Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Boots on the Ground: Engaging the spiritual battle

My local church is known for its cross-generational outreach. Many churches may choose to focus on a particular age group but we have made an effort to maintain an extended family atmosphere with plenty of young children, teens, young adults, and those who aren’t quite so young anymore. That’s why my friends range from twenty years younger to forty years older than me.

Al and Carolyn West are a couple that fall into that older than me category. They don’t act like it but they have grandkids older than my own kids so they must be older than me.

Al had the privilege to participate in a Heartland Honor Flight in recognition for his past military service. He wrote the following regarding his experience. I asked for the privilege to pass his insights along to you…

What an amazing experience to join other local veterans for an unforgettable visit to our nation’s capitol to pay honor to all veterans who have (or are) sacrificing and defending our heritage of freedom. It was truly an awesome day and one I will always cherish. …

While in Washington DC, I was amazed that our nation’s capitol was filled with so many memorials to the defense of our liberty as a nation under God. We visited the memorials to the fallen of battle from WW2, the Korean War, Viet Nam War, Arlington National Cemetery, the Air Force Memorial, and the Flag Raising at Iwo Jima (Marine Memorial). As the only Coast Guard veteran in the group, I returned home with a greater appreciation for our heritage, our national patriotism, and courage.

Until Jesus returns, there will always be conflicts and attacks against our way of life as we live out what is called our American Dream of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” As long as there is sin and evil in this world, there will always be ideologies that will hate our individual freedoms and the fact that we are a “…nation under God with liberty and justice for all.” Visiting those memorials, I was reminded that they honor the physical conflict and sacrifice of a freedom loving people. But there is also a spiritual battle for the souls of men. All of us who name the name of Christ are soldiers, locked in that struggle to the death.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12 NASB).

The forces of evil cannot be “contained.” There must be “boots on the ground!”

When duty called, Al stepped up and served his country as have thousands of men and women in the past and present. What I appreciate even more, however, is Al’s recognition that as followers of Christ we fight an even greater battle. I repeat what Al wrote that we are also in “a spiritual battle for the souls of men.” We are “locked in that struggle to the death” as we fight for their freedom. The spiritual battle isn’t fought with air strikes; the spiritual battle for the souls of men requires boots on the ground. 

We are those boots. 

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