AUDIO VERSION: YouTube Podbean
Should Christians join the military? Whenever we are considering entering into a field which involves the extermination of human life, extra caution is needed. Knowing that humans are the only element of this Creation that God is going to keep, and knowing that our glorious Lord gave up His own life to save us all, we must treat human life as utterly priceless. Degrading, torturing, and killing human beings are all things that the military gets involved in. But this is only part of the picture. The American military, for example, has a long history of doing stellar humanitarian acts. The military is not just a killing machine: it saves lives as well, it provides disaster relief, and it is charged with defending and protecting the country that built it.
You are not going to find a government agency that is honoring God in all that it does, because our governments are corrupt. The whole world is corrupt, and yet this world is where God wants us to be right now. We Christians are called to be lights in the darkness, without letting the darkness corrupt us. How do we do this? Certainly not by our own strength, and this is why you need to be sure you have God’s authorization before you get involved in an organization which has decided it has the right to murder people.
God is all for law and order. He is also for capital punishment. There are times when killing is appropriate. If we were all listening to God, there would be times when He would tell us to go to war. The problem is that there are plenty of other times when we go to war without God’s authorization, and then we end up deciding it is acceptable to kill people for carnal reasons. Now if a man is going to grab a gun and start shooting at innocent citizens, it is appropriate for him to be gunned down. When violent men assault others with force, force is needed to stop them. Let’s be clear: “world peace” is a concept that Satan dreamed up to drive us all off track. God has told us that this world will never be at peace. It will be filled with violence until the day He destroys it. This means that if we didn’t have things like police forces and the military to protect us from each other, life would be absolute chaos.
Christians have no business ragging on the institutions which are responsible for keeping some degree of order in their lives. God is pro-government, and we should be supporting and respecting those who are making sacrifices on our behalf. Are there abuses? Of course there are. You can find jerks in every field of business. But the police officer who is putting up with flack all day long doesn’t need your snarky attitude when he pulls you over for a speeding ticket that you know you deserve. Instead, you should be the one who sincerely thanks him for taking the job and honor God by owning up to the fact that you were breaking the posted laws. The soldier who returns from a miserable overseas tour of duty ought to be greeted with an extra measure of respect and compassion. We should be going out of our way to support and encourage those who are putting their lives on the line for our sakes. Those who protect and defend us have to interface with the worst side of humanity and that should earn them an extra measure of grace from us instead of constant criticism.
If you are a Christian who feels like God is calling you into the military, you need to think about the killing issue ahead of time. There are many jobs in the system that do not involve firing ammunition at someone. How far has God authorized you to go? You need to stay within the limits that He puts on you, because He is the One you will answer to for your actions. “But my C.O. told me to,” is not a valid excuse for disobeying the convictions of the Holy Spirit. Be clear on what your orders are and be up front about them when you apply to enter the system. God’s orders trump everyone else’s.
Now some of you are going to feel comfortable with the killing thing. This does not mean you’re some kind of spiritual rebel. God does want some of His guys on the front lines, and He will authorize killing in certain situations. But you must remember that you are accountable to the Holy Spirit first and foremost.
To prepare you to handle the psychological trauma of killing someone else, the military will teach you ways to mentally detach yourself from what you are doing. They may also teach you ways to dehumanize your targets. Here is where Christians run into problems because all souls are precious to God, regardless of what kind of uniform they are wearing. There are no “lesser” humans on this planet, and when we start playing war games and acting like one country’s citizens are some kind of chattel, we are in violation of God’s moral code. The Christian must not take a life without specific authorization from the Holy Spirit. It is your responsibility to obtain that authorization in each and every crisis situation you get into. There’s no room for just coasting with the political agenda of the day and gunning down whoever your government doesn’t like. Governments are corrupt and they kill for immoral reasons. Do you have what it takes to stand up to your commanding officer and tell him that you can’t carry out his orders because it goes against your convictions? Are you ready to be court-martialed in order to stay in alignment with the Holy Spirit? When you consider a career in the military, you are stepping into a field that has some unique challenges. You need to make sure God is willing to equip you to deal with those challenges before you go rushing out ahead of Him.
Now is the time to do some honest soul searching and make sure you and God are on the same page about you getting involved with the military. You need to have a clear idea of how far He is authorizing you to go when it comes to assaulting other humans. If you do that soul searching and you end up feeling like God is giving you the clear “go” signal, then by all means, sign up. God wants Christians in the military, He wants Christians on the police force, and He wants Christians in the justice system. God wants His kids to shine His light everywhere they go, and we do that by staying in alignment with the Holy Spirit.
For more about staying in alignment with God:
What it Means to be Aligned with God
Help for Christian soldiers:
Will God Forgive Soldiers for Killing?
Will God Forgive Cowardly Soldiers?