We have already noted two characteristics of the army of God:
Let us consider two more at this time:
3. This army possesses ONLY ONE WEAPON.
I Timothy 6:12 instructs us to "fight the good fight of faith", but we are only given one weapon to use in this unusual army. But do not fear for that one weapon is plenty. It is "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17). This instrument is sharper than any two-edged sword, and it cuts to the heart (cf. Heb. 4:12). When used properly, it never fails to overcome the opposition. In addition to the sword, the battle-attire of the Christian includes things such as the shield of faith, the breastplate of righteousness, and the helmet of salvation. This is the armor of God, as described in Ephesians 6. These components are for our protection against the "fiery darts of the wicked one." The armor is our defense. But the word of God is our only offense. It is our only weapon to strike with, but it is enough, as II Timothy 3:16,17 explains - "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."
Isn't it a beautiful picture to envision Christians in full-dress for spiritual battle? Don't you know that Satan and his demons tremble when they see a child of God ready for battle, and they are using the sword effectively?! But, unfortunately, too many of us use our weapon like sissies. That's right, we don't know how to handle our swords, sometimes not even on an elementary level. For example, could you tell me all the books of the Bible if I asked? Can you explain the plan of salvation to me and show me Scripture for every point? If you don't know your weapon and are not striving daily to learn it, then you should be embarrassed. If an army is at war, what soldier wouldn't want to be a master with his weapon? A soldier realizes that the more proficient he is with his weapon, the better chance he has of surviving in battle. The same is true of a Christian! No doubt the Lord is dismayed when He sees our unskillful actions, our disinterested passiveness, and our lack of fighting spirit when we come face to face with Satan's devices. Some of us seem almost incapable of righteous anger. This is wrong! We must learn to have an attitude like David in Psalm 119:97-104:
"Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.
You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; For they are ever with me.
I have more understanding than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation.
I understand more than the ancients, Because I keep Your precepts.
I have restrained my feet from every evil way, That I may keep Your word.
I have not departed from Your judgments, For You Yourself have taught me.
How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way."
We must hate every false way! Do you hate sin? Do you condemn it for what it is? Or do you put your sword away and turn your head the other way? We need to know the word for our own spiritual safety, and so we can know what the Lord requires of us as His soldiers.
4. This army gets NO TIME OF LEAVE.
That's right, there is no such thing as a vacation from the Lord. Consider the example of the first century brethren who "continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers" (Acts 2:42). Also, the disciples were in the habit of gathering "daily in the temple" (Acts 5:42). Our Redeemer accepts no excuses. He doesn't issue weekend passes. Soldiers of Christ who purposefully choose not to assemble with other Christians are "absent without leave." And God is the judge who sees and knows everything! There is not even a thought in your mind that is unknown to this heart-searching King. We can never rest on our past accomplishments or take a break from fulfilling the duties of a soldier for Christ. "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord" (I Cor. 15:58). "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart" (Gal. 6:9).
We will continue this study in our next lesson.