Bayonet, or Butter Knife?

Bayonet, or Butter Knife? *Verses in Holman Christian Standard Bible version*

Deut. 20:2-4 (HCSB), When you are about to engage in battle, the priest is to come forward and address the army. He is to say to them: ‘Listen, Israel: Today you are about to engage in battle with your enemies. Do not be cowardly. Do not be afraid, alarmed, or terrified because of them. For the Lord your God is the One who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.’

– I stood on those yellow footprints at Marine Corps Bootcamp 24 years ago, but I can still remember so much of what they taught me. They gave me my “book of knowledge” (green monster?)

– Marines are taught extensively about their history and traditions, legendary warriors and battles. It is our responsibility to carry on this legacy and risk our lives to uphold it.

– There is no “exit strategy.” You will fight to the death. You are a Marine forever.

– In the same way, as a Christian, you have access to your extensive history and traditions. You have a responsibility to carry on that legacy. You have your own “book of knowledge”, the Bible!

– You must be an example to the next generation and be a spiritual warrior for Jesus.

– When you are engaged in the battle, you must do these 3 things:

Point #1: You must change your perspective.

Deut. 20:1, “When you go out to war against your enemies and see horses, chariots, and an army larger than yours, do not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, is with you.

– The Medal of Honor is the highest military award, given to those who show extraordinary heroism, risking their lives going above and beyond the call of duty. Risking life, as in a situation when no one would fault you if you didn’t take on the task.

– There have been a total of 3,520 Medal of Honor recipients. 69 are still living currently. 

– 300 Marines have received the MOH, 110 of those have been the rank of Private or PFC.

– There have been 19 veterans who have received it twice, 2 Marines. (Technically 7 Marines total.) (Can anyone name one?)

Example: Dan Daly, said to be the greatest Leatherneck and most outstanding Marine of all time.

– Smedley Butler (the other 2x awarded MOH) described Daly as the fighting’est Marine he ever knew, and said it was an object lesson to have served with him.

– He stood just 5-foot-6 and weighed 132 pounds, and got his 1st MOH as a Private. 

– During the Boxer Rebellion in China, Daly personally positioned himself alone along the Tarter Wall despite being exposed to sniper fire and other attacks. His small contingent of Marines helped protect the diplomatic personnel from being overrun. 

– Against all odds, ready to pay the highest price, these 3,519 men (and one woman) had the perspective of facing a ferocious enemy, believing they could gain the victory.

– From our biblical history we find a man with that same perspective, Jonathan.

– In 1 Samuel, King Saul has just had his army routed by the Philistines, but his son Jonathan is not ready to give up the fight.

1 Samuel 13:5-7, The Philistines also gathered to fight against Israel: 3,000 chariots, 6,000 horsemen, and troops as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They went up and camped at Michmash, east of Beth-aven. The men of Israel saw that they were in trouble because the troops were in a difficult situation. They hid in caves, thickets, among rocks, and in holes and cisterns. Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul, however, was still at Gilgal, and all his troops were gripped with fear.

1 Samuel 14:6,  Jonathan said to the attendant who carried his weapons, “Come on, let’s cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will help us. Nothing can keep the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.”

1 Samuel 14:11-14, They let themselves be seen by the Philistine garrison, and the Philistines said, “Look, the Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they’ve been hiding!” 12 The men of the garrison called to Jonathan and his armor-bearer. “Come on up, and we’ll teach you a lesson!” they said. “Follow me,” Jonathan told his armor-bearer, “for the Lord has handed them over to Israel.” 13 Jonathan climbed up using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer behind him. Jonathan cut them down, and his armor-bearer followed and finished them off. 14 In that first assault Jonathan and his armor-bearer struck down about 20 men in a half-acre field. (That’s some MOH worthy fighting!)

– Jonathan had a different perspective than Saul of the battle and the enemy.

– Saul tried to do it by his own strength, but Jonathan relied on the Lord’s power and leading.

– When you are engaged in battle, how you perceive it will be crucial.

– On Monday night, Eva said by focusing on the enemies and fears, you make them seem even bigger. Stop focusing on your big fears and start focusing on your BIG God!

– We need to stop complaining about our lives and recognize the opportunity God has given us to show his glory to others, his provision, his power.

Romans 8:18, For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. 

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Point #2: You must change your attitude. 

Embrace the SUCK!

– In the Marines, this is our mantra. It means to knowingly look forward to and enjoy things that are extremely unpleasant and often unavoidable. “If it ain’t raining, we ain’t training!”

– It applies to all areas of life. It’s the simple principle of changing you attitude about your situation.

– Americans spend a lot of time and energy trying to avoid going through uncomfortable things!

EXAMPLE: Running in the rain. I’m running 1,000 miles this year! Turns out it rains here… a lot!

– Running in the rain sucks, so I started researching special gear. What do the pro’s use?

– Found an article about it. Basically, forget the rain gear. If you run in the rain you are going to get wet, so just embrace it because it will make you tougher! Oh… and don’t wear cotton!

– Do you want to be a wet warrior, or a wet coward? You are getting rained on either way!

– Like Pastor Crystal wrote in her book, “A runner runs no matter what the weather. No matter what!” (Everyone needs to read her book! #RunYour Race)

Phil. 4:11-13, I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. 13 I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Act “AS IF”, until it is.

– You can use “false motivation.” Another Marine thing. Act like you are excited about it, and you will become excited about it. It really works. Your body can trick your brain into believing it.

Act as if you are not tired, or hungry, or in pain. Act as if “you only do what you want to.” (Which really means that you tell yourself you want to do the things you thought you didn’t.)

Act as if you love that person, and care about their feelings. Act as if their habits don’t bug you.

– I read in a book? If you physically behave in the manner that shows you love and care for someone, you will actually begin to. Same as if you “hate” someone, and are mean to them.

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– You will find more of what you are focusing on!

Philippians 4:4-8, Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.

The Apostle Paul is our biblical example of what it looks like to embrace hardship:

Romans 5:3-5, …but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

2 Cor. 12:9-10, But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. 10 So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Stop complaining and change your attitude! (Huge struggle for me personally.)

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Point #3: You must choose your weapon.

– The Marine Corps has a variety of devices designed to kill the enemy, from bombs to bayonets.

– One highly trained and equipped ANGLICO Marine can coordinate a hellish rain of fiery artillery, bombs, and missiles on the enemy to demolish them. Marines don’t mess around!

– The Marines are the only one who still yell, “Fix bayonets!!”, and teach this skill at bootcamp.

– A bayonet is connected to the end of the rifle for hand to hand combat, historically a sharp sword or dagger that can turn a rifle into a spear. 

– Today’s version is a multi-purpose utility knife, sharp enough to pierce body armor. 

– The idea behind this weapon is that a Marine NEVER stops fighting. No bullets, no problem, no excuses. You literally train to fight to the death, no retreat.

– You’ve been given your own personal “spiritual bayonet” to fight to the death with. The BIBLE!

Hebrews 4:12, For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.

– In the battle, when the call goes out, will you know how to use it?!

– The problem is, most of us only know how to use a butter knife. A small, dull, non-serrated blade that is barely a match for refrigerated butter. (We eat, more than we fight.)

– Our fight is a spiritual one. It is already happening. You need to ENGAGE!

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2 Cor. 10:3-5, For though we live in the body, we do not wage war in an unspiritual way, since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ.

– The victory is obtained through our Lord and Savior, but YOUR participation is required!

Deut. 20:4, For the Lord your God is the One who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.’

– In the hands of the Lord, are you going to be a bayonet, or a butter knife?

– This is your wake-up call! Your call to “FIX BAYONETS!” You are already in the battle, let’s go!!

– prayer –

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