Our Battle Cry

"Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ" (2 Timothy 2:3).

"A strange languor seems to have come over us which ill becomes those who are called to be soldiers." Thus wrote a friend to us recently, and we fear that he wrote the truth, not only of those with whom he is familiar, but also of the vast majority of the saints of God. The question is, Is there any remedy, any means by which this languor can be thrown off? In the first case, are we really soldiers? Undoubtedly all who are saved by grace have been called by our Lord so to be. And is the conflict real in which we are called to have part? It is tremendously real, for it is against Satan, the adversary; the powers of darkness, of which he is the leader, and all the wiles and subtleties of which they are the masters. And it is for "the testimony of the Lord;" and for His name and glory, to defeat and tarnish which Satan and the world will use every tactic and weapon that they can invent.

If the opposition were always violently in evidence we might be more on the alert, and less liable to this "strange languor" that so often comes over us, but it is part of Satan's strategy to lure the warriors by love of the world, and to lull them to sleep. And often, also, the length of the conflict or the strength of the foe makes us weary and discouraged, and so the easy prey of this fatal lethargy of soul. Yes, discouragement is one of the chief causes of this languor.

We need arousing every one of us, we need a fresh call to arms. We need to have revived in the consciousness of our souls the greatness of our cause, and the absolute certainty of the success of it; for if we have any doubt as to this we are defeated and driven from the field e'er we have grasped the sword. We need a battle cry that will stir us to a holy and steadfast enthusiasm. It is in this way alone we believe that we shall shake ourselves free of this paralysing languor, and as Holy Ghost-possessed men and women fight the good fight of faith.

Think of that band of disciples whose every hope was buried in the grave of their Lord; how disconsolate they were; how unable to do anything but mourn. How could such unnerved and fearful men as they were be brought to face the foe in stern conflict. It seemed an impossibility. But see them at Pentecost and after; what unconquerable courage, what convincing power they possessed. They were greater, these Galilean fishermen, than the great political and religious leaders of the land who were their first opponents. What was it that had produced so extraordinary a change in them, and that carried them, fearless and joyful, into the conflict? It was one tremendous fact that moved and enthused them, and made them the warriors they were, and that fact was THE RESURRECTION OF THEIR LORD, whom they feared had gone from them for ever. They knew that He had risen up from the grave with a might that was irresistible; they had looked into that grave, the battle-ground where the great foe had bitten the dust; they could say, the Lord is risen indeed; they had looked into His face, and on His hands and His side; and it was this that had transformed them and made them ready to face a hostile world with a glorious testimony. It was this great fact that made the change in them, and if it lays hold upon us rightly and powerfully in its deep significance it will make a change in us also.

We are not forgetting that the Holy Spirit of God had come to abide in them, or that by His power alone they could witness for Christ; this fact is of immense importance, but, mark it well, His power was with them, as the triumph of Christ in resurrection was their theme, for He had come to bear witness to this through them.

Timothy was inclined to grow discouraged, so we judge from Paul's second letter to him; and Paul, who had fought the good fight so long, writes to spur him onward; he hands on to him the glorious standard, and raises afresh the old battle cry of the true witness and soldier: "REMEMBER JESUS CHRIST RAISED FROM THE DEAD according to my gospel." He did not say, "Remember that you are indwelt by the Holy Spirit"; this should never be forgotten, and it is a fact that at times needs special emphasis (see 1 Cor. 6). But here, when it was a question of nerving a feeble arm, and reviving a fainting spirit, and giving a fresh impetus to a languid warrior, it was the resurrection of Jesus Christ that was brought before the soul.

Our Lord is a living Lord. He has said: "Fear not, I am He that lives, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of death and hell." That is the great outstanding fact of our testimony; that is the pledge that His standard, about which we gather if we are His soldiers, shall be carried to ultimate and everlasting triumph; that is it which gives courage to the breast of the fighter, and makes him joyfully endure hardness as a good soldier, for he knows that his living Lord is with him.

A chief of the MacGregor clan fell wounded in a battle. Seeing their leader down, the clan wavered, and gave the foe an advantage. The old chieftain raised himself up, while the blood streamed from his wounds, and cried, "I am not dead, my children; I am looking at you to see you do your duty." This roused them to a new energy, and to a great victory. Our great Leader is looking on, not as weak and wounded, but as the mighty Victor over death, alive for evermore. And He not only looks on His beloved soldiers, but as the Captain of the host He is with them.

"The Lord stood with me," said the aged warrior Paul, when all his comrades had deserted him — the Lord, risen, triumphant, omnipotent — surely none with whom He is shall ever know defeat. And the risen Lord who is with His soldiers is also the base of their supplies, which supplies can never fail or be intercepted by the foe; thence they are exhorted to "cleave to the Lord" and to "be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus."

Let us consider it, "THE LORD IS RISEN INDEED." Let this not be to us merely part of a creed to which we assent, but a mighty force in our souls. Let us seek to labour and to war in that same power by which He rose, confident that this power is available for us in Him by the Holy Ghost; and in the joy and the courage that knowing Him intimately and personally who is thus risen must give. Let us consider this in God's presence, so that the Holy Spirit may make increasing clear to our souls what it means for God and for us, and so that we, like those warriors of old, may be more truly vessels through whom He can bear witness in the world to this great fact. Let us with renewed energy raise afresh the flag — the testimony of our Lord, and shout afresh the battle cry that must inspire the fainting soldier, and rally the weakening ranks. "REMEMBER JESUS CHRIST RAISED FROM THE DEAD."