The Marine Corps taught me that the individual matters — he matters a great deal. Marines will risk their lives to recover another Marine — even if he is already dead. We never leave a brother behind. Yet, as important as the individual Marine may be, there are two things even more important than that Marine: the mission, and the Marine Corps. Believe it or not, this has taught me much more about the Kingdom of God than I have ever learned from a Bible teacher or a Pastor. I’ll explain…As a believer, I see myself the same way I did when I was a Marine — as an individual. I also saw my fellow Marines as individuals. We were all important. Individually, we may each have had lesser or greater roles to play within the Corps, but no one Marine was valued more or less than another. We looked out for each other, and we would risk our lives for each other — even if it was just to recover the body of a dead Marine. In this way, we knew we mattered: both to the Marine Corps, and also to each other. As a believer, I know that I am valued as an individual. I know this for the same reasons I knew it when I was a Marine. I know I am precious because my Commander tells me I am. In fact, I am so precious to Him that He actually gave His life so that I might be saved.
When I was a Marine, I was part of a larger organization known as the Marine Corps. The Corps has a reputation, and every Marine works hard to uphold its honor. We are proud of our history, and we place the good of the Corps before ourselves. Now, as a believer, I am still a part of a larger body. It’s called, ‘The Body of Christ.’ Just as the Corps was greater than I was, the Body of Christ is also greater than I am. Therefore, I have a duty to protect the Body by bringing honor and glory to its Head, and to never discredit or shame Him or His People.
As a Marine, I was given assignments. We called them missions, and the mission was the primary purpose for our existence. Whether we lived or died was of less importance than accomplishing our mission. The survival and reputation of the Marine Corps depended upon us doing just that: accomplishing the mission at any cost to ourselves. So, naturally, a willingness to sacrifice ourselves if and when it became necessary to accomplish our mission was expected from every Marine. Here again, as a believer, I have a mission. This mission is to spread the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, and to make disciples of the nations — even if it costs me my life in the process. I may be important, but, if the Body is to survive and grow, I must be willing to sacrifice myself in pursuit of my mission.
BUT HERE IS WHERE THE KINGDOM AND THE CORPS PART WAYS
As a Marine, my job required me to kill and destroy, but, as a disciple of Christ, I am commanded to heal, edify, lift up and seek peace. I’m even commanded to care for my enemies. The two could not be more different. Now, please, you must understand that Christ does not call us to be weak pacifists. On the contrary. Only the truly strong can fully obey His example. It takes a very, very brave man in deed to walk into a church, point a finger at the congregation and tell them they are following their own itching ears rather than the commands of the Master — and it takes an even braver man to stand his ground after having done so. Yes, this is exactly what our Master did when He confronted the Pharisees. So, no, believers are not called to wage war with the sword, but neither are we called to be timid and weak, or to lay down when faced with lawlessness. No! A believer is called to stand in the breach between righteousness and lawlessness wherever and whenever he or she sees it, and to cry out in support of YHWH’s Law! Cry out:
“HERE I STAND, AND I WILL NOT MOVE!”
NOTE: As I write this, the world is gripped in the fear of the COVID-19 virus. I understand the lost being fearful, but I do not understand those who call themselves by the Lord’s name being afraid. Yet, not only have I seen believers cowering in fear, but I have seen them invoking the Lord’s Word to justify it. Scripture teaches us not to worry, for worry cannot and will not extend our time by a single day (Luke 12:25-31). As a disciple of Y’Shuah, you are commanded to tend to the sick. You cannot do that if you cower in your home, looking to government (a.k.a the Beast) for protection rather than Messiah. So, take a lesson from the early Church and, unless you are sick or have symptoms, keep about your mission of spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. And, as the man said, if necessary — use words to do so!
This post was in the forefront of my mind when I wrote “COVID-19, Minefields and Donkeys.” The two sort of support each other, so, if you haven’t already done so, you might want to consider giving this other post a read.