Have you ever watched the movie Hacksaw Ridge? It is an inspiring, yet harrowing tale of a soldier in the United States Army during World War II.
This soldier was no ordinary soldier however, because he was a staunch pacifist. This soldier refused to carry a weapon and furthermore refused to kill!
This was, and is, an oddity of a tale as this soldier lived out an extremely unpopular attitude toward the sanctity of life.
Influenced by his unusual belief, the soldier saved 75 men’s lives through his undying care for them in their battles. For his efforts on Pacific island of Okinawa, he received the presidential Medal of Honor, the highest honor achievable within the military.
This movie is an absolutely inspiring cinematic work that has received numerous awards from various film festivals and presenters.
What inspires me most however, is that this story is based on a true story, about a real soldier named Corporal Desmond Doss, who saved many men’s lives in a truly dramatic fashion while injuring himself!
I am also inspired by Doss’s bravery. In order for him to be used to his greatest potential, he had to deny orders to kill. He denied these orders and rather focused his efforts on the physical salvation of others.
There is something to be learned from the life of Desmond Doss. Actually, several things can be derived for our Spiritual enrichment.
The first lesson that I would like to note is that the popularity of something does not equal the truth of something.
Poet Criss Jami once wrote, “When you’re the only sane person, you look like the only insane person”.
The older that I get, the more I find truth in this remark.
Looking at modern culture in contrast to Biblical statutes, we can find seemingly innumerable examples of this.
Need a few examples? Try these:
- John 14:6~ “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”.
- This is an easy illustration of unpopular truth, even in Christian circles. Jesus’s life and finished work provides “a” way for us to the Father, because Jesus is “the” way, truth, and life. We cannot buy, work, or hope our way to Christ. “The” truth is, you need to believe.
- John 17:17~ “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth”.
- Once again, we find another easy example of unpopular truth. The Word of God is truth. As Jesus’s time on Earth neared an end, He affirmed this truth. Which truly, goes back to John 14:6 where Jesus claims that He is the truth. This connects because God’s word is truth, Jesus is God, and the Word is God (John 1:1). This makes Jesus, the Word of Truth incarnate (In the flesh) (John 1:14). Despite clear evidence, the World often denies God’s word as truth and many Christians deny God’s word as truth and rather follow doctrines of devils (1 Timothy 4:1).
- Colossians 3:3~ “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God”.
- Another unpopular truth is that when we believe and accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ, our identity is in Him. This is a truth that is often overlooked by secular culture and oftentimes not practically lived in the life of a Christian (Thus being exchanged for a lesser truth, identifying ourselves with our past mistakes and current fears).
The Bible is full of unpopular truths!
Because of this, I want to help point you in the right direction of where we should derive our truth, even at the cost of “going against the grain”.
One perspective that can help us remain centered on truth, is to liken our Christian walk to an enlistment in a very special force.
The Army of God.
The apostle Paul makes this connection in 2 Timothy 2:3-4 when he states,
“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier”.
As a good soldier in Christ, we are instructed to endure hardness (much like any soldier would).
We are also instructed to not entangle ourselves in the affairs of this life. Instead, our intentions and focus should be on what pleases our Commander-in-Chief, God.
In Galatians 1:10 Paul warns against serving the latter option of pleasing man. He writes,
“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ”.
In the military, leaving your post has two categories, something we as good soldiers for Christ must beware: Absence Without Official Leave (AWOL) and desertion.
Do not get consumed with preaching the ever popular truths of the culture over the unpopular truths of the Bible. As Christians, when we do this, are committing to going AWOL. Spiritually, this is leaving the Gospel and doctrine that God has called us to, to please people.
Like the military, there are very serious consequences to going AWOL and or deserting.
God, like the good father and commander He is, will simply leave you to yourself. It is in this position, where people see just how insufficient they are, without the grace of God.
This is a scary place to be spiritually, considering that God and His ways are perfect (Psalm 18:30). This is a truth that no Earthly commander can claim.
When we trust in God and His Holy word (Hebrews 4:12), our Commander-in-Chief, we can not go wrong and furthermore, are safe. As a minister of God, I can assure you that serving men is an avoidable snare and a trap (Proverbs 29:25).
Armor of God
Lastly, some practical advice for you as a good soldier of Christ and standing firm in God’s truth.
In Ephesians 6:10-18, as Paul addresses our standing in Christ, he instructs the Christan to “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might”.
Along with this, he says to put on the “whole armor of God” so that we can stand against the “wiles of the devil”.
Paul goes on to make it clear that the armor that we wear in the Army of God, is for our defense and our offense against Spiritual attacks.
All of the armor listed serves a purpose, from our head (The helmet of salvation v.17) to our feet (Shoes with preparation of the Gospel of peace v.15), for our defense (The shield of faith v.16) and as an offensive charge (Sword of the Spirit v.17).
The component of the armor I would like to focus on, is the action of having your “loins girt about with truth” (v.14).
Girding loins is a practice that would have been very common for soldiers within Paul’s time. It essentially means to hike up your robes, so that they do not restrict your movement. It is a practice that allows for better motion when taking an offensive.
Saying this, I would like to close by encouraging you, the reader, to gird your loins with the truth and knowledge of God’s word so that we can make moves against the evil tactics of our adversary, the Devil.
With God as our Commander-in-Chief, loins girded with His undefiled truth, we are ready to strike down unrighteousness with the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
I hope that this message enriches you and encourages you as a good soldier of Christ Jesus!