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Wednesday, January 4, 2017 Battle Ready

Battle Ready By Jon Norman

According to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, the United States spends more on military defense than the next seven countries combined. That is one thick safety blanket! However, the fact remains that there are enemies all around the globe who would love nothing more than to see the United States, the greatest nation on the face of the earth, crumble. And so we must stay ahead of the game – we must always be ready for the next battle.

As Christians, myself included, we are quick to make a statement of fear regarding a physical enemy, and at the same time we are slow recognize our one true enemy, Satan. As Veterans, we know what it is to have an enemy – not someone that doesn’t like us, or that person at work that we go out of our way to not be around – I am referring to a physical presence of a flesh and blood enemy that is seeking to kill us. This is a difficult concept to fully comprehend until you hear that first mortar land, or that first IED explode or even that first bullet whiz over your head. 

Liberty University Institute for Military Resilience January 2017 Blog.

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I can remember the moment that I had this realization for the first time. After months of convoys through Mosul, Iraq with absolutely no enemy contact our lead vehicle was struck by an IED. Even at 1,000 meters away in the middle of the convoy I could feel the vibrations of the blast. Our Humvee pulled up next to the lead vehicle so that I could provide medical assistance and we could assess the damage from the blast. Seeing muzzle flashes in the distance, our gunner let loose with three-second-bursts from his 50 caliber machine gun until the enemy neutralized. By the grace of God, no one on our side was mortally wounded, and we all made it home. Looking back, I understand that it was not until that IED detonated that I fully realized that I had an enemy. It was in that moment that I knew that the battle was real, that our training and our preparation had a purpose, and that we were ready for the battle. 

As Christians, we often lose sight of the fact that we too have a real enemy that is seeking to destroy us. Most of us live our lives with a head knowledge of the enemy, but unlike the physical battle, we are slow to see the spiritual enemy that we face when come under attack. When our enemy (Satan) is in the process of destroying our marriage or leading our children astray and sometimes even trying to convince us that we are better off dead, we do not even realize that we have an enemy! We tell ourselves that we need to try harder to be a better father or mother, or we need to go to counseling, but we are slow to realize that the problem is that we have a real enemy that we have not prepared for.

I speak with student veterans every day who are failing to recognize the enemy. So often we think that the Devil’s attack consists of lust, anger and Ten Commandment-like sins, but our enemy is much more intelligent than that. Satan’s tactics are typically much more advanced than a frontal assault. Satan tempts us with laziness, with pride and with self-centeredness. Why does the enemy tempt us with laziness? Because he knows that when we spend more time playing video games and watching TV than we do in God’s Word that we make ourselves even less prepared for his next attack. Why does Satan tempt us with pride? Because he knows that when we are too prideful to seek help or camaraderie we spend more time alone, and we are not able to sharpen iron with iron when we are alone. Why does Satan tempt us with self-centeredness? Because Satan doesn’t want us to be effective soldiers of the cross. When we are focused on ourselves we fail to see that our heavenly Commander-in-Chief has ordained and equipped us for a spiritual and eternal mission – a mission that we are far too often unprepared for.

And so, once we come to the realization that we have a real enemy that uses unconventional tactics we are forced to make the decision of whether or not to go to war. The Liberty University Student Veterans Association has already decided that we are ready to go to war. This semester a group of veterans came together to discuss the Armor of God found in Ephesians 6:10-20. In this passage the Apostle Paul lays out a clear manual for waging spiritual warfare and defending against spiritual attack. We pray for and with each other, and we keep each other accountable. We have accepted that even though we are home from the physical battle we still have a war that wages on. We have decided to meet the enemy head on. We will not let him destroy our families. We will not let him steal our peace and purpose. We will not continue to live life refusing to acknowledge the existence of our enemy.

Our prayer is that you too would join us as we seek to live battle ready. If you would like to partner with the Liberty University Student Veterans Association by starting your own small group that is devoted to joining us in prayer and meditation on Scripture we would love for you to email us at SVA@liberty.edu. I do not believe that there is much that our enemy fears more than an army of warriors who are intent on fighting tooth and nail to expel his lies with truth and his fearmongering with the gospel of peace. There are so many of us who have lived a life of frustration and doubt, not realizing that we were created with a purpose. We are not meant to live in isolation. We were not meant to be demoralized by the world around us, but “in all things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” I hope that you too will put on the whole armor of God, find your purpose in him and live a life of victory over the enemy.  


About the Author:

Jon Norman served in the United States Army Reserves for twelve years, two of which he spent deployed to Iraq. He currently serves as the Supervisor of the Liberty University Veterans Center, where he enjoys working with Liberty University student veterans as they transition from the military to civilian students pursuing their education.


 
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