The Responsibility of the Christian (continued)
The Christian As Warrior
The next series of fragments begins with the 18th verse of chapter one of the first letter: "War the good warfare ..."; followed by these so familiar words in the second letter, second chapter: "...a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier on service entangleth himself in the affairs of this life; that he may please Him Who enrolled him as a soldier."
a. On Active Service
There are three ideas bound up with those words. Firstly, of course, the conception of the Christian as a warrior, and of the Christian life and Christian service as a warfare. Perhaps we hardly need to be reminded of that. It may be that you are a really war-scarred warrior: you have been in the fight and the battle has left its marks on you. You know it quit well. And yet it needs to be said - perhaps firstly to those who have newly donned the armor, who have newly come to the Lord. Understand that you have been enrolled in a spiritual army! That is what it says: you have been enrolled in a spiritual army, and your life-business is war. You are going to find that out sooner or later, whether you like it or not; but there is the fact. And that is a very responsible position. One, by failure in this warfare, may let down many and affect the whole campaign.
But, although the older ones may know it so well, and feel that you do not need to be reminded, are you sure that you do not? I think I know something about the warfare from experience; and yet - there is this subtle fact, that very often, when we are in a situation, and things are going on, we begin to blame people and circumstances, and get all worked up, and look for scapegoats, forgetting the reality of this thing - Why, the devil is after something! Here the battle is on, there is no doubt about it; the air is thick with conflict; and we get our eyes on people and things. We are defeated, we are just beaten, rendered casualties, put out of the fight - simply because we lose sight of the fact, the abiding fact, that we are in a spiritual warfare, and that behind "things" there are other, spiritual, forces.
We all need to be reminded. It is no small thing, you know, when we are really in a situation like that, and things are getting worked up to a fine pitch and stress, when someone comes along and says, 'Look here, the enemy is in this; he is trying to get you, he knows something or other, he is on your track; let us have some prayer about it'; and we get to prayer, and the whole thing goes. Sometimes just to remind one another of the fact is a tremendous deliverance: we find that it "is" a fact. We have been attributing the situation to things and people, and there is all the time something much deeper than that behind it. We need to be reminded continually that we are in a warfare - for we are.
That is the first thing here - this conception of the Christian life - and we must get hold of it and settle it. And, although I don't like saying it, I don't think we are ever going to be out of this warfare here!
(continued with # 75 - (b. With Undivided Interests)