Living here in the dreamland, the bubble, of the modern day United States, a sprinkling of that diminishing race called Christianity still remains. Though disliked by an ever-increasing percent of the population, these believers in Jesus Christ still enjoy much more peace and freedom than has been typical in history. Largely without persecution, they are mostly dormant, thinking simply of the present or near future, and disregarding their ultimate destination and purpose.
Chief of these, I wandered through life. I loved the Lord and sought him, but as I looked around, an inexpressible void still filled me. It was almost like I could see the sun ready to set over America…the cup of their sins almost filled to the brim. Some of the closing words of the Bible echoed through my mind: “Surely I come quickly.“
But wait. Don’t come back yet, Jesus. I have nothing to give you. What have I to show for my life? Because compared with the time I’ve had to do things, I have done so little. So very, very little.
The coals were cooling on my heart. I was not feeding them sufficient fuel. I needed to start the fire again. What could I use?
And all along, lying by my side, had been the sword. The word of God. I picked it up. I began stirring my embers. I realized that the fuel I needed was there in that book, so I began to read.
And as I read, I began to think. And as I thought I began to learn. And as I learned, I got excited. And I wanted to share that excitement, hoping one or two others, or however many were also willing to stir their embers, could join me.
In the days of the Judges, there lived a man named Gideon, whom God had commanded to fight against the Midianites. When Gideon got ready to fight, he was joined by 32,000 men. Now God knew that if all of these men went up to fight and won then they would think they had saved themselves, so in order to show that it was HIM who fought for them, he set up a couple of tests that these men would have to pass.
The first was very simple. If you’re too scared to fight, then go home. Amazingly, about 70% of the men went home – 22,000 of them. This always made me kinda wonder. I mean, of course they’re scared! But who admits it? Like,
Wife: Hi honey. Home so soon?
Wife: How come???
Husband: Oh, they just let us go home if…if we…don’t want to fight….
Yeah…that’s not embarrassing to your manhood at all….
The second test studied who would make a good soldier…who had a warrior’s mindset based on if he kept alert when he stopped to take a drink. Of the men that were left, 97% failed, leaving only 300 men to fight with Gideon.
Look at this next to the original 32,000. Big difference! In fact, Gideon was left with only 0.94% of what he had originally.
Today, we have a cause to fight for. It is God’s cause. We are supposed to be soldiers in constant action, battling the enemy bravely. The world, the flesh and the devil need to be defeated.
Jesus did not call us to a life of ease and comfort. He said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword” and, “…he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” (Matt 10:34, Luke 22:36) We are told that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
God uses things in our lives to test us and see what kind of warriors we will make.
Are we courageous? 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
Are we alert? 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a
roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”
So… what about me? Do I pass? Will I fail to fight because I’m scared? Or because I do not pass the test?
It’s up to me. It’s up to you, too. We can be part of that 0.94%. But how badly do we want to be?
I am willing to take on the challenge. And today I appeal to every Christian who is willing to stir up their embers and become strong, confident, faithful members of the 0.94% army.