This week, we travelled to Ottawa for a conference. While we were there, we visited the National War Museum. This museum illustrates the story of Canada’s role both in war and peace and displays honour for those who have fought, won and lost in order to protect the freedoms we enjoy in Canada.
I was looking at this little poster, circa World War 1, and was caught by the caption, “ The Happy Man Today is the Man at the Front”.
I know many Christians who set themselves apart from war; they abstain from interaction with all types of weaponry and would be conscientious objectors in a time of conflict.
I don’t imagine that anyone who has ever been to war would recall it as a happy place or the thing that made them happy. War is hard, dirty, ugly, full of casualties and carnage. War involves loss – of friends, family and self. War is a tremendous sacrifice that is fought with the hope of peace.
It seems an oxymoron to claim that war can make a man happy. Yet, the Bible offers dozens of references to a spiritual warfare that we are called to.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
The battle we are fighting is the one to renew our minds (Romans 12:2), to lay down our old self (Ephesians 4:22-24) and to overcome the flesh (Galatians 5:16-18). We are in a war against disbelief, idols and apathy.
When I read that the Happy Man Today is the Man at the Front, I have to believe that man is the one on the front lines of the Great Commission, sharing the love of Jesus Christ with the world. The happy man is the one faithfully reading his Bible, praying, loving those around him and understanding that obedience to God is greater than any sacrifice.
The happy man is the one who understands that there are hard times, but there is joy on the other side. (Psalm 30:5)
2 Corinthians 12:10
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Nothing in Scripture tells us that everything will be easy or that we will never sorry or struggle. The Bible does tell us repeatedly, though, that we are in a spiritual battle.
The amazing part of this, is that God’s Word also tells us that the battle belongs to the LORD.
1 Samuel 17:47
… the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s…
We know that there will be struggle and hardship, but God promises that if we follow Him, place our hope and trust in Him, there will be blessing and joy.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD.
Happiness is a choice. It is acknowledging your circumstances and allowing God to have His way in your life. Are you on God’s front line, living for Him and abounding in the joy He brings?