I learned to heed life messages serving in the military and applying them to daily life. It could happen that sometimes it may take an old soldier of a long-ago war, now forgotten to get a point across. Sometimes.
If we, Christ’s church is also the bride of Christ, then sure we must be a warrior bride to stand in the spiritual gap against the spirit of darkness and sin, along with his cohorts.
Author’s Note: I must admit, having written and stored this piece some time ago, I was inspired to publish now upon viewing a post by a fellow blogger. It is of the subject bearing on how we of Christ will all stand examination before the Judgment Seat of Christ. (II Corinthians 5:6-10; Romans 14:10).
A land mine (or booby-trap) is an explosive device concealed under or on the ground and designed to destroy or disable enemy targets, ranging from combatants to vehicles and tanks, as they pass over or near it. Such a device is typically detonated automatically by way of pressure when a target steps on it or drives over it, although other detonation mechanisms are also sometimes used. A land mine may cause damage by direct blast effect, by fragments that are thrown by the blast, or by both. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_mine]
I knew a man-child who, while in the ‘Nam, on occasion, would need to walk through rice paddies during combat patrols. A rice paddy is an area of ground surrounded by earthen dikes a few feet high with a varying amount of water held by the barriers for growing rice. Now land mines hidden in such places could be of varied sizes, types, and explosive capabilities. Still, all aimed for the foot soldier, the grunt carrying small arms on patrol. Being trained in Land Navigation (map reading), he learned to spot probable areas mines may be laid. That was his map.
Often, some men would start walking and begin daydreaming early in the morning (Vietnam could be so beautiful and peacefully enchanting in the early morning sun). On this occasion, a buddy of his took a step and heard a metallic *click*. He froze and yelled a warning. Then BOOM, was thrown backward, screaming. This man I know rushed to him with his med kit assessing the damage and binding the ragged wound, injecting morphine while another was calling in for a *medevac to get him to a hospital. He lived but was rotated home after the surgeons removed part of his ankle up to his thigh. Land mines are treacherous. They don’t always kill, but they always cause grievous damage for one who experiences it.
*(Medical Evacuation Helicopter)
That’s a bit of background on land mines in war. We, as Christians, are in a fight. A spiritual war. Even so, spiritual damage often causes physical damage as well. And vice-versa. The message can be applied to our walk with the Lord.
To the Point
When the Lord tells us to follow him and avoid sin, He is trying to keep us from stepping on land mines damaging body and soul. When we obey his commands and precepts, we step on fewer land mines in our walk across the field of life. As soldiers of the Cross, it would behoove us to listen to our Commander. He went before us; He carefully mapped the positions of all landmines in our particular paths or ways. So again, it would behoove us to follow His map. Those maps are laid out for us in the Bible. Such as the Proverbs, the gospels, the letters from the apostles. His maps for the avoidance of land mines range from Genesis to Revelation.
Map of Life
What the Lord calls sin are land mines to body and spirit.
More powerful explosives from bigger sins may be damaging overall when caught in big, garish publicized sin. But it can be of slighter damage to our walk because sudden recognition can lead to quick repentance and seeking forgiveness with a contrite heart before God. (Then again, it could undo us completely).
On the other hand, it may be the more minor, insidious sin of temptation in our daily lives which will sap us of strength day by day. Those minor wounds can make it feel like life is draining out of us unawares over time. Yes, God’s grace is big enough to cover them all. Even so, we will experience the fallout of having stepped where we shouldn’t have.
On a much more significant note, sin isn’t just an action we take. It is the nature, the disease of who we are outside of God, and with enmity toward Him. When we sin, in our new nature in Christ, we are reverting back to our old nature. That certainly must tweak our conscience. And a healthy thing when it does.
Land mines of life are omnipresent; therefore, not all will be avoided. That is the necessity of having hospitals for the soul (such as a Bible-believing/teaching church we can trust) and visiting our Savior-Surgeon regularly. His name is Jesus, and He keeps a spiritual/medical chart on us within arm’s reach, ready for our visits at all times. He is available 24/7 we-never-close-come-as-you-are, called prayer of the heart. He is a dedicated Surgeon who truly loves His job – and patients. I mean, really – why would God allow Him to be wrongly accused, beaten to a pulp, hanged on a bloody cross and die in our place if He didn’t love us that much! He was dead and buried -again, in our place. The Father raised Him from death on the third day, proving He accepted the Saviors propitiation of taking our place in death, so we don’t have to die for our own sin. Yes, that is the true measuring standard of the definition of Love. Yes, Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so! I can think of no theology higher or deeper than that. That is for daily use. Ok, this kinda got away from me. But I’m not going to erase any of it – it’s too valuable. Besides – nobody can close the door God opens.
In case you missed it, there is a term for what I have been describing? The term that is most recognizable is called Holiness. Our daily seeking Holiness isn’t about being a monk in a monastery or nun in a nunnery. It is how we live our lives every day as we go about our business even as we live in a dark world. As we seek it, holiness increasingly separates us from this dark world. Holiness has a name in Jesus. The closer we seek and follow Him it increasingly becomes a part of us. Holiness protects us as we walk in a dangerous and dark world.
If we take to heart His map as we travel, and the closer we journey with Him, it will surely help us avoid stepping on more land mines. To be sure, we will step on a few – and learn, but let us make it few, rather than more. In Jesus I put all my trust. Will you fellow pilgrim? His is the only safe journey’s walk across this land to the promised land. And may I say? Our examination before the Judgement Seat of Christ will reflect it with all glory going to our Savior.
But seek first the kingdom of God … and all these things will be provided for you. —Matthew 6:33
This has been a long journal post for me. Longer than my average. There is a reason for that.
God bless and keep y’all safe this coming year — and the hidden temptations that will go with it.
More Background Thought of Hymn History: We are soldiers of the ➕ Cross.
Am I A Soldier Of The Cross. A hymn by Isaac Watts (B. 1674-1748).
The quote in connection to today’s hymn is from Charles Spurgeon. He said: “The trumpet still plays the notes of war. You cannot sit down and put the victory wreath on your head. You do not have a crown. You still must wear the helmet and carry the sword. You must watch, pray, and fight. Expect your last battle to be the most difficult, for the enemy’s fiercest charge is reserved for the end of the day.” [Here]
2 Timothy 2:3-4 which reads: “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”