Serving in a Foreign Land (Part III)

Serving in a Foreign Land (Part III)

As I have written I the previously in this blog, there are many lessons that can be learned from Serving in a Foreign Land. In Part I, I wrote about the dangers of becoming apathetic in faith and evangelism as depicted from the many decorative churches that mark the European continent. In Part II, I wrote about the aspects of eventually going home, equating this experience with the spiritual idea of wandering from God and returning to Him through confession and repentance. The second aspect of returning home is the idea that one day we will arrive at our true home, one prepared for us by Christ, the eternal city of God. Serving in a Foreign Land.

My first tour in Germany brought another aspect of Serving in a Foreign Land into view. It was my first duty station, and it included a real-world mission. The unit that I was in was responsible for patrolling the West German and Czechoslovakian border, during the latter days of Cold War (1984-85). Although preparing for combat in times of peace is a real-world mission; the added responsibility of patrolling the border, brought in another element of excitement and responsibility. Instead of training and preparing for something that may or may not take place, being on patrol brought in real-time intelligence for what was occurring at the border.

One of the difficulties in maintaining a peacetime Army is keeping a fighting spirit instilled in the forces. Now, I am not saying that the units I served in were not prepared or motivated, for they were. I am simply stating the obvious; there are times when even training can become mundane or seem to be checking the block. Even soldiers can get to the point where they question whether or not what they are doing matters. This is less likely to happen when engaged in a mission that reaps definitive result, instead of a rating on one’s combat readiness or good bullet comments on an After-Action Review (AAR).

Now, here is my point in this lesson learned and its tie to our spiritual health. Many Christians live as if they are in peace time and that there is no real-world mission taking place. Complacency can set in, and our hearts and minds are left with limited protection against satanic assaults. The Apostle Paul offers this reminder to all who call upon the name of Jesus; “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Satan is real and he is alive. Although he is not well, he is dangerous. In and of ourselves, we cannot stand strong against him. However, God did not leave us alone or unprotected. We are commanded to put on God’s armor, “that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day…” This armor includes “the belt of truth…the breastplate of righteousness…your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace…the shield of faith…the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Read Eph. 6:10-20). With God’s Armor in Place, His Spirit within, and His Son above, we are well protected against the “fiery darts of the wicked.” This does not mean that evil or hardships will not come, but it does mean that we will overcome. Be prepared for battle and put on the Armor of God.   

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