Christians who enter the military are under two commissions. You are commissioned by our Lord to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) and you are commissioned by the military to serve our country. The question is: How do you fulfill both commissions? Are these commissions in conflict?
Let’s look at what Christ expects of those He has commissioned into His work.
Jesus was intentional about training the disciples so that they could train others. “And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach (Mark 3:14).” In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus tells the disciples to “make disciples of all nation.” He also told them what content to teach. He said to them, “teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.”
So what did Jesus command his disciples? Looking into the Gospels, we discover 7 character qualities that Jesus focused on. Things in which Jesus said that if they did not do, they could not be His disciples.
Seven Character Qualities
1. Supreme and incomparable love for Jesus Christ. Matt 10:37; Luke 14:26
Like a disciple of Christ, a military man or woman is also called to commitment to the service of their country.
2. A regular study of God’s Word. John 8:31
Like a disciple of Christ, a military man or woman pursues ongoing training and development.
3. A denial of self as the authority and focus of attention in one’s life. Matt 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23-24
Similarly, a military man or woman has put themselves under the authority of their commanding officers. The focus of attention is the mission and the team/unit.
4. A life of sacrifice and submission to the cross. Matt 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23-24
A military man or woman submits to authority, prepared to sacrifice him or herself.
5. A response of allegiance to follow Christ. Matt 10:38; 16:24; Mark 8:34; 10:21; Luke 9:23
A military man or woman has pledged allegiance to their country, choosing to follow their leaders.
6. Recognizing the true ownership of your possessions. Luke 14:33
A military man or woman is responsible for the equipment and supplies provided for their use. The equipment is not theirs, but they are responsible for its maintenance and proper use.
7. Loving other believers in attitude and action as Christ has loved you. John 13:34,35
“Band of brothers.” “Battle buddies.” “Got your six.” The military man and woman stand with those they serve with. For example, see the Army’s Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer.
Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer
No one is more professional than I. I am a Noncommissioned Officer, a leader of Soldiers. As a Noncommissioned Officer, I realize that I am a member of a time honored corps, which is known as “The Backbone of the Army.” I am proud of the Corps of Noncommissioned Officers, and will at all times conduct myself so as to bring credit upon the Corps, the military service, and my country; regardless of the situation in which I find myself. I will not use my grade or position to attain pleasure, profit, or personal safety.
Competence is my watch-word. My two basic responsibilities will always be uppermost in my mind: The accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my Soldiers. I will strive to remain technically and tactically proficient. I am aware of my roles as a Noncommissioned Officer, I will fulfill my responsibilities inherent in that role. All Soldiers are entitled to outstanding leadership; I will provide that leadership. I know my Soldiers, and I will always place their needs above my own. I will communicate consistently with my Soldiers, and never leave them uninformed. I will be fair and impartial when recommending both rewards and punishment.
Officers of my unit will have maximum time to accomplish their duties; they will not have to accomplish mine. I will earn their respect and confidence as well as that of my Soldiers. I will be loyal to those with whom I serve; seniors, peers, and subordinates alike. I will exercise initiative by taking appropriate action in the absence of orders. I will not compromise my integrity, nor my moral courage. I will not forget, nor will I allow my comrades to forget that we are professionals, Noncommissioned Officers, leaders!
The Christian military man or woman is uniquely prepared to serve and honor Jesus Christ as their eternal Commander-in-Chief.