Do Not Shrink Back
TWO great armies confront each other. The battle lines are drawn. Great tenseness grips each soldier as he awaits the command to attack. Energetic action and determination are needed now. No fear can be entertained, only thoughts of victory. The individual soldier realizes that it may cost him his life. Yet he knows that shrinking back at this crucial moment could be disastrous for the cause. He must keep in mind the ideals that he is upholding and continue loyally in the line of duty.
True Christians are likened to soldiers of Christ. The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy: “As a fine soldier of Christ Jesus take your part in suffering evil.” (2 Timothy 2:3) Yes, the soldier must prepare himself to face suffering and must remain resolute in his determination to fulfill his duty. In this regard, the Christian soldier is no exception. He is upholding the supreme, universal cause of God.
How does a person become a soldier of Jesus Christ? By accepting God’s arrangement for salvation through Jesus Christ and by dedicating himself unreservedly to the Most High for life. The individual puts his signature upon such a dedication, as it were, by water baptism.
What is included in the Christian soldier’s fight? The examples of Jesus Christ and his apostles show that the Christian soldier is not authorized to use physical weapons. Instead, the Christian wields the sword of the spirit (that is, the Word of God) against wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12, 17) Such spiritual warfare enlightens the people against the forces of darkness, which represent wickedness. The individual agrees to engage in this spiritual battling when he dedicates his life to God.—Matthew 5:14-16; Romans 13:12.
The Christian soldier calls on people from house to house, searching for interested persons. (Luke 10:5, 6; Acts 5:42) When these are found, he visits them week after week, teaching them the truths of Jehovah’s Word. Thus the Christian soldier helps them to gain freedom from religious error. (Compare John 8:31, 32.) Once these interested persons come to appreciate Bible truth, they, too, will become soldiers of Christ.
Keep the Objective in View
Unlike worldly conflicts that result in the loss of lives, spiritual warfare takes the form of a rescue mission that brings no harm to anyone. For this reason, an intense desire to save lives, along with love of God and neighbor, is essential to continue as faithful warriors under the direction of Jesus Christ.
Of course, the wicked spirits are bent on interfering with the Christian’s spiritual warfare. They are in the vicinity of the earth and are concentrating their efforts so as to alienate all mankind from God. (Revelation 12:12) Material things that could be a blessing to humans are a means that Satan and his demons can use to ensnare. Both rich and poor can become victims of a way of life that shows undue concern with material things. Even some of God’s servants may begin to love the world and what it offers, giving in to “the desire of the eyes and the showy display of one’s means of life.”—1 John 2:15, 16.
Undue involvement with material things has been responsible for causing some who were associated with the Christian congregation to quit or to slow down in waging spiritual warfare. How sad this is! When the battle is raging, a soldier cannot afford to be distracted by other things. His interest must be in gaining the victory. Since life is at stake, the Christian soldier cannot afford to let his eyes take him away from his objective in the spiritual conflict. The apostle Paul told Timothy: “This mandate I commit to you, . . . in accord with the predictions that led directly on to you, that by these you may go on waging the fine warfare; holding faith and a good conscience.” (1 Timothy 1:18, 19) This kind of warfare will grow in intensity for the Christian until Jehovah God, by means of his Son, destroys all opposers of His sovereignty.—Revelation 19:11-16.
How vital it is for the Christian to remain loyal! But what will help him? If a lone soldier engaging in conventional warfare was to stand up against an army of thousands, he could not hope to be the victor. Despite his courage, he would be overpowered. The same could happen to the Christian soldier who faces hordes of demons. He needs to keep in mind that he is not alone. Backed by Jehovah God, Jesus Christ and myriads of angels, the Christian, in association with fellow believers, can gain the victory.
It is vital that we take advantage of the strengthening aid that God’s organization can give us. Through regular association with one of the more than 46,000 congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses, a person can receive training in the use of spiritual arms and armor. (Ephesians 6:10-20) Isolated from other believers by choice, the individual is like the soldier that confronts thousands alone. Hence, we wisely cooperate with God’s organized people in carrying out spiritual warfare, avoiding any allurements that could divert us from our Christian activity.
Never lose sight of the fact that the Christian’s fight is to save lives, including his own. (1 Timothy 4:16) Do not shrink back from waging the spiritual warfare through zealous preaching and teaching activities. “As a fine soldier of Christ Jesus” you can conquer the world.—2 Timothy 2:3, 4; Hebrews 10:38; John 16:33.