The Bible records many wars, which show that victory or defeat depends upon God; people won when God was with them, but they lost when He was not. This tells us what attitude of faith is required of us in a spiritual war.
God has called us to be gospel soldiers. Now, let’s think of the mental attitude and preparation required of gospel soldiers, so we can arm ourselves as competent soldiers of God.
The history of Gideon shows us how God selected His soldiers. God called Gideon to free Israel from the oppression of the Midianites, and summoned soldiers. At that time 32,000 men volunteered to go to fight, but only 300 were selected to go.
… The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her, announce now to the people, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained. But the LORD said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will sift them for you there… .” Three hundred men lapped with their hands to their mouths. All the rest got down on their knees to drink. The LORD said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place.” … Jdg 7:1-8
At that time the Midianites had 135,000 soldiers (Jdg 8:10). They seemed as numerous as swarms of locusts and their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore (Jdg 7:12). Even before God decreased Israel’s army of 32,000 men, they would have been greatly outnumbered.
However, God sent home 22,000 men who trembled with fear, in order that Israel might not boast against Him that her own strength saved her. Through the seemingly impossible situation for men, God wanted them to realize that victory depended on the power of God, not on men’s strategy or valor.
He who boasted, saying, “I did it myself,” and he who trembled with fear―both were not worthy in God’s sight. They had no faith in God; they did not trust in God, who controls and leads every work, but depended on their own strength rather than God’s power. So they were not competent to be God’s soldiers.
When only 10,000 remained, God said, “The people are still too many,” and tested them. He selected only 300 men who did not get down on their knees to drink water.
When God selected His soldiers, He first saw their mental attitude, and then their posture. Those who were boastful, those who trembled with fear, and those who knelt down―they were all sent back home. God selected only 300 men who would not kneel down, and with them He delivered Israel from the hand of Midian.
The victory was already won as God was with them. 300 soldiers just blew the trumpets, grasping the torches, as God had told them to do. The enemies destroyed themselves, turning their swords against one another (Jdg 7:9-22).
Considering God’s standard for selecting Gideon’s warriors, we can see what is required of us in order to be God-pleasing soldiers for the gospel. What God wanted from His soldiers was not military skills and knowledge, but the faith depending only on God and giving glory to Him and the attitude unyielding under any circumstances.
We are to have the same attitude. We’ve been called to be gospel soldiers, following Christ in faith. Those who are actively involved in missions, either in the front line or as supporters, those who participate in the gospel through prayer, … All who labor in the gospel with a desire to advance it are gospel soldiers.
They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings―and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers. Rev 17:14
God’s called, chosen and faithful followers! They are gospel soldiers whose victory is guaranteed. In the process of fighting, however, they are to suffer hardship. When they endure it, they will receive the crown of righteousness, as faithful soldiers of the gospel.
Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs―he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules… 2 Ti 2:3-9
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season … But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry … I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day … 2 Ti 4:2-8
A good soldier of Christ suffers with Him; he does not forsake the gospel by entangling himself in the affairs of everyday life; he never surrenders under any circumstances. He overcomes all difficulties, thinking how he can win the spiritual battle and give more glory to God who has called him to be His soldier.
To be good soldiers of Christ, we are to endure hardships. It is essential for gospel soldiers to have an unyielding attitude with strong faith in the face of all hardships.
We are now in a spiritual battle against the forces of Satan. The Bible shows Satan being enraged and waging war against the saints, as the Apostle John wrote:
Then the dragon [Satan] was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring―those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea. Rev 12:17
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Eph 6:10-12
Gospel soldiers, called by God, are participating in the great spiritual war which began in heaven and will end on earth. The Bible prophesies that Satan will rule over people as numerous as the sand on the seashore and wage war against the saints who obey God’s commandments and keep their faith in God. They greatly outnumber us. However, nothing can hinder God from saving, whether by many or by few.
David overcame Goliath when all the soldiers of Israel trembled in fear, because he depended entirely on the LORD God Almighty (1 Sa 17:45). God wants brave warriors with such strong faith.
Gideon’s 300 warriors were not bewildered even before their enemies like swarms of locusts. They strongly believed that God was with them, and they did not surrender under any circumstances. Like them we are to depend entirely on God and give glory only to Him, standing firm and unyielding to our enemies under whatever circumstances.
God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah―how he appealed to God against Israel: “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”? And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. Ro 11:2-5
The remnant, whom God has chosen by grace, are those who have not bowed the knee to Baal. We should not cowardly compromise with the world or surrender under any circumstances, but overcome everything with faith. As God’s warriors, we should do what pleases God, looking only to Him until the end.
Our enemies are Satan and evil spirits under his control. To resist our invisible enemies, we should be always self-controled and alert spiritually.
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Pe 5:8-9
“Know your enemy and know yourself.” Like this word, we are to always keep alert and watch the movements of the devil, looking inside ourselves. We need to first examine ourselves whether we are fully armed as gospel soldiers. No soldier goes out to battle without armor or weapons. He goes to war, wearing “full body armor” from head to toe. God has commanded gospel soldiers to put on the full armor of God.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints… Eph 6:13-20
The Bible tells us to wear the belt of truth around our waist, put on the breastplate of righteousness, and have our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. And it also tells us to take the helmet of salvation so that we can always focus our minds on salvation, and to take up the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
As spiritual soldiers, we must arm ourselves with all these things. Among them, the sword of the word is a weapon for attacking enemies, while others are defensive equipments for the safety of our own souls. We can defend ourselves against the flaming arrows of the devil by using the shield of faith, defeating him by wielding the sharpened sword of the word.
Unless we continually use the sword of the word, we may be fatally wounded by the evil flaming arrows of the devil, who has the power of death and the gates of Hades. He is the killer of souls; he is trying to destroy as many souls as possible, using all kinds of schemes and lies―his main weapon. There is an old saying that goes, “The best defense is a good offense.” To resist and defeat the devil, we should first use the sword of the word. The word of God is living and active: It is a very powerful weapon; sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow (Heb 4:12). Victory can be ours when we wield the sword of the word. God came to this earth in order to give us the sword of the word of life, which has the power to destroy sin and death.
Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.” Jn 6:53-55
Our mission as gospel soldiers is to save the souls of people by letting them eat Christ’s flesh and drink His blood. When we wield the sword of the word given by God, the devil retreats and the souls captive to him are freed and come to life. The more we preach the new covenant of life, the weaker the devil’s power becomes. All peoples are now coming into the way to eternal life. This is proof that the destruction of Satan’s power draws nearer.
We should go to all people in the world and lead them into the way of life by preaching the truth of life to them. When preaching the gospel, we must not fear or depend on our own strength and wisdom. Salvation is God’s gift to us, given by His grace (Eph 2:8-9). Just as Gideon’s warriors won the battle by following God’s strategy, so can we, by the power of God that helps us, win the spiritual war.
One soul can be saved at the end of the great spiritual struggle. Therefore, we should first ask God, and then use our God-given wisdom and knowledge, adding love and sacrifice. That’s why Apostle Paul compares the pain we go through in saving one soul to the “pain of childbirth.”
The devil slanders the truth, using all kinds of evil villainous devices and lies, so that he may not lose the spiritual war. The more obstacles the devil creates to distract people from hearing God’s voice, the louder we should shout. Let our lost brothers and sisters hear the voices of our Heavenly Father and Mother and come to Them! When we take away the shroud of Satan that blinds people’s souls and lead them by the words of life, we, as gospel soldiers, can become winners.
God promised the crown of life to those who overcome all of Satan’s temptations and hindrances, completely relying on Him in every thought and under all circumstances, advancing towards the kingdom of heaven.
With the same faith that Gideon’s warriors had, let’s depend only on our Father and Mother and advance toward the goal, not surrendering ourselves to the world. The labor is short, and the reward is infinite glory. Let’s never give up hope for heaven. As gospel soldiers, let us trust in the names of our Heavenly Father and Mother and always give glory to Them. Then victory shall be ours.