from lectures by Vuthy Nol-Mantia—Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Most—if not all—of us have
seen soldiers in uniform, be it in the flesh, on the streets, in the movies or
on TV. They generally evoke admiration because they seem so different—so cool
and capable. Growing up, many children say it is their ambition to be a soldier
in order to protect their family and country. However, being a good soldier is
not easy; a soldier has to be self-disciplined and proactive; he must be
willing to endure hardship and be ever ready to fight. Fundamentally, soldiers
need to have a clear understanding of who they are and what they are supposed
These are the very questions
of identity, sense of belonging and role that many youths today struggle with.
In particular, as youths in the True Jesus Church, how do we see
This series of articles
discusses the following questions: Do we truly know and understand who we are?
Do we know our purpose in life? Are we equipped to fulfill this purpose?
IDENTITY: SOLDIERS OF CHRIST
When we were baptized, we
became children of God by His grace (Jn 1:12–13; 3:5; Rom 6:4). Besides being
adopted, we automatically enlisted in God’s spiritual army; each and every one
of us is a soldier of Christ. Since we accepted baptism by faith, the nature of
our enlistment is voluntary. Even if we were baptized as an infant, if we have
experienced God for ourselves then His grace and love will compel us to follow
His calling and to serve Him. In fact, being a child and soldier of Christ is a
precious status. Not everybody obtains this status because although God so
loved the world, not all respond to this love. Though many are called, few are
chosen. Hence, we must treasure this status which has been freely given to us.
ROLES OF GOD’S ARMY
Ready to Fight
What is the purpose of God’s
army? Most armed forces of this world have several service branches which play
different roles in defending their homeland; some are more active and
high-paced while others have a more passive or defensive function. The Lord’s
armed forces clearly must belong to the former category because the enemy we
fight is ever seeking opportunities to invade and conquer (1 Pet 5:8). In fact,
a spiritual war is already being fought on our territory—the church. We cannot
afford to hunker down and just wait to be bombarded. Instead, we must fight
back by penetrating our enemy’s front line and gaining victory over Satan (Eph
6:11–12). Satan seeks to destroy our faith through temptations, tribulations,
and deception; he also wants to prevent us from saving more souls. So we must
always remain on active mode, ready for spiritual warfare, whether it is at
home, school, work, or church.
Determined to Save
The mighty men of King David
were chosen—like us—to fight on the front line (2 Sam 23:8–12). On one occasion, their chief,
Josheb-Basshebeth, single-handedly defeated an astounding 800 men. Perhaps we
cannot relate to the feats of these mighty men but consider another man who,
even more amazingly, defeated 3,000 in one go; that man is Peter. After the
Holy Spirit descended upon him, Peter was moved to speak a sermon that cut to
the hearts of his listeners. Many believed, repented, and were baptized—thus
putting their old selves to death and being reborn in Christ Jesus (Rom 6:3–6).
From this perspective, the
act of defeating men no longer pertains to physical death, but rather to
turning men to Christ and putting to death their old man. The motto of the US
Army’s Special Forces, De Oppresso Liber—which means “to liberate from
oppression”—describes well our role as the Lord’s Army. There are many people
who are still held captive by the king of the world (Jn 12:31; 14:30; 16:11).
The primary act of spiritual warfare, then, is preaching the gospel of
salvation—bringing people to the realization of their sinfulness, and their
need for Jesus to liberate them.
When we reflect on our
abilities, skills, and weaknesses, we may feel that we will never reach the
heights achieved by the mighty men of the Bible. However, we should not easily
give up. David’s mighty men were originally homeless renegades, but they became
mighty men after years of training. Peter was a fisherman given to bursts of
impetuosity and whose nerve failed him at a most critical moment. But the Holy
Spirit transformed him, bolstering his courage and bringing to mind all that
the Lord had taught (Lk 22:33; Jn 18:10, 15–26; Acts 4).
Therefore, we too need to
undergo training and equip ourselves with the Spirit and word of God, to be
able to fight on the front line and to break through the enemy’s line. Most
importantly, we must acquire the attributes of a soldier in God’s army.
CHARACTERISTICS OF GOD’S ARMY
Clothed in Fine White Linen
As with any army, the
heavenly army has its uniform. John witnessed “the armies in heaven, clothed in
fine linen, white and clean” (Rev 19:14a). The fine, white linen that they wore
was obtained at the point of baptism (Rev 7:13–14; 1:5; Acts 22:16). Hence, as
we approach the end times, we must strive for holiness to ensure that our white
linen robes remain unblemished (Rev 3:4; 16:15), because they identify us as
members of this heavenly army.
Are our thoughts, words, and actions pure?
Riding on White Horses
In John’s revelation, the
armies in heaven rode on white horses (Rev 19:14). Jesus, the Lamb of God, also
rode a white horse when “he went out conquering and to conquer” (Rev 6:2b). The
white horse represents the true church, which means that Jesus will use the
church to conquer and fulfill His purpose. In the same way, the armies in
heaven rode on white horses; this signifies that we need to abide in the true
church if we wish to be part of the heavenly army and have the power to
overcome the enemy.
Do we really believe that the True Jesus Church is the only
church that is saved in these last days?
No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this
life, that he may please him who
enlisted him as a soldier. (2 Tim 2:4)
As a soldier of God, we must
not entangle our lives with the things of this world. This does not mean that
we spend all our time praying and reading the Bible or that we should all
become full-time ministers; in fact, we should continue to study and work hard,
since these activities can support the work of evangelism.
Neither does it mean that we
cannot enjoy a life of variety. But our perspective should be different from
that of the world. We must remember that the things of this world are temporary
and that they can keep us from reaching our full potential as mighty men of
God. Our first priority should always be to serve God.
Today, what are we focusing on?
Behold, it is
valiant men around it,
Of the valiant
They all hold
Being expert in
Every man has
his sword on his thigh
Because of fear
in the night. (Song 3:7–8)
There were about two million
Israelites at the time, but Solomon chose only sixty to guard his carriage.
These hand-selected sixty were experts in war. They all held swords which were
bound on their thighs, meaning that they were always ready. Moreover, they had
fear in the night, which, coupled with their readiness, shows that they were
always watchful. Their fear also made them more humble, for they knew their
limitations and weaknesses.
Today, we too must be watchful
at all times. Do not complacently assume that our faith is strong enough to
withstand any temptation that Satan can throw at us. The wily wicked one will
tirelessly try to destroy us by planting impure thoughts in our heads and by
using a plethora of temptations. Hence, we must be prepared. As Christian
soldiers, we are on duty 24/7. In order to defend ourselves, we must pray and
read the Bible regularly, for God’s Spirit and word are the weapons we wield
Are we Spirit-led and do we keep the word of God in mind at
Willing to Suffer
You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus
Christ. (2 Tim 2:3)
The soldiers of Christ must
be willing to suffer for Him. As we preach the gospel or serve God in other
ways, we may often have to give up our personal comfort and leisure activities,
or sacrifice time with our families and friends.
Being a full-time soldier is
physically, emotionally, and spiritually challenging. But we can do all things
through Christ who strengthens us. We have been chosen by God to join His
awesome army and to fight in His great battle, the battle at Armageddon (Rev
16:16). Therefore, we must fight to the end.
Are we prepared to endure hardship?
WILLING AND ABLE
Another battalion of the US
army has Volens et Potens—“willing and able”—as a motto. Jesus Christ willingly gave His own life in
exchange for ours so that we, though unworthy, can receive eternal life. If God
so loved us, we too ought to be determined to engage in this spiritual
battle—to be well-equipped with the armor of God, so that we can be like one of
the mighty men on the front line, fighting for our Lord Jesus Christ and
protecting our beloved family in Christ.
Are we willing and able to fight?
[To be continued…]