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The Myth of Civilian Life

Sunday, thanks to the gifted students from Campbellsville University, I got to sit back, by-and-large, and enjoy a service as an average church member. Those moments are few and far between for a minister, and it's always great to hear someone else's voice from the pulpit! In those rare times, I joke I've returned to "civilian life"; I temporarily take off the pastoral uniform and let others carry on for me.

There's a problem with my analogy, though: no church member, no Christian, is ever just a "civilian." When we speak of the Church, we speak of her in two divisions. First is the Church Triumphant, the Church at Rest, that body of believers who have already died and entered the joy of their Master. Second is the Church Militant, everyone still on earth fighting the good fight. All of us who are born again are enlisted in the Church Militant. We're those Christian soldiers marching as to war, laboring and fighting in this world to see souls brought into salvation through Jesus Christ. Some may not like the military imagery, but consider this from 2 Timothy 2:3-4: "Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer."

We're soldiers, brothers and sisters. We gave up civilian life at our baptism. Now we serve as good soldiers seeking to please God, our commanding officer. That means a life of service to Him: loving our neighbors, sharing the gospel, worshiping together, and obeying His commands. Our discharge papers only come when we join the Church Triumphant in eternity. So stop acting like a civilian. Fight the good fight, Christian soldiers.

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