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Story: A Mixed-Up Army

Jake had never seen such a mixed-up army before. They were in the middle of a battle, with bullets flying all around. Yet the soldiers all seemed more concerned with what their fellow soldiers thought of them than they did of the war!

“I pressed my uniform this morning,” one was explaining proudly to his fellow soldier. Blood was gushing from a bullet wound in his leg, but the soldier was wearing a brave face. He didn’t want anyone to know he had gotten hurt. He wanted to look like a good soldier.

Another soldier, obviously a seasoned one, responded by sharing in pride about some of the battles he’d lived through and the things he knew. When another soldier joined them and began sharing proudly too, Jake decided he’d had enough.

“This is ridiculous, you guys!” he exclaimed. “We’re all in a battle, not a competition.” Without another word, he tore off his jacket and began using it to bandage the one soldier’s leg.

The other soldiers hung their head as each remembered they’d nothing really to be proud about. Their commander had led them to victory. He’d given them a position to serve and to fight the good fight. It wasn’t about them at all. There was a battle to be fought, not a competition to be won. They slowly turned, shoulder to shoulder, and reengaged in the battle, encouraging and helping their fellow soldiers.

“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” Ephesians 4:11-16

Thought: I Can’t

“God helps those who help themselves”—or so the saying goes. Yet God’s Word tells us God helps the humble (James 4:6), the sick (Mark 2:17), and the meek (Psalm 147:6). God helps those who realize they can’t help themselves.

At the same time, the Bible certainly doesn’t tell us to curl up in defeat or do nothing. We’re urged to seek the Lord (1 Chronicles 16:11), obey His Word (James 1:25, Hebrews 3:15), and repent and believe the gospel (Mark 1:15). We do need to “help ourselves” in the sense of acknowledging our inability, running to the One who can help us, and obeying what He’s told us to do in His Word, knowing that ultimately, we’re helpless without Him.

Do you feel as if you can’t go on? As if your heart is breaking? Are you out of strength? Be honest before God about it—He knows anyway.

And be honest with others too. We all need help fighting this battle called life. It’s warfare, not a competition for the most-put-together-Christian prize. Wars are messy and tough. But our Captain has already won the victory and given us the tools to walk in that victory, such as prayer, praise, and repentance. He is able to do what we are not–don’t let anything keep you from running to Him.

“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” James 4:6

“When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Mark 2:17

“The Lord lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.” Psalm 147:6

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