Friday, January 1, 2010

Have You Earned Your CIB?

“Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.” Galatians 6:17

In the US Army, the Combat Infantry Badge (CIB) is one of the highest awards a soldier can get. It is awarded to soldiers who have been under fire in actual combat situations. Though there are higher decorations given for individual valor, the CIB on a uniform tells everyone that the wearer is a warrior, one who has faced the enemy and persevered.

In ancient times, warriors took great pride in their battle scars. The old healed wounds told the younger warriors that they were battle tested, that at the time of testing they stood firm.

The Apostle Paul alludes to this in the scripture in Galatians. Paul was a warrior for Christ. He proudly showed everyone his scars, the ones he received from the beatings and floggings because of his faith. This was Paul's 'CIB'. These were marks every Christian could see and therefore know Paul was a warrior, not a wimp. Listen to what Paul boasted in:

“Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.”
2 Corinthians 6:4 -11

This warrior mindset was part of ancient Israel and the early church. Whether by crucifixion, or in the arena at the hand of wild beasts, the martyrs were warriors who's blood was their 'CIB'. Hear what the bible says about them:

“Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated-- the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith..”
Hebrews 11:36b - 39a

In the middle ages, men like Wycliffe, Tyndale, Luther, Calvin and many other nameless reformers stood up to the enemy and earned their 'CIB'. Some by imprisonment, others tortured and put to death. They stood up to the enemy and “loved not their lives unto death”.

Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:3-4: “Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs--he wants to please his commanding officer.”

What Paul was telling them, and is telling us now is to be warriors, to live out the kingdom life as a soldier who is duty bound.

The US Army came out with “The Warrior Ethos”, a creed all soldiers live by. I have modified it below to reflect what I believe to be the “Christian Warrior Ethos”

I am an follower of Jesus.
I am a Christian and a member of a family. I serve God and live Kingdom values.
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.
I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills. I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.
I am an expert and I am a professional.
I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the faith in close spiritual warfare.
I am a guardian of grace and the Kingdom way of life.
I am a follower of Jesus.

In speaking with a brother, he shared with me that he wanted to see Christians with the battle scars of warfare. These tested believers have engaged the Devil and demons and wrestled with their flesh and came out scarred, but still standing. These Christians can mentor the younger ones. These are the warriors that the Church can look up to as examples. These are those that can be depended on when the going gets tough.

Today, there are too many of us who are unblemished and pristine. We do not have our 'CIB', for we have never been in combat with evil. Some of us have quit the fight, running back to the world and leaving our fellow soldiers to face the enemy. Some have avoided the conflict, leaving the fighting to others. Today, God wants warriors, both men and women, to lock-and-load and engage the enemy of our souls. Whether winning souls in the streets, casting out evil spirits from the possessed, debating the skeptic in open debate or preaching an unpopular truth, the scars we gain from these engagements are a testimony to the church that “we are soldiers, in the army of the Lord”. Please read the words of the hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers”

1. Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
forward into battle see his banners go!
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus going on before.

2. At the sign of triumph Satan's host doth flee;
on then, Christian soldiers, on to victory!
Hell's foundations quiver at the shout of praise;
brothers, lift your voices, loud your anthems raise.

3. Like a mighty army moves the church of God;
brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod.
We are not divided, all one body we,
one in hope and doctrine, one in charity.

4. Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane,
but the church of Jesus constant will remain.
Gates of hell can never against that church prevail;
we have Christ's own promise, and that cannot fail.

5. Onward then, ye people, join our happy throng,
blend with ours your voices in the triumph song.
Glory, laud, and honor unto Christ the King,
this through countless ages men and angels sing.

As this hymn conveys, God desires warriors to engage the forces of darkness. Our scars are not a sign of weakness, but of courage.

Have you earned your CIB?

Jeff Henning
Jan 1, 2010


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