Thursday, July 1, 2010

There is no doubt that those who have served in the armed forces have courage, and the willingness to sacrifice. Courage and sacrifice are noble traits, and are certainly necessary to win a war. However, these two traits left to themselves can become very dangerous. If we have only courage and sacrifice, than we fall dangerously short of God’s desire. We see evil rear its ugly head using courage and sacrifice. Muslim extremists preach courage and sacrifice as they charge into crowds and buildings as suicide bombers. It is also evident that Nazi soldiers were led into battle under the disciplined practice of courage and sacrifice. For courage and sacrifice to have any positive impact we must first ask, why, or for what purpose are we displaying these two character traits?

Courage and sacrifice has been used to defend a people group. When the Jews defended themselves from the Amalekites they used both courage and sacrifice (Exodus 17:8-16). However using courage and sacrifice for a people group is not sufficient enough of a reason. Again Hitler and his Nazi regime used courage and sacrifice to defend the Aryan cause. Courage and sacrifice cannot be good if simply used for country, because we have seen many countries do horrible evils under such guise. We cannot even say that courage and sacrifice ought to be used for religion alone because Christianity, Islam, the Caste System, and almost every religion have used these to instigate unspeakable violence against other peoples.

Courage and sacrifice are only noble when used for God under the ambition of love. To use courage and sacrifice for any other purpose is to pervert these great qualities that God has given us through his Spirit. Courage and sacrifice that is not directed towards giving God glory falls utterly short of the purpose of these qualities, and leads us into the danger of using them for sin. Let us then have courage as scripture commands us:

I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death (Philippians 1:20).

Let us no longer be afraid to share the love of God and his message of his Son who was sacrificed on the cross. Like Peter in Acts, let us boldly proclaim Jesus and his message of salvation. Let us be willing to endure great sacrifice as our Lord and Savior sacrificed his own body for us:

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers – 1 John 3:16

Let us be willing to suffer for Christ and even lay down our life for him. Let us practice courage and sacrifice not with sword but with the power of the gospel. Let us offer our courage, let us offer ourselves, for God and God alone. Anything less would be falling into the hands of the evil one.

He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. – Isaiah 2:4