Scripture commands a constant state of battle-readiness, awareness of the priority of the gospel, and a willingness to engage the culture.
Laymen: The Army of God
by Norma Jackson Goldman
The enemy uses circumstances in today’s world to cause believers to feel helpless, unable to stem the tide of unrest, political confrontation, and ever-increasing challenges to Christianity. He also muddles our focus so other issues and pursuits keep us from our real task: winning a lost world to Christ. Happily, this is not the picture the Bible paints of God’s army.
Since our marching orders were first given in the Great Commission, Matthew 28:19, 20 (confirmed in the other three Gospels and Acts 1), Christians have been engaged in sharing the gospel by every means possible. Under His authority, we make disciples among the nations, baptize in His name, teaching them to observe everything He has commanded with the full assurance that He is with us.
Since those marching orders were delivered, the arsenal of weapons with which we wage war has increased tremendously. Barriers to distance have all but dissolved with improvements and speed in methods of travel. Air, ship, automobile, or rail can take us virtually anywhere with relative ease.
Bibles are now available across the globe, with a steadily diminishing number of people groups who do not have Scripture in their own language. Laymen and women are traveling to remote locations in unprecedented numbers to share their faith and to minister to human needs, while technologies like the internet allow us to stay in constant communication with those on the field.
Our most powerful weapons—the written and Living Word, the leadership of God’s Holy Spirit, and prayer—remain our best offense and defense in carrying the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth, starting next-door.
Who Is Called to Go?
Few thoughtful believers would say they haven’t been called, but many of these would admit to some degree of uncertainty about their involvement. All are called, but not all have the same role or the same location. Not all can preach, but all can share a personal testimony. Not all are teachers, but all can impart spiritual truth through daily habits and activities. We cannot always heal the sick, but we can be part of medical mission teams that alleviate physical, mental, and spiritual pain and suffering. We can volunteer by feeding the hungry, conducting vacation Bible schools, providing childcare, coaching teen sports, and ministering to the elderly. We can minister compellingly through music, art, recreation, and skills training.
God’s Special Forces
Retirees have the opportunity to perform short-term assignments, meeting critical needs locally and globally. They have a wealth of experience gained through a lifetime of vocational work that can be tapped in marvelous and fruitful ways in God’s army. Just as our nation calls on Special Forces to fight at a moment’s notice, God’s special forces possess extraordinary skills and weapons to use in presenting the gospel.
Am I a Soldier of the Cross?
Scripture commands a constant state of battle-readiness, awareness of the priority of the gospel, and a willingness to engage the culture. Our focus is not the past, nor the future, but today—on the task at hand in the time He has given us. This means that every activity, every commitment, every organization, or project in our lives must be evaluated and prioritized in the light of His charge to go and spread the good news of Jesus.
The haunting words of the old hymn inspire: “Sure I must fight if I would reign; increase my courage Lord. I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain, supported by Thy Word.”
Laymen: The Army of God ONE
About the Writer: Former magazine editor Norma J. Goldman enjoys a successful freelance career in her retirement. The award-winning writer lives near Nashville, TN. Learn more about retirement options at www.boardofretirement.com.