You hold in your hands one of the most powerful, important books you will ever read. After reading Gods Holy Word in the Bible, spending time with a book like this is one of the most important things you can do in your life. Seeking Gods Word and wisdom every day is essential if you are to survive and triumph as you battle evil in this world.
As you serve our nation, you will stare into the face of evil. In distant lands and (all too often) at home, you will witness the works of evil. If you personally have not already seen evil at work, you most assuredly will in your future.
Evil. What else can you call it when helpless bound victims have their heads cut off, when people are burned to death in cages, and when airliners full of men, women, and children slam into buildings to murder thousands of other terrified civilians? This is the face of evil, and you must understand that you are a living shield of flesh and blood standing between evil and precious, inno­cent lives.
If you believe in a force of evil, and who can deny it, then you are doomed in your battle if you do not also believe in a supe­rior force for good and apply that force for good in your daily life. There is a mighty, awesome force for good in this universe. He loves you, wants you to thrive, and will give you all that you need to triumph in this battle. Indeed, the presence of evil is solid proof of God and his holy forces of good. Consider what happens when the moon eclipses the sun. We cannot bear to look directly at the sun, but the darkness of the eclipse proves the presence of light. So, too, does the darkness of evil prove the presence of good.
The opposite of love is not hate; it is evil. Evil is the absence of love, just as darkness is the absence of light. And God is love. God is love, and all love emanates from God. His love for us is infinite and beyond any earthly love that we can comprehend.
As you put on our nations uniform and place your mortal body in peril, you must understand that no one does this job for the money. Love is what motivates us. Love for your nation, love for your way of life, love for your family, and love for your comrades. And love is what motivates God.
"To live is Christ and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21). Think about that. The world says, "Life is hard, then you die." But God says "to live" is to be "in Christ," which is an amazing life of love, joy, and peace. And "to die" is even better. Study those two options and decide now which one you would choose.
Again, the opposite of love is evil, and hate is not necessarily bad. God tells us that there are things in this world that we should hate. Amos 5:15 affirms this in six of the most powerful words in the Bible: "Hate evil, love good; maintain justice." Merriam- Webster defines hate as: "intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury." We do not fear evil, for we are strengthened by Gods love, and we are told that "love drives out fear" (1 John 4:18). But we should have "intense hostility and aversion" toward evil. We should also have a sense of anger toward evil, and we do indeed have a "sense of injury," for we fully comprehend the great grievous injury that evil would inflict upon all that we love.
In our book On Spiritual Combat, Adam Davis and I describe this mighty, epic, global battle against evil:
You can think of this like the United States during World War II. The entire nation was focused on winning that war. The farmer in the field and the clerk in the store were striving, working in their jobs with victory in mind. They bought war bonds. The students in school wrote letters to our troops, collected scrap metal, and bought "war sav­ing stamps." Every other citizen, everyone in between, accepted war rationing, and they all worked together for victory, leading ultimately to the troops in the front lines. All of them were part of a concerted effort to defend our nation and defeat our enemy.
In the same way, every believer in Christ is part of a similar, vast endeavor, striving toward a single goal. In World War II we won, in large part, by killing the enemy. In this war, we win by saving lives!
Our goal is to save lives, and you can think of "saving lives" spiritually and eternally like this: in the physical realm, one "ulti­mate evil" can undo a lifetime of good. No matter how many good deeds and wonderful works you have done, if you unlawfully, will­ingly, directly take the life of a single innocent person, then you will spend the rest of your life in prison or possibly face execu­tion. This one "ultimate bad" of murder will undo all the good in your life. And, in the worlds eyes, society often holds those who hunt down murderers in highest esteem. That is just the way the universe works.
In the spiritual realm, one "perfect good" can undo a lifetime of bad. The "ultimate good" of Jesus sacrifice upon the cross to pay the price for our salvation saves us spirituallyeternally. That one perfect good undoes a lifetime of bad. Think about that: every bad act in our livespast, present, and futureis forgiven if we accept the price that Jesus paid upon the cross. And in Gods eyes, those who save lives by bringing the gospel, the "good news" of salvation through Jesus, are held in highest esteem. That is the way the universe works.
As you begin to work your way through this book, renew your­self daily with the amazing insight, deep wisdom, and powerful Scripture provided by my dear brothers, Adam and Chad.
In my book On Combat, I introduced (and received a US Government trademark for) the concept of "sheepdog as a pro­tector." In On Spiritual Combat, Adam Davis and I took this model a step further, introducing the concept of "sheepdogs under the authority of the Great Shepherd." We are the hounds
of heavenGods faithful, loving, obedient sheepdogs. I love my master, the Great Shepherd. My love is all I have to give to him, and it is all he asks of me.
Will Rogers said, "If you get to thinking youre a person of some influence, try ordering somebody elses dog around." Thus, when the evil one comes for you and yours, look him in the eye and tell him he has no power over you. Just tell him, "Hey dude, Im not your dog." Read and rejoice daily in this book, my brothers and sisters in Christmy fellow sheepdogs under the authority of the Great Shepherd!
Lt. Col. (ret.)
Author of On Killing, On Combat, Assassination Generation, and On Spiritual Combat