Army Life

Part 9

Ring...ring...ring. It's 4:30! I'd better get up or I'll be late for morning prayer. I hope the General is teaching today. What's for provision this morning? I sure do enjoy eating together with everyone else. We have such good fellowship. Let's see, it's my turn to help with cleanup. Praise God! It goes fast when we work as a team. I know I'm looking at a full day of work ahead. We've got so many projects going on around the camp. I hope God blesses those new craft items we're making. Better wake up the kids so they have enough time to eat and get ready for school. The kids are learning a lot more than I ever did.

Thank God it's almost lunch time. I'm hungry, and lunch is my favorite meal. It's so nice to come together and pray for a few minutes before we eat. Time to clean up, rest for a few minutes, and then get back to work. I'd rather be busy than bored. Best of all I know I'm working for God's Kingdom. I've been praying for that new guy. I hope he gets adjusted alright. He seems like a hard worker, but only time will tell. Evening provision was nice and light. We sure have some good cooks around here. What a blessing that God has given us the wisdom to eat healthy. We've hardly been sick this year at all. I can't remember the last time someone had to go to the doctor.

I'm glad the General shared that newsletter about our brothers and sisters in Asia who are under so much persecution. I sure feel a burden to pray for them. Thank God we can send them free literature and Bibles. People think we're sheltered, but we sure have some interesting conversations around the table. I'm amazed how much I enjoy talking with my brothers and sisters in the Lord. Even the kids are fun to talk to. Thank God we don't have a TV! I might be able to finish that tract I've been working on tonight. Oh, here comes one of the sisters. "Sure, I can help with some food prep tonight." Well, that was fun. I've never seen such a nice fruit salad if I do say so myself.

Almost bed time. I'll finish that tract tomorrow. I might have time to read a little before bed. I'm getting sleepy. I wish I could keep my eyes open longer. There are so many good things to read. I'm glad we have lights out at 9:30 or else some of us might be up all night. I need to get some rest because tomorrow we're starting a new construction project. "Lord please bless the night. Keep us safe and covered with your peace. I pray for my brothers and sisters around the world who are suffering for their faith and who are less fortunate than we are. Bless and strengthen them in your mercy. Above all I pray for the many, many souls that are lost in the darkness of sin. I pray that somehow your Spirit will reach them and lead them to Jesus." Better tell my roommates goodnight. Don’t have to worry about loneliness around here. Thank God for a warm bed in a clean house. As I drift off to sleep I'm so thankful for the mercy God has had on my life.

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Of course real life circumstances and situations vary widely, so much so that you could never record them all, yet I wanted to begin this segment with a brief overview of a typical day in the life of an ekklesia. Why? Because in part 9 we are going to look at the ways an ekklesia deals with the necessities of life—ways similar to any army on earth.

ECONOMIC REALITIES AND ADVANTAGES

Admitting that ultimately God is in control of all things, the inescapable fact of life is that everything runs on money. Man is inherently greedy and selfish, and as a result things have developed through the centuries to the point that everything runs on money. Of course as Christians we know that our first and foremost necessity is God. We have to be right with God, living in accordance with His standards, or nothing else matters. Yet, like it or not, we can't escape the fact that it's very hard to live without money. Thank God that He is aware of our dilemma and has the perfect plan to make sure we will always have what we need. We call it Ekklesia Living.

The Spirit-led ekklesia enjoys many economic advantages, and these advantages are based on the foundational principles of self-denial, sacrifice, and sharing. When someone joins the ekklesia their personal resources are added to the community. This is done on a free will basis with the understanding that all other members have done the same. As we pool our resources they seem to grow. The actual resources may even multiply miraculously. Yet beside that, the things which can be done with combined resources is amazing. Together God's people can do things which could never be accomplished by individual effort. This is God’s wisdom in action.

For example, when resources are combined the ekklesia is able to acquire things individual members could never attain. What this means is that the average member is able to enjoy and benefit from things that, when they lived on their own, were economically impossible. This wonderful principle is based on the fact that those who belong to the ekklesia are determined to hold all things common, sharing what they have among themselves. When someone decides to join us and follow this pattern they earn the privilege to enjoy the benefits with the rest of us.

Besides combining material possessions, the ekklesia also accumulates a wide base of personal skill, knowledge, and wisdom. Think of it like a living library where people are the books. Each member has access to this living library from which they can greatly benefit. Of course no library has a book on every subject, yet it’s amazing how much knowledge people gather during their lifetimes. For example: we rely on automotive transportation every day, and when it breaks down it’s a real problem. What do we do? We go to our library and find that several of the members are experienced mechanics. Problem solved. By God's mercy we are up and running again. The examples are endless. The principle is beautiful. The wisdom of God's plan is evident on every hand.

It is amazing how the principle of sharing is so efficient, and the ekklesia takes full advantage of it. Take the average suburbanite for example. Their family of four lives in a house which has to be heated and cooled. They also use an entire array of appliances for daily living like a refrigerator, oven, hot water heater, washing machine, etc. You think, "So what. Everybody does that." True--but have you considered that the same house and the same appliances used for a family of four could easily be used for a much larger group? That’s the difference. Look at it another way. Say a group of forty people was divided up into 10 families of four, each with its own set of appliances. The one set of appliances in the ekklesia does the same work as the ten sets needed by the isolated family groups. This is the efficiency of Ekklesia Living. In terms of money, we only buy one set instead of ten. We save thousands. The wisdom of this principle is easy to understand but hard to put into practice. Why? Because people suffer from the disease of pride and independence--a terrible curse. They are determined to have their own set of everything so no one can tell them what to do. That's the wastefulness the world lives by.

WHY IT WORKS SO WELL

There are many reasons why Ekklesia Living works so well and is so economically efficient. It all goes back to the fact that every true member of the ekklesia must be a disciple of Christ. This also means that they must be a soldier in God's army. These two facts shape the lives of those who live in the ekklesia in very important ways.

First: true disciples of Christ have decided to willing to take up their cross, deny themselves, and follow the Master. In real life this translates into a willingness to sacrifice. Denying ourselves, we put the needs of others above our own and do our best to serve the body of Christ. Ekklesians accept the fact that they don't have to have everything they think they want. At the same time they make sure they thank God for everything He does provide--and He provides abundantly! We adopt the pattern which the Master established. Jesus denied Himself, even to the point of death, so that others could live. As His disciples we are expected to do the same. Our crosses may or may not be bloody, but they are crosses nonetheless. It is the Lord who appoints our trials and tribulations, and He has assured us that He will not put upon us more than we can bear. As we follow His footsteps His mercy strengthens us.

Second: soldiers are part of an army, and as any soldier can tell you, the army regulates the lives of those who belong to it. In real life this means the army regulates the necessities of life. Shelter, food, clothing, material possessions, sleep, and purpose/goals are all regulated by the army. Theoretically, these necessities are meant to be regulated as efficiently as possible. This brings us back to the fact that the army has a definite purpose. All available resources, including the soldiers themselves, must be used to accomplish that purpose. Soldiers don't live for themselves—they live for the army. Although the armies of the world may not evidence this level of commitment or efficiency, in God's army we strive towards this goal. Our leadership prayerfully seeks God in order to determine the most efficient, economical, and effective ways to meet our daily needs. Because the army operates by the chain of command the leadership can implement the plans God gives them. (Let Pastor Nice Guy try this at his church and see how far he gets.) The army strives to be as efficient as possible because it’s determined to win the war.

AN ARMY IS AN ARMY

In part 8 we covered the many mental and spiritual concepts common to both the ekklesia and a regular army. Now it's time to take a closer look at the similarities dealing with the basics of everyday living. How we deal with these necessities of life—things everyone has to have to survive—is where the amazing resemblance between Ekklesia Living and army life comes into view. Again, these necessities are: shelter, food, clothing, material possessions, sleep, and purpose/goals. Limited space allows us only brief coverage of these points. Yet even a surface examination is enough to convince anyone that the ekklesia is an army in the real sense of the word.

Before we start, it’s good to recall the foundational principles that guide the ekklesia. In the book of Acts we read that the apostles and the first disciples were of one mind and one accord. They broke bread together and held all things common (Acts 2:44; 4:32). When everything else is said and done, these are the principles that make Ekklesia Living possible. Usually being of the same mind and sharing your possessions go together quite well. When people are of one mind and one accord, bound together by the Spirit by sacrificial love, it is only natural they should desire to share their possessions, live in close proximity to each other, and spend time enjoying each other's companionship. Whether they are blood relatives or not doesn't matter. True disciples of Christ make up a new family brought together and connected by the blood of Jesus.

We must pause and make a couple important notes in order to avoid any misunderstandings and squelch false accusations. Let it be known that the practice of holding all things common in the Christian ekklesia is never perverted, unclean, or unjust. The distinction between the sexes is carefully maintained and the institution of marriage, along with the sanctity of the marriage bed, are highly honored. The strong and clever are not allowed to exploit the weak and simple under the guise of "sharing." In the ekklesia God's high and holy standards of morality are strictly enforced. This is not always the case in the many pagan communities which attempt to hold all things common. God's ekklesia is run by God's rules and standards. This is the crucial point that ensures such a high quality of life rarely found in other living situations.

NEEDS EVERYDAY-DONE THE ARMY WAY

      SHELTER:

In the ekklesia, as in the army, the troops live together. Whether you call their living quarters barracks, dormitories, houses, or huts, the idea is that living space is shared. An ekklesia is basically an army base, and on most bases you'll find both officers and troops. This is critical if the chain of command is expected to function smoothly and efficiently. Out of respect for their rank and the responsibility they carry, the commanding officers are often given their own quarters as space allows. Yet over all, the soldiers, whether high or low in rank, enjoy virtually the same quality of living conditions.

This is where the ekklesia parts ways with the church. Do a little research and you’ll soon find that very few pastors, bishops, or other church leaders, live with their flocks. Jesus did. What's the problem? It comes down to the fact that people want to have their own space where they can enjoy their personal life IN PRIVATE. When Pastor Pervert rents his dirty videos, or takes a little (or not so little) nip from his liquor cabinet, he would prefer that his congregation not know about it. How about when Pastor Piggy eats the whole family size pizza by himself, washing it down with a six pack of soda and topping it off with a half gallon of his favorite ice cream? Naturally all this intake keeps him up till midnight watching TV. No problem because he sleeps in till at least 10:00 in the morning. These are only a couple examples of the countless scenarios that inevitably happen when people have their own private space all to themselves. This is life in a church near you. It's easy to understand why Ekklesia Living is very conducive to a life of holiness, and why it is flatly rejected by your average churchgoer. It's hard to hide your sins from those you live with.

Shelter also includes the living spaces that are allotted for food storage and preparation, dining, bathrooms, showers, laundry, and general storage. In essence, all the aspects of living are shared. This is army life, and with God's help even the most selfish, spoiled people can adapt to it. Nevertheless, there are some serious questions you need to honestly ask yourself. In our moments of religious fervor we boldly claim that we want to give everything for Jesus. But will you give Him your personal space? How about your isolated quiet times? Don't panic. Of course members of the ekklesia still enjoy their own space and quiet times—perhaps just in smaller quantities. As you learn to cooperate with God's plan you are soon relieved to find out that you can get along just fine with much less than you thought you needed. Once you let God adapt you to this new way of living you begin to wonder how you ever lived any other way.

          FOOD:

Food is one of the most obvious necessities of life. Everyone has to eat. Because of this, food becomes a very sensitive issue in the lives of many. Let’s face it—most people prefer to choose what, how much, and when they want to eat. When you join the army, the ekklesia, you soon learn that this area of your life must also be surrendered. It's simple: when you joined part of the agreement was that you eat what the army provides. Armies around the world differ as to how strictly they enforce this principle, yet the principle remains. When you're in the army you eat with the army.

Sharing meals is intended to be a central part of army life. Personal communication is an important aspect of humanity that cannot be denied. This is why they punish prisoners with solitary confinement. God created us with the intelligence and ability to talk with each other. This is one of the things that places us above the animal kingdom. Eating together is meant to accommodate this need. It's at mealtime that soldiers gather in a relaxed atmosphere and talk. This is when problems are discussed and worked out, stories are told, and information is shared. What better time than around a good meal for people of the same mind and spirit to enjoy each other's company? For those used to living in their own space sharing meals can be quite revolutionary. Just the fact that we share mealtimes at a common table raises the quality of life in the ekklesia to a level most people never experience. This is fellowship at its finest.

A key point in the survival and success of any army is the level of communication between the commanders and the troops, as well as among the troops themselves. As a communication tool, eating together is invaluable. Of course meetings are also held at other times, yet in the ekklesia the leaders always know they can address the troops all at once during mealtime. This is important, because the fluctuations and circumstances of everyday life are endless, often bringing about many small but important changes that must be dealt with. Often the enemy's movements must immediately be made known throughout the community so they can be effectively counteracted. Strategies must be initiated. The war machine has to move. Many of these changes are urgent and the troops need to be told as soon as possible. The leaders need only wait until the next meal. The army runs on information and eating together is one of the most efficient way to share it.

NOTE: Economics of food supply in the ekklesia

When it comes to food, the ekklesia is generally much stricter than the carnal military. The difference is based on economics. Carnal soldiers are allotted a certain amount of spending money, or pay, which they can spend as they choose. This includes eating in restaurants and buying other snacks or food items they like. In the more economically advantaged countries many bases have facilities especially designed to meet these personal preferences. Some even allow restaurants to operate on base. This way if a soldier doesn't like what the army is providing then he can buy something he likes instead—until his money runs out.

In the ekklesia it’s different. God's soldiers do not get a salary which they can waste on the whims of their carnal appetite. As soon as they join they realize that their financial resources, whether large or small, should be added to the community—just like everyone else. In the ekklesia all the money that is added or earned becomes God's money, and God's money is not to be wasted. This system of carefully regulated finances helps ekklesians learn to be content with whatever is provided at the community meals.

The leadership takes responsibility for seeking God as to how much, how often, and exactly what the ekklesia is to eat. Of course everyone has their personal preferences when it comes to food, yet in the ekklesia it’s expected that these preferences will be subordinated to the decisions of God's appointed leaders. The leadership understands that when it comes to food you can never please everyone all the time. Yet with God's wisdom, combined with years of experience, the ekklesia is able to provide simple, healthy meals which everybody is able to enjoy. Another important difference between the ekklesia and the world's militaries is that the ekklesia's eating schedule often includes times of fasting and self-denial. God appoints these seasons for our spiritual refinement and growth. Many blessings are experienced as the troops embrace these times of consecration with a good attitude. In the land of plenty it never hurts to cut back. This is God's way of keeping our carnality in check and reminding us that man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word of God (Luke 4:4).

It’s worthy to note the especially incredible economics of communal eating. When it comes to obtaining, preparing, and storing food, the ekklesia looks to God to provide for its needs in ways that are most economical. In the food realm, prices are often dramatically lower when you are able to buy large quantities—especially in staples like rice, flour, beans, oil, etc. Instead of buying one pound of overpriced rice at the supermarket, we go to the warehouse and buy one-hundred pounds for a fraction of the cost per pound. The time needed for preparation, cooking, and cleaning is also greatly reduced. Instead of making 40 meals for 40 people, the ekklesia makes one meal big enough to feed 40. Electricity is not cheap either. Instead of running multiple refrigerators and freezers the ekklesia tries to install units large enough to hold everything at once. The details of the economic advantages are so many you could go on and on. The bottom line is we save lots of money. Anyone can easily see when it comes to the unavoidable necessity of food that the ekklesia way, the army way, can’t be beat.

The object of holding all things in common is to keep the necessities of life in their proper place—including food. In any army the needs and wants of the soldiers must be subordinated to army goals and objectives. In other words: duty comes first; the mission must be accomplished. We refuse to spend an unnecessary amount of money on satisfying our stomach when we could use the same money to print gospel literature which is freely distributed around the world. The execution of a plan like this takes leadership, discipline, and the cooperation of the entire group—three things that characterize army life. As we do our best to deny ourselves and conserve resources God, in His mercy, gives us the joy and satisfaction of knowing that we are advancing the war effort. In addition, we have found that as we cooperate with God's wisdom concerning the type and amount of food we should eat that our health steadily improves. In fact the health benefits are so great that sickness is rarely a problem. This blessing of good health also saves us a great deal of time, trouble, and MONEY. Thank God for His merciful wisdom!

          CLOTHING:

Clothing is the next necessity of life we must look at. This subject, like food, can be very sensitive. People want to wear what they like, what's comfortable for them, and what they think makes them look good. Yet when you join the military this area of life must also be brought into line with army rules and regulations. In other words, soldiers wear what the army provides—uniforms. Again we find the ekklesia is more demanding than worldly militaries. Inevitably it comes back to economics. As already mentioned, soldiers of the world have a limited amount of spending money with which they can buy civilian clothes that appeal to them for wearing while off duty. Plus they still have their clothes from before they enlisted. It’s different in God’s army. As Spirit soldiers the clothes we wear must be above all pleasing to God. God has given us uniforms and we wear them as He directs. Yet even when we don’t wear uniforms we are careful to please God in our clothing. God’s Word makes it plain that He disapproves of worldliness and worldly fashions. As Christians we are not meant to long and lust after the fads and fashions of this world. God's people are supposed to be fighting against the forces of evil, not trying to win a fashion show. The only one we should try to impress is God. We belong to a higher order and our hearts must be set on things above. This narrows our selection of clothing to that which is economical, durable, utilitarian, and plain. We are not trying to impress the world. This relieves many of a great burden, for they no longer have to worry about what people think about their clothes.

Keep in mind that soldiers in God's army receive no salary. Everything they own, including money, is viewed as though it belongs to the Lord. God doesn’t want us wasting His money on overpriced, fashionable clothing just because we like how it looks. Plus, we never go off duty. We don’t worry about our “civilian” clothes for we don’t have any. It’s army life all day and everyday for us. Ultimately Ekklesians must be willing to give up choosing the clothes they like and determine themselves to be satisfied with whatever God approves and provides. This is just one more way we can die to ourselves for the sake of God's Kingdom.

Just like food, the acquisition of uniforms and other clothes is the responsibility of the leadership. As they seek God they trust that He will lead them in choosing the types and styles of uniforms and other clothing that give glory to God, plus being economical. In this way finances are greatly conserved due to the fact that soldiers don’t waste money on superfluous clothing they might like but don’t really need. Uniformity also saves money because quite often clothes, and many other things, are cheaper when bought in quantity. The time and expense of laundry, alterations, and repair are also greatly minimized when done by us.

In essence, every army is nothing but a team where all the members work together to keep the war machine moving forward. Naturally, people on the same team need to be able to identify each other. The easiest way to do it is to wear the same kind of clothes. This is called a uniform, and every army has one. In combat situations it’s critical to be able to recognize those on your side. Accidentally killing one of your fellow soldiers because you didn't recognize them is tragic. Along with identifying those on your team, the uniform displays their rank and often their specific job or function. Uniformity of clothing, along with identification of rank, is indispensable, for it helps the chain of command operate smoothly and efficiently.

Another important point is when any group or team decides to get into uniform the levels of morale and unity of purpose are dramatically increased. This "esprit de corps" is valuable because it strengthens the group as a whole. In God's army the wearing of uniforms strongly enhances and enforces the fact that Christians are meant to be of one mind and one accord. This is very important because the enemy is relentless in his attacks, continually trying to undermine and weaken the strength of unified, militant Christians. He greatly fears dedicated unity and teamwork with God in control because it spells his destruction.

          MATERIAL POSSESSIONS:

In the course of our daily lives we regularly use many different things. After shelter, food, and clothing, material possessions make up the next most important category of basic necessities. Let's face it, in order to live and get anything accomplished for God's Kingdom we are going to need a certain amount of stuff and things. Generally, when it comes to material possessions, we almost always need far less than we think we do. When the economy is good and prices are low it's easy to become addicted to stuff and things. Many are languishing in the grip of this powerful monster that buries them alive under huge piles of junk. Praise God He’s given us the answer to this problem as well.

Concerning material possessions the ekklesia does what any army does—it supplies the troops with what they need to accomplish the mission. Your basic rank and file soldier is needs to concentrate on carrying out orders and winning the war, not worrying about acquiring stuff and things. Yet obviously someone has to worry about it, and that job usually falls to the leadership, who assigns the task to someone trained to carry it out. The army relies on its soldiers to fight. The soldiers rely on the army to provide them with the tools and weapons they need. This includes transportation, fuel, utilities, along with the countless items we use on a daily basis.

Once again, when it comes to material possessions, ekklesia economics determine everything. In the ekklesia needs are brought to the attention of the leadership who then goes about making sure the necessary purchases are made and distribution is carried out. The ekklesia is very active, usually being involved in any number of projects at the same time. By far the most important task is the relentless effort to take Jesus to the world, as well as an ongoing war against the powers of the kingdom of darkness. Because of all this activity the task of securing supplies and coordinating logistics can be overwhelming. Thank God for the wisdom of combined resources controlled by the chain of command. These two factors enable the ekklesia to function smoothly and efficiently, no matter how many projects we’ve got going. As we look to God He makes sure we have what’s needed to keep the war machine rolling.

          SLEEP:

Another important necessity of life is sleep. We can't function very long without it. In fact governments around the world use sleep denial as a form of punishment or torture to weaken or “break” their enemies. Those that study the subject will tell you that getting enough sleep is an important part of staying healthy. Getting enough sleep also means you will stay alert and not become so tired you can't carry out your duties. The question then becomes how much sleep is enough. Like all the other necessities of life, the same rule applies: you usually need less than you think. The problem is, just like eating, people enjoy sleeping. It feels good to relax and have a good rest. If given the chance, many people will overindulge in sleep, wasting countless hours that could otherwise be used to good advantage. When you're sleeping you can't get much done for God's Kingdom. This is why it’s wise to let God regulate our sleep. By doing this we accomplish the most we can for Him while staying healthy and alert at the same time.

It's at this point that we are again faced with a choice. It comes down to us or God. Are we willing to subordinate, submit, and surrender what we like, what makes us feel good, to the requirements of life in God's army? Will we let our lives be fitted into His plans that are designed to help us endure to the end victoriously—even if it means losing sleep? Or do we want to stay in bed? How much are you willing to deny yourself and sacrifice for God's Kingdom? How deeply do you love the Lord? These can be painful questions, yet it's questions like these that separate true disciples from the shallow imposters that are happy playing church. Ekklesia Living gives you many ways to die to yourself and live for God. Letting God regulate your sleep is one of them.

Sleep must be brought under God's control if we intend to keep it in its proper perspective and benefit from it. Every army runs according to schedules, and the ekklesia is no different. Early to rise, curfew at night: this is the basic plan that keeps sleep from becoming a problem. With the exceptions of sickness and fatigue from overwork, all the members are expected to stick to the daily routine. Every hour of the day is accounted for and fit into the schedule, even those spent sleeping. If you can’t imagine living without "sleeping in" then you’d be better off in civilian life. There’s no place for that type of indulgence in the army. Wake up! There's a war on! If you claim to be a soldier of the Lord then let Him schedule your days--and nights.

          PURPOSE/GOALS:

The last necessity we must look at is the very real need of having a purpose or goal for your life. Yes, everyone has a goal or purpose that governs their actions, or lack thereof. Even the laziest people have goals: striving to do as little as possible becomes their goal. Without godly purpose and direction we degenerate into decaying blobs of humanity, worthless eaters taking up space and resources without giving anything back. That is definitely not the kind of life God intends for His people. Instead, God intends to direct His people, keeping them active and aggressive for His Kingdom, focusing their minds and hearts on continual obedience to His plans and purposes. Living for God is the best life there is!

Armies are highly structured organizations and they always have a purpose. They exist for one reason: to defend and protect the nation or kingdom to whom they belong from enemy attack, whether it be internal or external. This also involves attacking and counterattacking when needed. This goal is no secret and every army expends the needed time and resources to teach, train, and equip their soldiers so they are able to attain it. In other words, the goal or mission of the army becomes the dominating force in the soldier's life.

Again, the ekklesia is no different. God also teaches, trains, and equips His spirit soldiers according to the purposes and goals of His army. We know who we are fighting for and why. We know who our enemies are what they can do to us. Soldiers of this world often become disillusioned, discouraged, and impatient as they wait for their enlistment to end. Frequently their service is reduced to the daily grind of boring routines where watching the clock becomes the main attraction. Occasionally the governments of this world decide that a war would benefit their agendas so they crank out the propaganda and fire up the war machine. Everybody gets excited and the troops are called into action. Sure, this may be more exciting than guard duty, but it can also be fatal. Whatever the case may be, soldiers are bound to obey orders whether they like it or not. Many soldiers apply a thin veneer of patriotism so they can feel good about themselves—until the government betrays them.

In God's army things are different. When you know that your commander is the Living God who always has your good in mind, and that you belong to the most noble army on earth, the army that sheds no blood, your existence becomes very meaningful, satisfying, and rewarding. It's a good feeling to know that you are fighting to liberate souls from sin—especially if you were once bound by the same chains. What a humbling but exciting thought to know that you can play a part in bringing others into contact with the Lord—the only source of true joy, peace, and satisfaction. I don't think a better goal or purpose in life can be found!

CONCLUSION

There’s no doubt about it, the ekklesia is an army! Hopefully we’ve made that plain in this and the previous segment of our series. Undoubtedly, when it comes to army life and the requirements of soldiering, the ekklesia is more demanding, more disciplined, and demands a higher standard than worldly armies. Plus, when you consider enlistment in God's army is for life, it’s easy to see that Soldiers of the cross are in a class by themselves. Their enlistment is based on revolutionary love that changed their life. Their commander is all knowing and all powerful. He doesn't make mistakes. Plus, how many commanders have actually laid down their lives for their troops like Jesus did? Best of all, He’s always with them, fighting right alongside His men (and women) no matter where on earth they may be. This is the army we belong to. What about you? There's never been a better time to join the army that sheds no blood. Enlist today! Why not spend the rest of your life serving the King and the Kingdom of Heaven. You won't be sorry you did, but you'll be eternally sorry if you don't.


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