Since World War II, the US Army has had an elite fighting force called the Rangers. The Rangers were called triple volunteers as most volunteered for the Army, all volunteered to become paratroopers, and all volunteered to be Rangers. Ranger training was tough as well as multi-faceted. Rangers were trained to use all types of weapons and to be able to fight in all types of situations. The Rangers were highly disciplined troops intended to be used to spear-head battles as well as go (and fight) behind enemy lines.
Being a Ranger was not easy. Rangers ran everywhere in training, often while carrying 30-90 lbs of gear. The often slept outside, even in the rain. Although they ate the same type of canned rations as the rest of the Army, since they were outside more, they had that type of food more often. Though diligent in training and in battle, Rangers had an extremely high casualty rate.
Rangers rarely surrendered. Sometime when surrounded by an adversary, they would simply fight through a spot in the lines and break through. Often this was successful--they were dead when it was not.
One time during the Korean war, a black unit of Rangers was surrounded and vastly outnumbered by the enemy. The Rangers were attacked all night. They had to be vigilant as not only were they being attacked from afar, many of the enemy tried to stealthfully enter their bunkers to destroy them. The Rangers killed so many of their adversaries that they had to move the dead bodies of the stealthful ones out of the way so they could continue fighting. The morning after that battle, a commander of non-Ranger unit came by with his troops. After seeing the tremendous number enemy dead, he told his troops, "See this is what happens when you do not panic," with the implication being that the Rangers would have all been dead themselves if they would not have resisted so hard nor endured the hardships of their training.
What About Christians?
Somewhat like the Rangers, Christians are also to be an elite group. Jesus said, "narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it...For many are called, but few are chosen" (Matt 7:14;22:14). And like some Rangers in battle, Jesus said, "he who endures to the end shall be saved" (Matt 24:13).
"No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules" (II Tim 2:4-5). Christians must be separate from the world (Jas 1:27) and live according to God's rules (I John 2:3-5). An individual Christian who falls for "the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful" (Mat 13:22).
Christians must be balanced. "And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified" (I Cor 9;25-27). Christians must be disciplined.
Paul taught, "You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ...Be diligent to present yourself approved of God" (II Tim 2:3,15). But Paul acknowledged that our battles are different. "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, And being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ's, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ's, even so we are Christ's" (II Cor 10:4-7).
"Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints" (Eph 6:11-18).
It is amazing that carnal humans will voluntarily subject themselves to severe military discipline, severe athletic discipline, or other hardships for non-spiritual pursuits while some who claim to be Christians will not. Some professing Christians seem to forget that "the world is passing away...but he who does the will of God abides forever" (I John 2:17).
Are we who claim to be Christians so disciplined? Are we skilled in all the 'weapons' at our disposal? When Paul writes "above all taking the shield of faith" (Eph 6:16), do we remember that "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom 10:17) and that "prayer and fasting" (Matt 17:21) can help deal with the "unbelief" of those who claim to be believers (vs.20). Do we pray always? Do we fast regularly? Do we study the word of God regularly so we can use 'the sword of the Spirit'?
In addition to our weapons not being carnal, there are of course other differences. While many are taught to hate their enemies, Christians are taught to love theirs (Matt 5:43-44).
We do not do what the Rangers do when surrounded by enemies--you do not love your enemies by killing them. Jesus said, "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men" (Matt 10:16-17).
Diligent Christian Soldiers Do Not Lose
Just like the Rangers, we often have had to face an enemy, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him" (I Pet 5:8-9). Unlike many of the Rangers, we do not have to become casualties, as Jesus said, "Behold, I give you authority...over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you" (Luke 10:19).
Do we work to take our calling as seriously as elite soldiers? "Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (II Pet 1:10-11).Back to COGwriter home page
B. Thiel. Christian Soldiers. www.cogwriter.com (c) 2000/2006/2012 0915