Just to be clear, if you are in the military and a believer, then this is for you. If you are not in the military, or you were in the military, then please get this to those you know who are in the military. Usually my posts are for civilians and former military, but this time, I’m talking to the church in the military. Thank you!
We must pray more. Without it, our hearts cannot be turned to God and our fellow servicemen and women will not be reached. It’s as simple as that. By praying more, you and I will be more open to what God wants for us and wants us to do. By praying more, we will find that our shipmates will be more open to the Gospel, and that we will be bolder.
We must be bolder. I struggle with this one the most. For some reason, I find myself petrified at the thought of sharing my faith in Christ with someone. I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to do so, and cherish them, because they don’t happen often enough. I would submit that it is likewise true for you if you are honest with yourself.
We must care more for our own. When one of our brothers or sisters is being beaten down, we must rally to his or her side. If they are hurting, we must become the shoulder to cry on. Our greatest witness is how much we love, and that starts with how much we love our fellow believers. Unbelievers are watching us at every turn. Even if they weren’t, shouldn’t you care enough about other believers to come to their aide when they are down?
We must care for others. Unless we do, we will not be bolder. During much of my early career, I was so intent on doing something else that I did not hurt for the unbelieving Sailors around me. I wanted to do this or that for God and missed countless opportunities. If I had just cared more for them at that time, then I would have known what they needed. I know it’s not good to talk about failure, but without addressing it, how can I move on? I am committed to moving forward with what the Lord has given me to reach those around me as best I can.
If you are afraid or upset about any of what I’ve written so far, then you need some serious time with God. All of what I say is wrapped up in Matthew 28:19, 20. It is a direct command from our Lord to reach out and witness to our fellow service members. If you are concerned about it…well, take it up with him. I’ve had to deal with it myself.
Some of you will remain in denial, thinking that faith is supposed to be private. You will pretend, for your own sake; that the words of Christ were somehow not meant for you. They were. If you want to reject them, then do so, but they were definitely meant for you. Faith was never meant to be private. Of course I know that the military has rules on when and how you can share faith, or at least everyone says they do, but the reality is that if you have a relationship with someone, and the opportunity comes up, you can share Jesus. I’ve never seen a sailor get in real trouble for sharing his faith. I’d be interested to learn if it has happened.
If you believe in hell, don’t you want to give your fellow service men and women a chance to avoid it? If you believe in heaven, don’t you want to have them there with you? If you believe in Christ, and believe that he died to give you a better life, wouldn’t you want others to be able to take advantage of that as well?
Brothers and sisters in uniform, we must and can do better. The lives of our shipmates hang in the balance and we are the key, or rather our actions are. Fight on!