In the physical military (armed forces) in times past, it was usually the males who were drafted, recruited, or who volunteered to fight in wars. The women were to stay home and “keep the home fires burning,” so to speak. However, while most of us ladies (being the gentle souls that we are) cannot even imagine ourselves in full battle gear on the front lines fighting in wars in mortal combat, it has become more popular and appealing to some women outside of the Church to be in full service in the military. Some are even deployed to dangerous war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
So, with that introduction in mind, let us compare two types of soldiers—the military soldier and the Christian soldier—and learn what we can as women. We’ll find that the spiritual role that the Christian soldier represents involves much more ongoing responsibility and is far more future-oriented.
Both types of soldiers have two main areas of common ground, but with crucial differences in purpose.
1) They both must go through a certain period of basic training.
Both soldiers are taught by seasoned officers, who have been through this training themselves and are very capable of teaching them to be fit soldiers, ready for service.
As we know, the basic training of a military soldier (male or female) consists of marching drills, long hikes in full military gear, fording streams and rivers with weapons held high, trench-digging, military maneuvers, vigorous exercise, mental conditioning and much, much more. At the completion of this training, it is evident to all that a definite change has taken place and that the soldier is qualified for the tasks ahead.
The Christian soldiers’ basic training is taught by God’s true ministers. They teach us how to live by God’s word—His law, with all of its precepts, concepts, and principles—as well as how to overcome our enemies—the Satanic evil forces of this world and our own human natures. They begin with the milk of the word. “For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:13–14). And as we grow toward maturity, we are taking on the mind of Christ. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). By taking on the mind of Christ, we learn to do the Father’s will. “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8). As women who are Christian soldiers, we are learning a new way of life—thus becoming a new creation, a different individual being trained to be fit for service in God’s elite army of firstfruits. It should be evident to all that a definite change is taking place, as we who have God’s Spirit increasingly bear its fruit.
It is incumbent upon us as women Christian soldiers to always follow the example of those who teach and train us. “Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct” (Hebrews 13:7).
2) Both types of soldiers must stay the course.
There are certain term limits that a military soldier may choose, but to be a Christian soldier is a lifetime commitment. During the terms of service, etc., military and Christian soldiers will find it necessary to make difficult decisions for purposes of bringing about the right results. These may include standing fast, moving forward in the right direction, overcoming doubts and fears, or enduring hardship in order to stay the course. Making the right decisions leads to success—which, of course, we all desire.
For an example, consider a lesson from the past. In Judges 4:1–3 we read, “When Ehud was dead, the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who dwelt in Harosheth Hagoyim. And the children of Israel cried out to the Lord; for Jabin had nine hundred chariots of iron, and for twenty years he had harshly oppressed the children of Israel.”
The account continues: “Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time. And she would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim. And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. Then she sent and called for Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, ‘Has not the Lord God of Israel commanded, “Go and deploy troops at Mount Tabor; take with you ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and of the sons of Zebulun; and against you I will deploy Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude at the River Kishon; and I will deliver him into your hand”?’ And Barak said to her, ‘If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go!’” (vv. 4–8).
Then Deborah stood fast and spoke firmly, yet in a chiding manner to Barak, as any loving mother would to her own son whom she wants to see succeed in God’s will and way of life. “So she said, ‘I will surely go with you; nevertheless there will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.’ Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh” (Judges 4:9).
After both armies had gathered together for battle—Sisera and his troops at the River Kishon, and Barak and his troops at Mount Tabor—Deborah again stood fast and urged and encouraged Barak to do God’s will, for the battle was his to win. “Then Deborah said to Barak, ‘Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not the Lord gone out before you?’ So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him” (Judges 4:14).
Then, with God’s power, guidance and direction, they were victorious in their pursuits, and eventually, with Israel growing stronger and stronger, they completely destroyed Jabin, king of Canaan, and the land had peace. Both Deborah and Barak received honor and gave God the credit for the victory in the “Song of Deborah,” singing joyously of their exploits. Barak is also honored by being mentioned in Hebrews 11:32, along with the other renowned men and women of faith.
Deborah the prophetess was not only used by God as a wise and kind judge but as a helper of Barak’s faith, and she was instrumental in the deliverance of Israel from the oppression of King Jabin of Canaan. “Village life ceased, it ceased in Israel, until I, Deborah, arose, arose a mother in Israel” (Judges 5:7). Apparently, Deborah was a very strong mother figure to Israel as well.
So by inculcating these two ideas in our endeavors as Christian soldiers—going through basic training and staying the course—we will move forward, ever closer to our goal of God’s Kingdom and His righteousness.
The Blessing of Putting Your Family First
Another example which I would like to relate actually had its beginning in the early 1970s. A young couple who attended Ambassador College—she from America, he from a neighboring country—were married shortly thereafter and moved to his home country to start their new life together. The husband obtained a high-salaried corporate job there and the wife also worked in the business sector for a while. Then, when she was expecting their first child, she chose to be a full-time homemaker and stay-at-home mom. In the area where they lived, the people were very steeped in the concept that women should be out in the workforce, whether it was necessary or not. That false idea seemed ingrained in their minds, and the wife was amazed by the negative reaction she received from her co-workers, neighbors, some relatives and friends (the ridicule, barbs, insults and slurs). It was overwhelming at first. However, she relied on God and stood fast, holding her ground, not giving in to the pressure because she knew that her choice was the right thing for her to do. She explained to them that she believed it would be counterproductive for her to attempt to accomplish both because one role or the other—full-time employee or mother—would suffer an injustice, and that her family was more important to her than a job. Then they were more accepting toward her decision.
This family was tremendously blessed over the years in many areas of their lives as they served God and were a fine example to everyone. The story continues with more blessings and joyous occasions. After this lady’s children were grown and gone from the home, she enrolled in nursing school and received a degree as a registered nurse. Nurses were in such high demand at that time that she was allowed to schedule her own hours for work and still have time for Church service, family and friends.
Her family was so very proud of her accomplishments over the years. “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her” (Proverbs 31:28).
No amount of money or job position can buy the joy and satisfaction that comes with embracing the type of love and giving of yourself to others that she chose, as we have the opportunity to do so. The lady and her husband are now retired, but are still productive.
As we continue in our journey as Christian soldiers, let us seek God’s will every day by putting our basic training into action and by continuing to stay the course on into God’s Kingdom, while growing in the righteous character of God.