A soldier of fortune or mercenary is a soldier who will fight for any cause for the promise of financial gain or adventure. If I were waging a battle for a singular cause, a cause greater than myself, it would not be my desire to use mercenaries. The issue is not their skill or abilities. The issue is their intentions, because their cause is themselves. Their loyalty follows their pockets or the fulfillment of a thrill.
A soldier of fortune, however, was first a soldier. Like any soldier, he was trained to fight the nation’s enemies, to take orders from a commanding officer, and to live a life set apart from civilian life and focused on military service. A soldier with a family would have two allegiances. He would owe allegiance to his nation and to his family. In 2 Timothy, the members of the body of Christ are likened to soldiers, told of the nation’s enemies (see Ephesians 6, 1 Peter 5, 1 John 4 and Galatians 5), and given weapons and armor for combat (see James 4, Ephesians 6, Romans 8 and 2 Corinthians 10).
However, if we’re not careful, I believe that we can become soldiers of fortune. To avoid using our skills for selfish gain, we must keep the following thoughts before us as frontlets:
Be content with your wages –
A group of soldiers asked John the Baptist, as he was preaching on repentance and baptizing in the Jordan River, “What should we do?” John the Baptist’s reply was that they not extort money, or accuse men falsely and to be content with their pay. John’s instructions were appropriate for the soldiers because as soldiers they had the power to extort and bring false accusations.I also feel John’s instructions were appropriate because soldiers could be driven to extort or bring false accusations due to a discontentment with their wages. Perhaps they feel that the risks of their profession far outweigh the reward, or that there are rules and structures in place that deny them a sense of adventure and thus fulfillment in their work. As soldiers in the army of Jesus Christ, we must be content with our wages.
The principle here is to have contentment as the Bible tells us in 1 Timothy 6, “godliness with contentment is great gain.” To have godliness is to have relationship with Christ, while contentment is a detachment or independence from money and possessions. So then having a life in Christ – free from the need of possessions for fulfillment – is great gain! Other forms of “wages” for Christian soldiers to be content with could be:
• their call to ministry
• God-given purpose
• the season of life they are currently in
This is not a call to abandon all aspirations and live in the jungle, but instead to be detached and not let your aspirations consume you and distract you from your enlistment in God’s army. Examine yourself, soldier, to see if your aspirations no longer fit God’s plan for your life.
Remain loyal and obedient; your training comes from God –
2 Peter 1 tells us that God has given us everything required for a godly life. God drew us by His marvelous glory and excellence into the Kingdom, trained us and endowed us with abilities. As we continue in the faith, we must examine ourselves and communicate with God (Him talking to you and you talking to Him). Be honest about your innermost thoughts and allow Him to correct, heal, and illuminate in His timing. Continued connection with God serves as a reminder of why we chose to enlist, which keeps us loyal. Obedience motivated by your growing love relationship with Him, keeps us willing to surrender to God. He cherishes this! Obedience truly is the gift that keeps on giving.
Avoid chasing signs and being seduced by pride in your gifts. If we chase signs and emotions hoping to replicate a euphoric moment, we can become fools susceptible to those who would misuse our gifts in the service of their own aims. The signs or experiences then become idols and replace God in significance thereby leading to idolatry, witchcraft and apostasy. If you’re faltering in your faith, remember we are an army – no soldier fights a war alone!
God’s plan is greater than us –
God is saving mankind through reconciliation in Christ. He is preparing a special and beautiful place for us with Him. God is preparing a new body, new earth, and great supper in honor of the grandest wedding ever! He is preparing His chosen for eternity. God’s plan is greater than ours and a cause worth fighting for.
Active service limits entanglements –
The affairs and cares of this life distract us and pull us away from our ministerial purpose. Go about doing well. Serve your brothers in the faith as well as your neighbors. Advance the Gospel message, pray and exercise the gifts of the Spirit. Love everyone with godly love and the richness of your life in Christ will choke out the cares of this world. While God honors our commitment to family, our family affairs can also distract us. Naturally speaking, the military has a responsibility to the soldier and to the soldier’s family. God is greater than any military branch and even better at keeping His commitment to our families. Please consider these quotes from Mark 10:28-31:
Peter began to say to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, 30 but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last, first.”
And Luke 12:24-32:
24 Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have neither storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! 25 And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? 26 If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. 30 For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32 Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom."
God bless you warriors of Christ!