During the funeral procession of former President George H. W. Bush, the episcopal church choir sang a favorite hymn from my youthful summer days when I attended vacation bible school.
The lyrics of the familiar hymn, “Onward Christian Soldiers,” returned instantly just as I’d sung it so many times as a child. My heart was touched and filled with memories of days gone by when I first considered the hymn as a declaration to march for Christ.
I remember returning home from vacation bible school and singing and marching to the lyrics of this nineteenth century hymn. Sometimes I would march in happiness. Other times I’d march for comfort to replace hurt feelings imposed by a classmate. But the singing and marching, when done together, gave me hope.
Paul encouraged Timothy to be strong in the grace that is found in Christ Jesus. By doing so, Timothy would entrust to faithful believers what he had learned about sharing in the suffering of everyday life. These believers patiently endured evil and hardship in their quest to follow Christ. Suffering taught them obedience, which pleased God.
As a soldier endures much to please the one who enlists him, Christian soldiers have a charge to keep on in their work for the Lord. Each of us can aspire to be good Christian soldiers by acting as Timothy instructed: be sacrificial in our work to please the Lord. endure suffering and hardship, and carry Christ’s banner of victory daily.
Thinking back to my vacation bible school days, I didn’t know it would result in my enlistment as a young Christian soldier. But it worked for me then—and it works for me now. No matter what I endure, I still sing and march to hymns and Christian music.
Every Christian has a favorite hymn or song of praise to God. If we endure for Him, we will reign with Him.
Find the inspirational song that stirs your soul, motivates you to march for Christ, and expresses your unconditional love for God in good times and bad.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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