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Oct13ThuAre you called to be a Salvation Army soldier? October 13, 2016 by Commissioner Susan McMillan
As I sat down to write this article, I Googled the following phrase: “An army needs soldiers.” Of course, it took me to a list of recruitment sites for the British, American and Canadian Armed Forces. But off in the margin, under related searches, I saw “Salvation Army Soldier's Covenant.” That link took me to the most “reliable” of Internet sources, Wikipedia. There, under soldier, Salvation Army, I read this: “Salvationist soldiers are considered by their peers to be covenanted warriors exercising 'holy passion' to win the world for Jesus.”
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- Opinion & Critical Thought
Does our Army need soldiers? Yes. We need as many covenanted warriors as possible to exercise their holy passion to win the world for Jesus. Our mission is grand, our mission field is huge; therefore, our need for workers is enormous.
The Apostle Paul often described followers of Jesus Christ using the imagery of soldiers fighting a spiritual battle. He addressed a letter to Philemon this way: “To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker—also to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier” (Philemon 1:1-2; emphasis mine). Paul clearly sees himself and his collaborators in this role.
He does, however, point out that the battle is a spiritual one: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).
When he advised young Timothy, he told him to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus … join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” Then he went on to explain, “No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer” (2 Timothy 2:1-4; emphasis mine).
In other words, we are called to act like soldiers—sharing with each other and supporting one another through difficult times. Never leave a fellow soldier behind. At the same time, as soldiers, we must be focused on our mission—not expecting personal advantages, but rather being obedient to God, our commander, at all times.
As it does in all conflicts, soldiership has its perils. As you identify yourself with a fighting force, you become a target for the enemy. Again, we look to Paul the Apostle for advice on how to keep safe: “Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes … so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Ephesians 6:11, 13).
When we encourage people to join The Salvation Army, sign the Soldier's Covenant and be obedient to God's direction in their lives, we know that without the protection of the Holy Spirit—the armour of God—they will surely fail. But Scripture also states that, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). It confirms: “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).
The Salvation Army needs soldiers! We have a God-given mission to take the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world and to help those who are hungry, lonely, homeless or otherwise in crisis. I am calling the courageous! Will you join us in this noble quest?
Soldiers of our God, arise!
The day is drawing nearer;
Shake the slumber from your eyes,
The light is growing clearer.
Sit no longer idly by
While the heedless millions die,
Lift the bloodstained banner high
And take the field for Jesus.
—Robert Johnson (SASB 980)
Commissioner Susan McMillan is the territorial commander of the Canada and Bermuda Territory. Follow her at facebook.com/susanmcmillantc and twitter.com/salvationarmytc.
For a video highlighting all the junior and senior soldiers enrolled across the territory in 2015, visit ow.ly/C0MM3032GZ0.