It was founded as an outreach, a mission, a cause.
The mobile Army wasn’t created to be another church but rather a fighting force equipped to fight sin and its stranglehold on humanity. Its members were to fight side by side for the purpose of relieving human suffering while administering the annocuational cure which is Christ to the dying soul. Life replacing death.
Humility walks in close step to the sounds of marching feet in an Army of spiritual combatants. Without this vital component, one might have the temptation to become self-righteous and prideful. But this fight, if total commitment is the goal and holiness is the aim, offers little time for selfish desires and ambitions.
Thus, The Salvation Army is not for everybody. Within its ranks there are few benefits of receiving human praise and awards of personal prestige. Payment for services as Officers, Soldiers and Lay persons are minimal at best and carry with it responsibilities of a full-time commitment. If one were searching for a higher paying position which afforded more luxury and freedom The Salvation Army certainly would not be for everybody in search of these physical comforts. If the mission is at the forefront, which is also an extension of the Great Commission, such desires for personal acclaim and earthly wealth is diminish over time. Don’t get me wrong, however, these temptations will still occasionally occur, but if Holiness and humility are present as tools for utilization in a Soldier’s armor then that soldier can withstand this assault with the power of the Lord.
…but it (The Salvation Army) is for everyone!
In recent years struggles have arisen. Lifestyle questions have been raised. Accusations (even at times correct) have been made. Yet if the mission is still intact, and the purpose for which The Salvation Army was established is still sought after, then the true love of Christ will shine and be seen by all who are seeking love and acceptance.
Christ came for the whosoever, and as we continue our fight against sin and its stranglehold on humanity we must not lose our identities as first Children of God and secondly Soldiers of the Army. When we can look at others through the lens of love as Christ first loved us, we then can see both sinner and saint still very much in need of hope and grace. The sinner and the saint do not need more condemnation and warfare of the spiritual kind flung at them as if they are the opposing enemy. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12.
If we are an Army marching ever forward we must consider what it means to truly “march forward” while engaging the REAL enemy of this world that seeks to envelope the hapless victims in sin, hopelessness, and death.
I don’t mean to sound harsh, but in warfare, even in this spiritual fight, we need Soldiers and Officers who are willing to engage the enemy for the sake of others and with the power of the Holy Spirit…we do not need more sidelines cheerleaders, pretenders, or the “half-committed”. It’s either all or nothing.
The Lord doesn’t want a part-time commitment or what is MOST convenient for us. He wants from us a full surrender, and in our full surrender we may be lead to do some revolutionary things in our time. It may be uncomfortable. It may stretch us. But extending God’s love, hope and grace to our communities and fields of service will mean life or death to ones in which we invest our time, talents and treasures.
-Just a thought.