One of the favorite Vacation Bible School songs for generations has been, “I’m In The Lord’s Army!” Many of us remember singing it as youngsters many years ago, and are thrilled when we hear our children and grandchildren sing it today. This is one of those VBS songs that must be sung while standing so we may “march in the infantry,” “ride in the cavalry,” “shoot the artillery,” and “fly o’er the enemy.” It is of little wonder that young people have loved this song for generations.
Sometimes adults are dismissive of the songs our children sing. While we enjoy the tunes and the enthusiasm of our children as they sing, we give little thought to the truths that are taught by them. We may eagerly encourage our children to sing these songs, but refuse to do so ourselves. It is as if adults believe that these sweet songs have no bearing on their lives, or perhaps are somewhat beneath our dignity.
In the case of this particular song, however, nothing could be farther from the truth. This is a song whose theme is very apropos for adults, and is entirely biblical. The apostle Paul used the imagery of a soldier a number of times in his letters to Timothy and to the church in Corinth. In 2 Tim. 2:3, 4 he said, “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.” He used similar language in 1 Cor. 9:7, where he said, “Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not use the milk of the flock?”
His point in each case was that he was a soldier of Jesus Christ, and so are all those who have put on Christ in baptism (Gal. 3:27). Because we are soldiers in the Lord’s army, we must expect to engage the enemy in combat. Paul spoke of this combat as fighting the good fight of faith (1 Tim. 1:18), and he reminded Timothy near the end of his life that he himself had fought the good fight (2 Tim. 4:7). The fact that Paul had fought the good fight, finished the course, and kept the faith insured that he would receive the crown of righteousness at the end of time (2 Tim. 4:8).
We who are Christians are soldiers in the Lord’s army, and we are in a spiritual warfare against the forces of evil, which are led by Satan himself. In Eph. 6:12 Paul said, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” This means that our struggle is real, even though it is not fought with conventional weapons. It also means that the consequences of this struggle are far more serious than in conventional warfare. In the Lord’s army we are in a battle for the eternal destiny of our souls, and for the souls of our families, friends and neighbors.
Like soldiers in our armed forces, who take an oath of allegiance to the Constitution, we have taken an oath of allegiance to our Lord Jesus Christ and to His word. We did so when we obeyed the gospel. We have foresworn ourselves to be faithful to Him and to His word until we pass from this life. Our term of enlistment is until death, and the promise of our Savior is that if we are faithful until death, He will give us the crown of life.
Unlike human warfare, we know the outcome of our conflict. The Lord will be victorious in the end, and so will the faithful of His army. For this reason, let us enthusiastically declare, “I’m in the Lord’s Army!”