In peacetime, venturing along the many branches of political idealism, the necessity to chose the proper route, or even the consideration of a table guest, deciding with whom one might recline to break a piece of bread, lend’s less of a stressor in peace time, then one might find during war. In time’s of conflict, a more solidarity ideology must be observed, as to grant directed unaltered and straight line’s of action, soldier’s can hardly be asked to risk life and limb, if the cause and belief’s are as scattered as leaves blowing in a whirling dervish.
In day’s not long past, a child of God with particular belief’s, those possessing virtue’s that had a resemblance of a moral institution, taken by most to have one’s particular behavioral obligation’s, could in instance find himself, for whatever prompting imperativeness, stepping back and forth across the divide of an ever widening chasm, ever trying to continue to keep one of each of his ill-granted feet planted in the soil of the respected yard’s. This, in no way would ever have much effect on the environment around him, or the ultimate destination one might find one’s somewhat dense head, and said pillow one could rest it upon, or so one might think, other then the inconvenience of widening the ever strained gap between his now pondering feet.
This fence hopping, has the unfortunate and most uncomfortable result off leaving “One’s private part’s” dangling over the unforgiving rigid barb’s of the spikes lining the top of some fences, those cold cruel teeth ever poised to snatch destiny away from an unsuspecting fence hopper. Any wrong move, and the ability to have children, this foolish child’s very future, his destiny could be called into account, leaving our perpetual fence hurdler with the uncomfortable result of becoming eviscerated in many ways, a eunuch of sort’s.
Two choices present themselves; either don’t do the mad bunny leap, or don’t make any mistakes, thus the common denominator; “don’t”, why?, not because it is being denied a child by some cruel Father somewhere saying “a person can’t do something fun”, no, He is merely saying “don’t do something bad for you”!
Let us examine for but a moment today, such a fence jumper. The child could be most of us, any of us, all of us, any denomination, any color skin, any sex, any rank of officer, all of us, well at least once in our short lives. Finding our not so rigid believer falling into a snare of action’s even if by association, often initially prompted by the need to be accepted, even loved, will prompt our young mark to go places, do thing’s, even compromise certain core belief’s, all in the hope of acceptance, adaptation, and even belonging.
We could call him/her anything; Peter, Max, John Doe, Esther, Samson, but for the simpler case of this simple text Mark will do.
A few assumption’s should be stapled on his forehead first, just to make it clear who he was, going into the foray;
Christian self proclaimed, at least to himself in young mind, maybe on occasion even admitted to other’s, well at least in mostly a calm and nonthreatening environment of other’s with likewise encouragement. Such a dramatic and bold proclamation could hardly hold up the litmus test of non-believing friends, coworker’s, the casual more assertive person on the street, or perhaps those he might look up to, respect. These particular fellow’s he might make very few references to his enormous faith, leaving it to the better discretion’s of their individual observation skill’s. Who, only but maybe a few, even knew of his precious gem buried in it’s jar safely covered in the dirt and dust of the back yard?
Mark is a man who has walked and talked to God most of his life, even when those conversation’s became few and far between. How easy it was, and oh so convenient, to walk away from such conversation’s, when the subject matter was not exactly something our young recruit would want to be seen by eye’s, or ear’s, of anyone peaking in through crack’s in the curtain’s of the dark room he had retreated to. It became a habit to turn the light’s off, as to maybe reduce the chance to be seen, even by the one who see’s and know’s all, and is standing right there.
Somewhere along the journey, He was a man, a child of the Living God, who saw a kingdom, one not of the Kingdom of The Lord of Lord’s, but one of the kingdom of man. For he knew, he always wanted to make but a piece of it, even but a taste, a touch, a bit of it, his own. It is a foreign land, yet one that reached seducing hand’s out to him, drawing him in, and how sweet the siren’s call to our young romantic’s heart. Note, Mark needed to come into “their” world, infrequently was a step made in the other direction, and if it was, but a few promising step’s maybe, then oh, how quickly they reverse vector, heading back the original direction.
Pacifying accompaniment, first with but gesture, and subtle touch, later meander’s down path’s that have diverged far from the faces of any that sit to observe, surprise is no less obvious as to how far a person is willing to step, just to get the thing’s they wish in this life. The shock is barely, yet clearly seen on the faces of his children, as he can hardly keep his eye off the flesh covered ball!
Matter little the shape, size, taste, touch, golden hue, condition of skin, of the thing, the bauble, that dangle’s from the hook that draw’s us, it is but a thing! Once we take our eye off the goal, the destiny He would have us, the path, and follow said golden calf, wilderness is sure to wait. Yes salvation is not at jeopardy, well hope not!
Here is the young lad, and yes, while the Mark has suffered, pain’s of unbelievable severity, almost enough to break him, never quite beyond what he could bare, some lingering for time seemingly without end, a blink of time. Why should he not have a good thing, for does it not say in Matthew 7:11; “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gift’s to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them who ask.” And he is a son, he has asked, and what he want’s is a good thing.. Logical!
I guess in his case, it is a point when he actually begin’s to adapt, or compromise, to get the thing’s he has observed as good, thing’s he want’s, that adaptation’s turn into small compromises, which in turn, into repeated action’s of a adjusted walk, until the path’s have ventured so far from each other, the chasm becomes so wide, Evel Knievel couldn’t jump even with a rocket.
Shall we examine such a wandering, and it doesn’t take much recollection, for many are the examples throughout my, I mean Mark’s life trial, error, and re-error, our young child learn’s about as fast as your typical rock.
More then a moon ago, and less then a few, a small child, found himself again on knee’s, asking a Father but mercy and relief from, yet again, another period of loneliness and despair. Then by action’s of his own hand, not willing or maybe able any longer to wait on The Father of Father’s to reward a diligent climb out of yet again another valley, with the promise He had given, oh but a moment ago. Does our foolish young boy, our Mark, take matter’s into his own feeble soft young hand’s, and strive’s forth?
Granted fresh field’s have a glimmer a new! Green grasses, and patches of colored flower’s up until now denied him. Could this be but restoration, a Father answering prayer’s, for surely “He could not, yet again do it to me again”? So our lonely traveler step’s in, garden’s gentle slope leading slightly down to grassy field’s and orchard blossomed brook.
It’s not long, even if immediately, that something different, something short of the promise is felt. But a young child want’s this time so desperately for it to be “The One”, that compromising already begin’s, in his very thoughts, as to the completeness, that a perfect God could grant to someone like him! For surely he couldn’t possibly deserve it, but he hopes from past anguish?
The dream soon takes on but it’s first thin layer of Payne’s grey paint, mixed with but a few pigment’s in the sweetest fragrant olive oil’s, it softly cover’s the other speckled bright color’s of what might have been designed as a tasty treat’s, and solidifies the single step, if but taken in that slight deviation off the tight and narrow. So subtle is the change of direction at first, one would hardly notice the change, but two people, no three, well maybe four all definitely notice; our young traveler, The Father, the children watching in confusion, and the enemy holding the bright red apple.
Their belief’s are not his, this new direction, because if they were, along side they would stride, no need to deviate. Yet their world is one he would love to make his, golden and spectacular as it is to see, a wonderfully adorned sandbox, with much more sand then he was accustom to. It does look good, and feel’s good, so how can it not be good? Maybe it is, just not good for him. Because while things can be created for good, they can also be used for evil.
God give’s us signal’s, almost continually, feeling’s, hunches, look’s, a gentle word here, a sign there, a message that kind of speak’s against where we are at, what we are doing. For the young warrior, choices are direct and daily, it is not a single denial of Christ, but many, long after the point “The cock has crowed!”. Being that, by the time significant reflection is made, often by other’s that ask the simple question; “How do you justify your lifestyle being a Christian?”, the only answer possible, is usually some kind of compromisingly justification, or flat out deflection of accusation, with counter accusation such as “Take the log out of your own eye, before trying to take the splinter out of mine.” At which time the enemy just about fall’s off his own chair in laughter, knowing another Christian has just picked up the weapon, and made an incredible slice into another believer’s, a child’s faith.
Layer upon layer the grey now turned crimson is set down, until like some dusty old Rembrandt sitting on a wall of the Ryke’s Museum, Amsterdam, the color painted scene look’s just like various dark shades of black. Black and Dark!
Our not so rookie warrior, I can say that because if he was a rookie, one could excuse him for flat out stupidity, but he is not, for within him dwell’s the direction his feet lead, and somehow he know’s it is not good. But what to do, he is now so far down the path, he would look foolish to step off now? Can’t have that! I guess just keep asking for forgiveness and march on, praying Jesus will fix it! Stupid buck private!
Remember ahead, and around him, linger’s the golden garden he so wishes to make his own. He is so saddened by the fact, that now his feet seem to wallow through the filth that his temple has had to endure for the sake of fitting in, being a team player, adapting. Speaking of the other’s, to the young one’s that in his mind he almost justified; “I’m going to do this to make them a better place, a complete home”, are the very one’s looking, wondering, confusingly asking what happened to the person of such moral commitment, that only moment’s before a lifestyle such as this, would never have even been considered. Respect blow’s away like the loose leaves of a dead tree. These are the children who pay for parent’s sin, for within this image is their own questioned identity! They could pay with their lives.
Friend’s ask why do you frequent such places, associate with such people, and thought’s of Jesus reclining with tax collector’s and prostitutes come to mind. But late in the eve, he realizes that when the Lord sat and broke bread with sinner’s, he did it not to belong with them, but in an attempt to have them come to Him! Now tear’s run down Mark’s young face, sob drenched pillow wrap’s it cruel arm’s around him yet again, and trapped within the wall’s of this institution, or lack there of, he has managed to walk right back in again, he yet repeatedly beg’s God for deliverance!
He has become a man of “Double Standard’s”;
One being the life, path, way he should be, the one he preaches and teaches to his children, grandchildren, the one he live’s with the light’s on, sitting in the pew on Sunday, singing his praise music in his clearest most beautiful voice. One that should be a daily feast, even in the coldest darkest dungeon, even while being flogged for Him, for where Jesus is also, who would want to be anywhere else.
But then there is the other, the one he has shackled himself to, with his own two hand’s. Bound fast to the physicality’s of this world. Sure he think’s he desire’s it, even deserves it, but it is as it is, with the people he wishes to please, and now he realizes it is now a life he must earn, that cold reality of a life less then the full gift God would have given, is the field Nebakanezar now sleep’s in. That cold factual shadow’s of the lonely alleyway’s constantly whispering through his nightly restlessness, bringing to the realization that if this situation he now lay’s with was from God, there would be no compromise, no deviation, no adapting?
Double standard’s is a perfect word, a God ordained word, for our fool man lift’s the standard of each of the opposing army as he waddle’s along. Would hate to be on the wrong side, carrying the wrong standard, if Jesus was to happen to show up! Kind of, actually might be even worse then bneing caught with your pant’s down, now you have to try to cross the battle field, right in front of the King of King’s. Bummer!
No there would be only the perfect and pure realization of a gift from God, no need to be hidden under a basket, but up on pillar for all to see. A bright burning light, of transparent hall’s, and wall’s, for any and all to look in. For where only Jesus dwell’s, and no dark dirt in the corner’s, who wouldn’t want to draw the shade’s to let all of the light out!!
Hot and cold water, lukewarm, mixing opposite’s, how dangerous is that? It doesn’t take an Einstein to figure out when you put two opposites in one box, downer’s and speed, that it will kill you! Ya, and guess what, right before the game is canceled, there is the habitual bowing down to the porcelain throne; “But since you are lukewarm and not hot or cold, I am going to spit you out of my mouth.” He said that not I.
And then there is the officer thing! Like it or not we are at war! This is the End Time’s War! And any dunce who think’s otherwise, is probably suffering from the same compromising symptom’s as our brother Mark. Either that, or is someone perfectly satisfied with a low rank, or even no rank. Well now, low rank, what could be wrong with that?
Glad you asked!
The difference between an officer and a regular soldier boil’s down to one basic point; when an soldier makes a mistake he get’s dead, when an officer makes a mistake not only can he get dead, but everyone below him, under his command, his responsibility can be at risk as well. With a great calling come’s great responsibility.
And while Mark has yearned for day’s of lying on a beach in the French Riviera, sucking on little drinks with fancy umbrella’s sticking out, mumbling a few worthless phrases of Amero-Frenchi-fry to passing by dark haired beauties, he know’s in his heart, and he has always known it, he is called to something greater!
Like it or not, an officer is what he is, and soldier’s live’s are at stake!
So what to do now? Does he call on God to fix it for him, again?
“And this one comes right from the top!”
“Get up off your butt and get back in the game!”
“Not tomorrow, not next week, not after you get married, not after that court case get’s settled, not with the new office, or lose a few pound’s, or get down to three cigarette’s a day, or after a few thing’s come to play first.”
“No it’s war time!, Now!”
“Soldier, get on your feet!!!!”
“You made your pledge to His army, you swore an oath to Him in your heart, you have given your life to Him!”
“You know it!”
“Time to quit messing around, and get back on the path.”
“Time to stop wallowing in the world, playing both sides of the fence, being a man, a woman, a child of double standard’s!”
“There is no time, to wait! Even tomorrow will make a difference, lives will be lost, lost by your action’s or lack there of!”
“I know it is tough, there is family, friend’s, children, college’s that have become accustom to you acting one way. But trust me if they are from Him, they will come along, if they are not, down their own path they go!”
“The day’s of demonstrating you are a Christian some of the time, and of the world most of the time need’s to stop!”
“It’s time to demonstrate the Face of Christ all of the time!”
“If you go in the bar, go in with the Face of Christ!”
“If you go to the gym, work, the store, to school, jail, the gate’s of hell, go with the Face of Christ!!”
“And because it is from Him, all that comes with it, come along, will be good!”
“How will I know?” our young Mark ask’s in eager nervous reservation.
“You will know, because it is right, and good, and pure, and if it is these then it is of Him!”
“What will I do?” he ask’s again.
“What ever He tell’s you to, and until then stand your post!”
“If you are living part of your life in sin, stop!, The children are watching! Your Christ like action’s will only draw everyone to you God’s intend’s, the rest will flee!”
“Do it with honor, alway’s clearly demonstrating Christ that dwell’s within you.”
“Is that all?” the young commissioned officer asks. “That sound’s kind of simple.”
“It is, because it is!”
“Order’s are order’s,
A Warrior’s calling,
single minded direction,
the mind of Christ,
the heart of Him inside,
the path of straight and narrow,
The courage of a lion,
and gentleness of a lamb,
The obedience of lamb,
and the fierceness of a lion,
Confidence of a General,
the duty of a soldier,
The honor of a son of God,
The son of a Prince,
The Child of God.”
By Peter Colla
“Dear Lord Jesus, Prince of Peace, Lion of Judah, help give me the strength, the courage, to fight for you, in my life, on my path. Help me be a taker of land’s, starting with that narrow path you have destined for me. Give me the wisdom, to lead all those who have been place under my charge. No soldier must be left behind, no lamb lost.”