We know that this world is not home. We are sojourners and Pilgrims, and it is critical to keep that fact in the forefront of our lives. There is so much to distract. The gravity of comfort is louder than the confrontation of age or loneliness. The older we get, the louder the call to settle in and resist growth or change. The faithful taking in of God's Word inoculates the Soldier of the Cross against putting roots down in to this brief life. At the same time, the Bible brings Light to the prayer time and brings perspective on all things. This means that the Christian who is in the Word and is prayerful, is free to enjoy everything. He can enjoy even the smallest things with a greater freedom than the person who knows he is heaven bound, but just can't let go of control. Freedom comes from sight. Sight comes from walking in the Light. Walking in the Light comes from being in the Word and in honest prayer. Look around. What do you see that will not decay? Is there any human relationship that will not change in heaven? Do you know where your Treasure is? Soldier of The Cross, we are to live each day with the assumption that He is coming for us immediately. We must attend to those around us. We must have clean hands. We must be full of His Word. We must be about our Father's business. We must be looking for Him.
Soldier of The Cross, it is not your job to deal with those who would distract. The book of Nehemiah teaches us that when there is any rebuilding of The Wall, there are those who are always threatened. They will rattle sabers, advance gossip, give false reports and do absolutely anything they can do to subvert God's Work. Sometimes the enemy is seen and sometimes unseen. All of the time, there is opposition to His Work. It He who makes the way. It is He who prepares a Table before us in the presence of our enemies. It is He who anoints our heads with oil. It is His rod and His staff. He is the Shepherd who leads us beside the still waters. Are you a Soldier of The Cross? Have you decided to follow Him? When you become aware of the swirl, take hold of The Word. You know where it comes from Set your face like flint. Look neither to the left nor to the right. Gaze upon the Lover of Your Soul.
The old song is accurate; It is no secret what God can do. Soldier of The Cross, I know I have told you before, but I am reminding you - do not pray according to what you see, what you know, or what you can imagine. You must pray according to the Word of God. That means, the Lord can do far beyond your concept in prayer. I have often heard people pray that person A would not speak to Person B. Or perhaps that they would speak. Or that this one would get a particular job. Or that another one would find a mate. We so often undershoot what the Lord can do. And, it is not a small thing. We who have been born into the Kingdom of His Dear Son, have the privilege of praying through Heaven's agenda. Prayer absolutely must not be limited to the things that are possible by human concept. We serve the God of the impossible. In fact, what Bible story can you recount where God did the thing that was predictable, or that anyone could have done? Soldier of The Cross, press the limits. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you in prayer. What do you have to lose?
If you are available, you will receive all the Lord has for you - His best. It is easy to want the things that last only for a lifetime - financial security,comfort, admiration and all the things the world defines as components of happiness. There is something that must happen; there must be a deliberate decision to trust Him. The Lord seems to take us through seasons. There are seasons of waiting, seasons of plenty, lean seasons, and often there are times when nothing seems to go well at all. For those who "walk according to His purposes," it all adds up to the same thing in Glory. The problem lies with us. Physical pain is not something that can be ignored. The loss of a loved one is borne throughout life. Persecution must be endured. There is a Place where the Soldier of The Cross can honestly thank the Lord for all the things that He has allowed. How could Paul say he had learned to be content with much or content with little? How could he say he would learn to take pleasure in dealing with so many of the things that the flesh hates? He trusted God. He believed God. He lived for no other purpose than to love and serve the Lord. There is no freedom like the freedom in letting the Lord have His completely way. Tell the Lord today that He can have His way with your life. Tell Him aloud.
All of Elisabeth Elliot's books have wonderful titles: "The Liberty of Obedience;" "Keep a quite Heart;" "Through Gates of Splendor;" " Love Has a Price Tag" and many others. My favorite is her biography of Amy Carmichael, "A Chance to Die." What a glorious name for the life story of one who is determined to be a living sacrifice. In her study, on the wall that is most close to the ocean, Elisabeth placed the brass cross that Amy Carmichael had on the wall at the foot of her own bed during the years of her crippling illness. The cross was placed strategically, so that Amy Carmichael would be constantly reminded that the illness was a love gift from the Lord. There is a process to the ". . . less of me and more of Him. . ." and it is The Cross. The Cross is the place of the death of the flesh. The place where the Lord deals with self. Where He deals with the things that seem to be impossible to shed. The Cross is taken up willingly. It is taken up because there has been a realization that there is only one life, and it is to be lived in obedience and in complete submission to the Lord. This process is not possible without a supernatural work. It is not possible until the Christian Soldier has presented himself in prayer. It is not possible until there is a longing to be a disciple. To be with Jesus. To follow Jesus. To know Him, and the power of His Resurrection. There are many who simply will not take up The Cross. The religious aspects of Christianity are beautiful to them. Being right is beautiful to them. Being comfortable is beautiful to them. Being admired is beautiful to them. Perhaps they long for financial security. There is often a worship of family. There is always a desperate need for control. Is He beautiful to you? What are the things you love about Him? He wants to make His likeness in you. Do you want that? There must be the work of The Cross. When you tell the Lord you are willing to be a disciple and that you are willing to take up the Cross daily, He responds beyond human comprehension. He longs to show you infinite treasure and Glory. He longs to sit and sup with you. He who is preparing a place for you is not calling you to a gauntlet of hardship. He is leading you into intimacy with Himself. He who gave Himself for you is not waiting to pounce in order to make visible victims of all those who will follow Him. He wants you to put your burden down. He wants you to stop feeling guilty. He wants to free you from the flesh. From the self-life. He wants to to know the love of the Brethren. He wants to lead you through his Word, so that you can see Him clearly. He want you to know His touch. He wants you to lead others to Himself. He wants you to see Heaven. Soldier of The Cross, He has asked you to take up The Cross daily because He wants you to know the freedom that is in Him. For God so loved the world. . . Soldier of The Cross, He longs to reveal himself to and through you. This is not a one time thing, although there is a beginning to the Cross Life. It is a daily matter. Tell Him each day that you will take up the Cross. Tell Him you are willing for His deepest work in you. Tell Him you will not count the cost. Tell Him He can do anything with your life. Tell Him aloud. Tell Him today.
In heaven, you should be known as one who prays much. We are told to pray at all times. We are told to pray for all men everywhere. God's Word says much about prayer, and there is no question that heaven moves when God's people pray. Soldier of the Cross, in your Christian life, is there anything more resisted than prayer? Pray aloud. If possible, have a consistent time when you are alone. Take hold of the fact that He is an acute listener. The Indwelling Holy Spirit will lead you if you are available. There are some curious features of regular prayer. The longer you pray about something, the more confident you become that He is listening and that He will do as you have asked. It is not possible to bring the same thing before the Lord day after day, year after year, unless there is supernatural empowerment. Be careful when praying about the lives of others. It can be tempting to pray for certain specific things that you think would be good for another. In some cases, it is possible to pray amiss and to actually interfere with what might otherwise be holy Spirit-driven prayer. We can always pray for another to see Jesus clearly. We can always pray for hearts to be able to be available. We can always pray for wisdom. We can always pray for discernment. I have often asked the Lord for things that I did not know He would bring. Some He has and some He has not. Some things I have asked for once and have seen come to fruition in a way that only He could do. Other things I have requested and they have not been granted. But those things that He enables the praying Soldier to bring to Him over the course of time, He will do. When we get to heaven, we will realize that His work was done only by prayer. We will see that so much more could have been done, had there been more prayer. And, we will see that we often bore burdens and missed delights because of a lack of prayer. Soldier, govern your body. Get in a posture of prayer. If you have to stand in a bucket of ice to keep yourself awake, do it. Pray! Pray!
Soldier, when there is a particular effort of the enemy, the resistance can be physical as well as spiritual. We live in a fallen world, and only the Lord is Omniscient. Most of the time, we do not have the inside scoop on what the enemy is doing. There are times, however, when resistance seems so overwhelming, it becomes difficult to talk, move, or even execute the most mundane tasks. For the Soldier of The Cross, this is the time to consider the possibilities. We do not know what the enemy is allowed to do. But we do know that his efforts are like a hologram, in that if we resist, he will flee. Recently, I was barely able to get through the day physically. I felt like I was swimming through peanut butter, just to get from one room to the next. I usually work about 16 hours each day, but I was collapsing in the middle of the day and had to sleep for several hours. After seeking the Lord about it, I was convinced that it was the enemy. I determined to fight it through and resist. One day after lunch, I could barely move. The worse it became, the more I was convinced that it was not necessary. I began moving vigorously, singing, praying, and launched into a pile of work. Within twenty minutes , the siege passed, and I was able to work freely. Soldier of The Cross, your life is not your own, and your body is not your own. There are times to slow down and there are times to lunge in with all you have. Learn to follow the Lord. Those who walk in the Light can see. There is much to do. Be sure you are waiting on the Lord for every aspect of sustenance.
Soldier of The Cross, are you aware of your thoughts? Do they line up with His Word? Until you allow the Lord to get hold of your thought life, you are an open field for the enemy. He can shoot thoughts against others, thoughts against you and thoughts against the Lord. Those who can be used of Him are eager to yield up their faculties to Him. They are eager to be filled and overflowing with the Holy Spirit. They are eager to be changed. They are eager to see the lost come to Christ. The thought life must be in line with His word and His Kingdom. This is a conscious decision. The mouth, the countenance and the thought life are tightly linked. Yield to the Lover of Your Soul. Tell Him you want to obey in the area of the thought life. Tell Him aloud.
Alas, Lord God! Behold, you have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your out-stretched arm! There is nothing too hard or too wonderful for You - Jeremiah 32:17 Soldier of The Cross, you have crossed The Line. You have decided to give Him your all. You have made a deliberate decision to agree with His Word. You long to be filled with the Spirit. You are telling Him in Prayer that He can have you completely and that you want to be more responsive to Him each day. This means that you must look for Him to go places that are unknown to you. It means that He will respond to your availability. It means that you must be ready for anything and that you must deliberately exercise vigilance. Those who are wiling to let the Lord lead them are those who dwell in the Sabbath Rest. They are calm in the midst of the enemy's tornadic swirl. Rivers of Living Water issue forth from them. They are monuments to the Grace and healing power of God. We do not have the capacity to name all the things God could and should do in our hearts. We can not explain to Him how He should make his own likeness in us. In fact doing so is dangerous. But we do need to ask to see the things that are hidden. We need to stand on Jeremiah 33:3 and call to Him, expecting Him to answer - to show us the great and mighty things that we know not. Soldier, you must tell Him you are available. you must tell Him daily. And you must tell him aloud.
Those who are His have added responsibilities. One of the most beautiful children's' songs is the one that says "Oh Be Careful Little Tongue What You Say. . ." It isn't always what you say, but how you say it. Mark tells us that it is the thing that issues forth from a man's mouth that defiles him. and, so it is. Soldier of The Cross, there will always be those who will want to suck you in to gossip or worse. The intent of the enemy is to have you repeat the thing you have heard, with emotion, and with more exaggeration. You must understand that you are a Child of The King. You have the Indwelling Holy Spirit, and you have the Power to abstain from gossip, slander and verbal assassination. He who went to the Cross for you has asked you to yield to him completely. He wants your thoughts, your body, and your mouth. He wants your time and your goals. He is preparing a Place for you because His Love for you is so great, you can not even begin to understand it. The mouth is the indicator of the Presence of The Holy Spirit. Know that you are being recorded. For all eternity. Make sure you consider that when you stand before Him, your words will be played back to you, unless there has been confession and repentance. Soldier, please take heed; watch your tongue.