larger in the dark. In the face of a relentless enemy, prayer has always been the soldier’s most fluent language. Prayer will turn any battle ground into holy ground. This only happens…EVERY TIME.
Good soldiers have always pressed on when other soldiers fell out of a forced march. They never dropped their guard or fell asleep on the wall. Good soldiers kept marching, standing and watching. The standards remain the same for soldiers in the Army of God.
"Suffer hardship with me, as a good solder of Christ Jesus." 2 Timothy 2:3
Good soldiers have always been focused on obeying the orders of their commander, not debating them. Their allegiance was expressed by their obedience to fight, not in the eloquence of their debate. It is one thing to say a Pledge of Allegiance. It is quite another thing to pay the price of obedience. Good soldiers learn to pray and obey, and stay in the fight.
Good soldiers do not obey because it is convenient. They obey because they live to protect the ones who need them the most, and to serve the one who called them first.
For good soldiers to obey their commander requires sacrifice. America's army is made up of volunteers. Veterans of this army over the years have had to make personal choices to pry themselves away from people, places and plans that were very dear to them. Untangling themselves may have cost them the loss of a career. At the very least their service cost them the loss of sleep. For some their sacrifice required their loss of blood and for others the loss of life. Thank you for your service and sacrifice, indeed.
"No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of every day life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.” 2 Timothy 2:4
Good soldiers know that no matter how low or how high their rank may be, their power comes from being under authority. It does not flow from being in authority. BIG DIFFERENCE.
Good soldiers serve effectively by honoring the one who commands them. They are never guilty of stealing glory, taking credit or usurping the authority of their commander.
Stolen valor may be one of the most despicable crimes committed by someone who wears the uniform of our nation. Those who claim to be soldiers of our Lord are not immune from this same temptation. When people wear fake medals or preach and teach beyond their genuine experience, they are worse than deserters. They are posers. To lack moral earnestness is to be an immoral fraud.
Jesus recognized faith when He saw it. He honored the Roman solider who could sense that Jesus had power to command because He was under the authority of God. The solider knew what it meant to follow orders, and He could see the marching orders of God written all over the life and ministry of Jesus. His words should leave an indelible mark on us all who serve.
"I too, am a man under authority, with soldiers under me..." Luke 7:8
Good soldiers are equipped with the right weapons, and they are filled with the courage to use them against the right enemy. They don’t just fire when ready. They fire at the right target.
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood.” Ephesians 6:10-12
“When one brave man stands, the spines of others are strengthened.” Dr. Billy Graham
Note to Self. Taking friendly fire will be the saddest experience you will ever experience while serving in combat for your Lord. It is very painful and seems pointless. Taking fire from those you have sworn to serve, and who benefit from your sacrifice is hard soldiering.  They can steal earthly benefit from what you suffer, but don’t return their fire. Let God do it. His aim is better than yours. Keep fighting the right enemy, by praying for your friends and enemies. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!