Be all that you can be. Isn't that the motto for the army of the United States of America? Yes, it is. I like the sentiment, don't you? It says that you should go for the best that you can be in all that you do. I realize that we can't always do everything we envision for whatever reason. Sometimes, circumstances simply will not allow it. Or is that a true statement?
According to God's Word, we can be all that we should be. He expects that. But He does provide the abilities to be all that He wants us to be. God wants us to do the very best we can. Sometimes, I think that we have forgotten how to do that. An example of that came my way through a couple of kids I know. They have been raised to think of the Lord as their Savior, Someone they can talk to anytime, anyday. They were taught to do the very best they could at whatever they do, like schoolwork or their chores at home. Yet, for some reason, they only do what they have to in order to get by. Now, frankly, that sounds like a typical kid to me. Don't you think that too? Yes, that would be the case today. But it is not how God sees things.
Recently, I was praying and God showed me something that is pretty scary...if you believe it. He said that this is the condition of His army, the children of God who are working for Him. Let me describe what I saw in the picture God gave me. God's army, for the most part, is not only not equipped for battle, they don't know the officers from the enlisted troops. That shocked me but it shouldn't have.
The troops gain rank when they feel like it, fight when they want to, sit on the sidelines when they decide that it isn't their battle. It's really all about "if it FEELS good, do it." If they want to do "their own thing" the war will still be there when they get back, right? After all, it's a LONG war. Of course, there are some troops who don't even know there is a war going on around them. And the truly unfortunate part is that they have little to no armor or weapons to fight the battle.
Okay, sounds truly crazy and I'm making all this up, right? Imagine an army going to war, when called to fight, lining up looking like this. Some soldiers are totally naked standing in the line. They are unaware that there is a problem with this. Some have one or two items of armor but actually turn down the rest of the shielding because they feel it is not the right thing to have. Some troops have those various pieces of armor but no weapons.
Now there are troops that hunch down trying not to be noticed. They don't want to "volunteer" for anything. They just want to get by and get out. Others proclaim their rank, fighting among themselves as to who is greater, how they got their rank and why. There is always a "take charge" kind of person that claims the rank of commander whether they actually have that rank or not. This person will most assuredly tell you that they are the only one who could possibly lead our brave troops into the battle. Often, the person will actually be a private instead of the commander they proclaim to be. They have yet to actually earn the rank they say they have.
Few of the troops truly know who the enemy is. Most of them look at the true Commander-In-Chief as their worst problem. They will not follow the simplest orders often because it goes against what they were taught as a child or because they have their own agenda to follow. Some of these fine soldiers break rank, going off to fight where they please. The one thing that is abundantly clear with this army is that there is no unity, no interest in following the orders of the officers. Most of the troops are only interested in what they are doing in their own lives because they have more important things to focus on than some "lame" war that doesn't seem to have any end in sight, if they even remember there is a war, that is.
Then, of course, there are those who don't want to be in the army in the first place. They love to be on the sidelines cheering on the troops but do not choose to enter into battle themselves. In fact, there are times when they are too busy even to watch the war. Sometimes, like some soldiers, they have no idea that there really is a war. They see it as a small bump in the road. Maybe it's just an illusion. Someone is making up stories again about battles and wars that belong only in someone else's imagination. Those folks who think that are too busy to "play the game."
The question I have here is this. How long would any country survive with such an army as this? However, all is not lost. Nothing is totally hopeless. Off to the side of the large group of disorganized troops, there is a small gathering of soldiers that look professional in all they do. They are fully armored, weapons in hand, ready to fight where the Commander tells them to go. They are committed to fight the battle regardless of how inconvenient that may be. Their officers, who are appointed by the Commander-In-Chief, know what is expected of them. These are the elite soldiers, trained and battle ready at a moments notice. They have been trained in all aspects of warfare and are willing and able to fight when they are called to do so. These soldiers hear the officers and do as they are told because they know that this is the only way they can be in unity. The soldiers of this troop will win the battles they are ordered into because they are ready and able, operating as a unit. No enlisted personel tell the troops what to do. The truly sad part of this story is that there are only a very few truly committed men and women in this group.
The majority of the "troops" look at the elite corps with disbelief, doubt, disdain, superiority, knowing that the smaller group of people are the nutcases, the extremists, not to be believed or listened to. In fact, there is always someone who comes along to throw dirt at the elite soldiers either by being critical of their calling and by cutting them down verbally. The same ones that do that are also the sideline sitters, ones who will not be part of the army, but only choose to report on all the wrong things that are done "in the name of the Lord."
Isn't that a pretty picture? If you have not yet figured out that the majority of the troops are those of us who do not choose to follow the way God wants us to fight the battle, then perhaps you need to check out where you fit into the army of God. We must all look at ourselves with an eye to spot the things that we have allowed to wander into our lives. Those things that consume our time that have no meaning but take up the day or take up our thoughts.
To tell the truth, I have found myself in the first group of soldiers so many times that I can no longer count it up. What do I mean by "no armor?" Check out Ephesians 6:11 where the Lord tells us to "put on the WHOLE armor of God." Hmmmm. See, some folks believe that all you need is salvation. That's a helmet. But they do not feel the need for the rest of the armor, like the shield of faith. At times, we are taught that we need that faith but we don't put on the belt of truth. After all, we only lie when it might hurt someone to hear the truth. You know, little "white lies" don't hurt anyone. Whatever they don't know can't possibly hurt them.
Okay, what about Peace. We all want that, right? Did you put ON the the boots today? They are called "the preparation of the gospel of peace." Did you draw out your sword? Do you have one? God says in Ephesians 6:17 that the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God (translate that...your Bible).
I suspect that the one that gets most of us is the breastplate of righteousness. According to the Word of God, there are none righteous, no not one. (Romans 3:10) Remember that verse? Yes, most of us do. We grab hold of it, practically strangling the verse because we now have a reason not to be perfect for God. Uh, except that God says that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and that we are now righteous in His eyes. There are far too many folks who can't believe that they could ever be righteous to God. We are even taught that in some churches. However, that is wrong.
Romans 5:19, "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."
What does that verse mean? The "one" would be Adam, the one who disobeyed God in the garden of Eden bringing sin into the perfect world God made for man. The second "One" is Jesus Who was obedient to the point of hanging on the cross to stand in for us, taking on all of our sins, paying the price we should be paying for what we have done. So, who are the "many?" We are. We who are willing to ask Jesus into our hearts, to live with us forever. We are the many.
Oh yes, one more thing. In Ephesians 6:18, we are told to "pray always." I wonder how many of our army of God is doing that? I know that I fail with that one often. Yet that is a part of our armor and our weapons. We need to have the time with our Lord every day, listening to what He has to tell us, seeking always to hear His wonderful voice. But there again, we fail because there is no time, the kids need us, the job is overwhelming, the bills are too much, the world is caving in on top of us.
Sounds to me like we will never be able to get into that elite corps. Does that sound about right to you too? Ah but that is why God tells us that we can't be perfect by ourselves. We have to depend on Him to run our lives. Isn't that really the way an army works anyway? The troops go into the army as enlisted personel, listening to the officers and trained men and women who know more than we do about how to fight. We are taught the basics and then sent on to get specialized training as we grow in what we have been taught. We do not become elite troops overnight and we don't become that before the Commander tells us that we are qualified. But isn't that great too? It means that we don't have to make decisions based on things we know nothing about. We simply listen to our officers and do what is expected of us. Now that's how the army really works.
Perhaps it is now time to do a reevaluation of how we are doing in the army, if we are actually in it in the first place. Did you enlist? Yes, if you have asked Jesus into your heart, you became a member of God's army, infantry division. Scary, huh? Well, maybe but God has in mind to train you up in the way you should go. When you pass basic training, you can go into the job best suited for you. God has hand picked you for a job that no one else will be as good at doing as you are. Just think of that! It is time to Be All That You Can Be!