However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.
When someone asks me about my military career and why it has been great, I have a tendency to mention all of my experiences and what I have accomplished. I talk about my deployments to Afghanistan, the fun Army schools I attended, the different places I have visited, and the weapons and equipment I used. There are times though, when a patriotic song is playing, or I look up and see an American flag waving in the wind, that I truly remember the best part about my military career: that I was simply able to serve my country.
Like many people, I strive to be an achiever, and I have a tendency to measure my progress through achievements. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes achievement is the only way to measure progress. In the Christian life though, we must be cautious.
Serving Christ, serving our church, growing in God, and doing everything we can do to expand Christ’s kingdom are great things we should all aspire to do. Yet we cannot forget the reason that we get to serve God and achieve great things for Him: Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. When we lose sight of this, and think ourselves special for our accomplishments, we begin to serve ourselves and we open our heart’s door to Satan’s temptation.
Remember the words of Ephesians 2:8-9: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” When we focus on our achievements, and do not focus on Him, then our relationship becomes one-sided.
have been able to do great things in the military. I was able to do these things through the military’s training and opportunities. Without being in the military, I would not have accomplished these feats. I have been able to have great victories in Christ, because Christ has saved me. Without Christ, I would have never accomplished those feats for Him. I can’t go to war and wear the uniform if I am not part of the military, and I can’t achieve REAL things for God if my heart and soul aren’t striving to be aligned with His.
Please pray today that you put your focus on God and not yourself. Pray that you will achieve things for Christ’s kingdom, but that you will do so in a humble manner thanking Him that you are saved and able to serve Him.
I will close the devotional with Galatians 2:19-21: “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
Joshua Bixler is a Christian, husband, father, and a Sunday School teacher for 5th grade boys. He is a veteran of two combat deployments to Afghanistan, and loves military history. He and his wife enjoy creating tabletop RPG gaming products.