March to Glory (Full Article)
During my six-month tour in the Army Reserves after I had been assimilated into army life, I had a memorable experience I will never forget that relates to the following Scripture:
Song of Solomon 6:10 ‘Who is this that grows like the dawn, As beautiful as the full moon, As pure as the sun, As awesome as an army with banners?’
It was early morning just before dawn. Our unit had finished PT and we were all milling around waiting for chow to begin. We heard the sound of a marching band faintly on the distant parade field. As it began to get louder we realized it was coming down the road and would pass next to where we were. We naturally formed a line on the side of the road in anticipation of what was coming. The sound of the band matched the crispness of the morning air as it moved closer. As I peered through the early morning light, suddenly around a curve at a distance an array of flags and banners held high in the air appeared as a silhouette against the backdrop of the unfolding sunrise, moving smartly toward us.
With every beat of the drums the sound became louder and louder in the morning stillness and within moments I could hear the sound of the precision cadence of the battalion that followed. By the time the row of flags and banners approached us they were gleaming in the few rays of the early morning sun that were beginning to bathe the earth. As the marching band thundered past, without prompting, every one of us stood at attention saluting the flag as old glory waved on by. The “Esprit- de- corps” of the marching soldiers was just as awe inspiring to us because it was very evident that they were “Regular Army” seasoned troops and we were relatively new recruits and short timers at that, and would soon return to civilian life.
In spit of my homesickness, all the hardship I had been through in basic training with the flu epidemic in the middle of it (that just about emptied our barracks, me included); something inside me was saying; “I want to be like these men”. At the time it was truly an awesome, unforgettable sight to see. It wasn’t until many years later that I answered the call and joined the army I was looking for- the Army of Christ and found and tasted the real glory.
My Dim Vision of Grandeur
I have often thought of the body of Christ in light of this Scripture, picturing us as a mighty army marching down the Highway of Holiness reflecting His glory when He comes. But when I look around at the condition of His army today I see a different picture. I have seen us on a similar road with the banners barely in view at the edge of the dawn of the new millennium, just before dawn, far from a well-formed army. By the Holy Spirit we are beginning to form up, as some are beginning to walk down the same road together in small groups, some separate, some limping from previous wounds, some whole, beginning to get into serious formation with others.
Alongside the Road to Glory
What I have seen most vividly as I journey down this road are those in the shadows along side and off the road. Come and take a little walk with me along the side of this highway. We walk past the spectators, some mocking even causing divisions, some wondering if they should join up or not or just doubting, waiting around to see what would happen with all the disunity and all. We briefly speak to the many wounded, wanting to return but do not have the courage, and we see those who are too preoccupied with their wounds to notice the forming army on the road or us. We view those whose uniforms are so soiled that they have lost all hope of ever getting into formation with others. Oh yes, sadly, there are the many who drift into formation and then out again like the tide, who want the glory, but do not want to pay the price.
We notice the many small bands of “freedom fighters”, usually at least in two’s or three’s walking along side the road unwilling to come under any earthly authority and almost proud to be viewed as a renegade*.
- Somebody who abandons previously held beliefs or loyalties
- Somebody who chooses to live outside of the laws or conventions of a group
Going a little further off the road it is not hard to see, even in the darkness, the well trodden paths leading back into the world, some all too familiar to us. Going just a few steps further you can hear the familiar sounds of partying of civilian life, mixed with the sounds of torment of those who are once again captured by their enemies. As we start to return to the road, you stumble over someone sitting, resting against a tree. Upon a closer look you find you once knew him as a fellow soldier and you try to gently shake him awake and are shocked to find there were no signs of spiritual life. None!
What is a Casualty when you are at WAR?
As we are returning to the road as fellow soldiers, we agree, we certainly are at WAR. We have this conversation and I ask, “If you were an officer in this army marching to war and every man was needed to fight and your life and your men may depend on them; at what point do you consider those who have been casualties?” Will it matter in the fray how you define a casualty: Wounded in action, Missing in action, AWOL (absent with out leave), POW (prisoner of war), returned to civilian life or spiritually dead??? They probably will not show up on the battlefield to see victory with you or to cover your back in the trenches.
We need to be honest with ourselves because God knows where we are and ask ourselves this question: Where am I in this Army?
I believe He is saying to every Believer right now: __(Your Name)___, where are you?
Have you answered the call? Have you signed on the dotted line?:
…………………………………………….. And said, “Here am I Lord, send me”.
To the many who have been on the march:
While on your journey have you seen the wounded, discouraged or homeless and crossed over to the other side of the road? Perhaps you yourself have helped cause some of these tragedies and need to search out that ONE and make things right to recruit them once again.
Can we compassionately pray and intercede for those we know who have been taken captive, some by the enemy; the many who are imprisoned in Churches by the doctrines and traditions of men in the name of “religion”?
The best advice to us in many situations is to show them the mercy He has shown us and not judge them, for he is standing right at the door. Love them by distinguishing the weak with compassion. Sternly but prudently warn them to save them, if possible, from the fires of hell and be an example of living faith and hope to all (Jude 21-23)
Battlefield Commission Waiting?
Many of you, through wounds and betrayals of others, need to see that perhaps God allowed these things in your life to be a means of promotion. A battlefield commission may be waiting for you when you see things in this light and you allow God to heal your pain, and you are able to release those who may have caused it. Many stop continuing to serve when this occurs and do not recognize the victim mentality of our own sin that has caused us to deny the rest of the body of Christ the life within them.
To the “freedom fighters” I say, “it’s time to put on the uniform and hook up with the real army. If you want to be in authority you must be a man under authority”. You may say, “my authority and submission is in heaven” and I believe what Jesus said in the “Our Father” is true, “Thy Kingdom come on earth, as it is in Heaven”. If you truly submitted to His authority in heaven, you will submit to His earthly authority also.
An interesting note about “taking up the full armor of God” in Ephesians 6: 10-18, the “you” and “your” are all plural forms of the word. Its full effectiveness comes from a corporate application, including the prayer in verse 18. I believe the key to victories in the years ahead will be Regional Prayer and Intercession and Regional Authority.
Eph. 6:18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, (NAS)
Spirit of Amalek : “Warlike; dweller within the vale”
One burden and great concern that is very clear to me as I look down the road is for the weak (especially those who think they are strong) and the stragglers on the fringe in the body of Christ as things continue to heat up. When the Israelites left Egypt, Amalek took many casualties during their journey:
17 “Remember what Amalek did to you along the way when you came out from Egypt,
18 how he met you along the way and attacked among you all the stragglers at your rear when you were faint and weary; and he did not fear God.
My question to you is this: Where are you in this picture? Where is your Church? Are we becoming part of the Corporate Sampson? Will you be so weak when you need strength or so isolated that you will be vulnerable to be subdued by the spirit of Amalek of this age?
The battle is still raging today and will continue to increase from generation to generation until the Lord comes. The only way the Joshuas of this generation will prevail in this battle in the season ahead is that the Moseses (the deliverers), Aarons (the enlightened) and Hurs (the free) unite under one banner named after the memorial alter that was built upon their victory: “The Lord is My Banner”. Exodus 17: 8-16