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Soldiers performing pushup exercise. Training for Soldiers of the Cross

Soldiers Of The Cross

My oldest brother was a hero to me. And now he had joined the Air Force. It thrilled me to see his picture in uniform.

A couple of years later, my third oldest brother joined the army. And I was proud again.

The USA was fighting the Korean War. “Those were the times when we unashamedly respected the flag.  We proudly recited the pledge of allegiance.  Our hearts swelled with pride, and sometimes tears flowed as we sang the Star-Spangled Banner.  As a child, I remember the day our town celebrated our own Congressional Medal of Honor soldier, Sgt. Einar Ingman, for his heroism and courage near Maltari, South Korea, in 1951.  The town gave him a new car and a boat.

But it came to him at extreme cost.  He lost his left eye, lost hearing in his left ear, and even after many surgeries, he had memory problems for the rest of his life.” (From my article, Freedom is not Free. It came at a cost.)  For many others, it cost them their life.

But, did you know that you and I joined the army when we accepted Christ as Savior? We are in the Lord’s Army.

Contrary to current thinking, Christianity is not a bed of ease. We are not Christians to have a good time, sing popular Christian songs, go to Christian concerts or church, or become affluent, or become popular. All of those things might be good, but there is much more to the Christian life. We are in the army now.

Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Paul wrote Timothy saying, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3). After having been stoned and surviving, he taught the Christians that “we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

Paul called Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25) and Archippus (Philemon 1:2) fellow soldiers. He commanded Timothy to “war a good warfare” (1 Timothy 1:18). The song, “Am I a Soldier of the Cross?” challenges us.  (Lyrics by Isaac Watts).

  1. Am I a soldier of the cross,
    A follow’r of the Lamb?
    And shall I fear to own His cause,
    Or blush to speak His name?
  2. Must I be carried to the skies
    On flow’ry beds of ease,
    While others fought to win the prize,
    And sailed through bloody seas?
  3. Are there no foes for me to face?
    Must I not stem the flood?
    Is this vile world a friend to grace,
    To help me on to God?
  4. Sure I must fight if I would reign;
    Increase my courage, Lord;
    I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,
    Supported by Thy Word.

Paul, in 2 Timothy 2:3-4, gives several requirements as a soldier. “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.”

  1. Endure hardness – be tough spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Train and be fit in every way possible to endure hard times victoriously.
  2. Don’t get entangled in the things of the world – the affairs of this life. Don’t take on obligations hindering or stopping you from doing God’s will. Don’t get caught in financial indebtedness that makes it impossible to give as you should. When you move, make sure it is a place where you and your family have access to a good church. Don’t take on sports or other activities that will keep you from church. Stay away from anything that will keep you from serving the Lord.
  3. You are not your own. You are not independent. You don’t get entangled because you want to “please him who hath chosen you to be a soldier.”

Paul could teach and preach this because he lived it. Read 2 Corinthians 11:23-28. Paul suffered for Christ in labors, stripes (whippings with a whip), imprisonments, near-death experiences, beatings, stoning, shipwreck, much traveling, perils of waters, robbers, attacks from his own people and the heathen, and other dangers. Then there were the physical problems of weariness, painfulness, watching against danger, hunger, thirst, fasting, cold, and nakedness. On top of that was the care of the churches that he started.

Are you a soldier of the cross? Can you sing the old song, Onward Christian Soldiers, with sincerity and commitment?  (Lyrics by S. Baring-Gould)

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
Forward into battle see His banners go!

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.

At the sign of triumph Satan’s host doth flee;
On then, Christian soldiers, on to victory!
Hell’s foundations quiver at the shout of praise;
Brothers lift your voices, loud your anthems raise.

Like a mighty army moves the church of God;
Brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod.
We are not divided, all one body we,
One in hope and doctrine, one in charity.

Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane,
But the church of Jesus constant will remain.
Gates of hell can never ’gainst that church prevail;
We have Christ’s own promise, and that cannot fail.

Onward then, ye people, join our happy throng,
Blend with ours your voices in the triumph song.
Glory, laud, and honor unto Christ the King,
This through countless ages men and angels sing.

Recommit today to your mission as a soldier of the cross.

About Dale B

I am a born-again Christian who loves to write and share the Good News about Jesus. Raised on a small Wisconsin farm and saved at age 12, I have been active in Christian service since that time. My many years as a pastor, accountant, and lay worker in the church have equipped me to help those in need. In retirement now in Texas, the Lord has led me to writing as a means of winning people to Christ and helping Christians grow in the Lord. By God’s grace I hope to be a blessing and encouragement to you.

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  1. Hi Dale,
    A beautiful article – and message!
    Thank you – I love that hymn at the close- Haven’t heard that in awhile.
    God Bless~

  2. great hymns of the faith and awsome message

  3. Hi Dale,

    Your article reminded me of how soft and comfortable we Christians have become. Thanks for a reminder that
    we are in a battle, how quickly I forget that surrounded by first world comforts.

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