I saw this sign at Otira Hotel, below Arthurs Pass. It reflects the attitudes towards God, King and Country (the three were sometimes considered to be the same thing!) at the time of WWI.
The direct question “What are you doing for your King?” immediately brought to mind the statement that PK USA Founder, Bill McCartney made years ago at a rally. “Men, we have been in a war, but not at war!” The tendency towards passivity can mean that we easily slip out of the battle. At times, we don’t even realise that we are in a cultural war.
I was interested when I first read Judges 3, that God would leave an enemy to train His people for battle. “So then, the Lord left some nations in the land to test the Israelites who had not been through the wars in Canaan. He did this only in order to teach each generation of Israelites about war, especially those who had never been in battle before.” Judges 3:1-2 GNT. The context is that the people of Israel had started worshipping other gods, but He was still preparing His people for the future.
So how are we preparing ourselves for spiritual battle?
Yes, we are saved by grace and not by works. However, does the way that we live our life reflect the glory of our King Jesus? I know that it is all too easy to be overwhelmed with the cares and worries of today and to lose sight of a higher purpose. Carrying burdens can reduce us to passivity instead of a bold, active lifestyle. It takes an act of will to love people unconditionally. We have to prepare ourselves and decide how we will react before we are confronted in the moment by a crisis. Heroes are not made in the moment, but through a lifetime of decision making.
As the western culture becomes more hostile to Christianity, it is more important than ever to live by our values, yet in a loving way.
Battles are not won by individuals, but by armies composed of small units or teams. The enemy will always seek to isolate you from God and from the right people in order to defeat you. That is why PK calls men to God and encourages strong, genuine male friendships. “Some friends may ruin you, but a real friend will be more loyal than a brother”. Proverbs 18:24 NCV. It is loyal friends who will help us (and us help them) through trying times. In human terms, that sort of comradeship is mainly seen in war veterans and in sports teams, where they have struggled together through adversity towards a common goal.
This ANZAC Day, we will commemorate those who sacrificed their lives. Many of those men and women went away to WWI looking for the great adventure, to be with their mates, or perhaps with patriotism, to serve their King and Country. I doubt that many expected to personally die in that terrible conflict.
The first ANZAC Day services were initiated in 1916. Because the army was organised by regions, when there was a large battle with high casualties, many families in the same town would get news of their sons’ deaths at the same time. For example, the Wairarapa seems to have been scarred by this. For ANZAC Day 1916, in Tinui, they erected a large Cross on a nearby hilltop and held one of the first ANZAC Day church services. In the district, some of the memorial halls constructed in later years are called Peace Halls instead or “War Memorial” halls. To me, the numerous war memorials scattered everywhere in NZ are the greatest testament to peace that I know of. The tragedy is undeniable as the monuments name the people who never came home from a horrific war.
This ANZAC Day let’s not only commemorate those who have served our country, but also rejoice with Jesus, the greatest peacemaker of them all.
P.S. If you want to find out more about men’s groups, we have a wide range of resources and information on the PK website or contact the PK team for ideas and assistance www.promisekeepers.nz