Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Am I a Soldier of the Cross?

Whenever I read the last part of 2 Corinthians 11 and am reminded of the sufferings endured by the Apostle Paul for daring to proclaim the meaning of the cross of Jesus Christ, I am convicted again of that sin which is probably very near the heart of the general lameness that often plagues the life of the American church in our generation... and that is an idolatry of my personal comfort and an overall sense of entitlement.

This is "Generation ME," after all.  And the defining characteristic of Generation ME is an obsession with ourselves, our personal comfort, and a strong sense of entitlement to things we've never earned.

I'm tempted to list examples and illustrations, but just take a glance at your favorite news outlet.

But rather than take a stick to the culture of a whole generation, let's dare to look within.

"Am I a soldier of the cross,"as Isaac Watts once wrote?  Or am I just one more comfort-worshipper?  What have I voluntarily done recently that was more motivated by the fact that Christ is risen from the dead than by personal advantage?

Which do we love more -- the Savior?  Or the expectation of an easy, comfortable, non-taxing life that affords us plenty of rest, recreation, distractions, and amusements -- with an absolute minimum of responsibility or sacrifice?

Have we ever been bruised or broken on the battlefield?

Have we ever forsaken safety for following Christ?

Have we ever faced risk and loss for his Name?

Have we ever had to pray for courage?

Have we?

Am I a soldier of the cross,
A follower of the Lamb,
And shall I fear to own His cause,
Or blush to speak His Name?

Must I be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed through bloody seas?

Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
To help me on to God?

Sure I must fight if I would reign;
Increase my courage, Lord.
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy Word.

Thy saints in all this glorious war
Shall conquer, though they die;
They see the triumph from afar,
By faith’s discerning eye.

When that illustrious day shall rise,
And all Thy armies shine
In robes of victory through the skies,
The glory shall be Thine.

~Isaac Watts~

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