Built for Battle

A few years ago, Deb and I took a tour of the battleship USS Alabama, retired from service in 1962 and now docked in Mobile Bay near Mobile, Alabama. It was quite interesting since both of our fathers served with the United States Navy during WWII.

In its active time, the USS Alabama was a temporary home to 1,800 sailors and officers. It was fascinating walking inside and around the various decks of this massive ship and envisioning what it must have been like in the midst of a battle.

The USS Alabama had everything needed for an extended assignment. This included a barber shop, a mess hall, sleeping quarters, a sick bay, a post office, and a small recreation area. Nothing was fancy or nicely decorated, just your simple “battleship gray.” Functional (and hard to mess up), but not beautiful. Everything was designed around the purpose of the ship—to carry out the mission set before them and to defeat their enemies in battle. The giant guns, ammunition, and communication systems all illustrated the seriousness of the danger involved.

In stark contrast, when you think of it, a cruise ship is quite different from a battleship. A cruise ship is designed for comfort, for relaxing, for entertainment, for sightseeing and for eating. It is beautifully decorated and lavishly furnished. But that’s because it is designed around its purpose—vacation!

A while back, my good friend Chuck asked me a series of questions that got me thinking about the differences between these two types of ships and how they compare to the church.

“Bob, is the body of Christ in America today functioning more like a cruise ship or a battleship? How about the average Christian individual? What about you and me? What ‘floats your boat’?”

The reality is that sometimes I forget that I’m in a battle and that God has called and equipped me for His mission. I’m called to be a battleship, but I’m trying to function like a cruise ship. Because I’m distracted by the comforts that this world tries to provide, I forget about the battle. I get “off mission.”

The spiritual forces around me are real. In Ephesians, Paul reminds us that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). I want to stand firm against the schemes of the devil and press on for the advancement of God’s Kingdom in a dark land. I need others around me to remind me to put on the full armor of God and then stand together as fellow soldiers for the King!

The choice is there for each of us to make—to be either a cruise ship or a battleship. It is essential to choose wisely if you want to impact lives for Christ!

How about you? Are you more focused on comforts, relaxation, and entertainment or are you committed and dedicated to the spiritual battle? Is there anyone in your “fleet” that is in need of some encouragement through his or her battle?

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