Walking Dead Men

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The young Belgian conscript probably licked his lips nervously. Just across the border hundreds of thousands of German soldiers and tanks prepared to ram against Fernand and his overmatched companions that memorable day of May in 1940. Who knew if he would still be living at days end?

He may have exchanged last-minute thoughts with his partner as they readied their machine gun for the coming onslaught. How do you prepare yourself for a day like this?

Finally hundreds of thousand of young men marched into action. Feelings of awe and foreboding swirled in Fernand as the German soldiers began to sing and lift their battle cry. It’s something when one voice cries confidently, but as the wave washed forward hundreds and thousands picked up the cry.

Fernand was taken prisoner but eventually escaped and spent most of the war working on trains, which became one of the loves of his life.

He never forgot the horrible fascination of those singing, yelling soldiers, though, and that was one of his “old man” stories that he repeated over and over.

Attacking Army

It struck me that the Church is similar to an attacking army. We sing about the victory the Lord won for us at the Cross. We talk strategy against the devil. I wonder if the demons don’t tremble as Christians loudly bind them in their prayers and proclaim to one another that Satan is a defeated foe.

That’s where the analogy breaks down though. Because after singing and celebrating the victory they are going to win, most Christians say the benediction and go home—way behind the front lines. “See you next week, Joe.” “Okay, Frank. It was great this morning wasn’t it?

And the next week, they show up (most of the time) and do what you do before an attack.

Hey guys. The battlefield isn’t in the church building! It’s out in the world where the devil holds his captives. Sadly, the only fights many Christians have are in the church against other Christians. The enemy waits out there!

So where do we go to actually get in a war?

–You know any widows and orphans that need help?
–How about people who are lost without the Lord Jesus. We have two ladies in our church about 75 years of age who go out on the streets with our evangelism teams. They seem to really believe the lost are lost eternally and are trying to do something about it.
–Are there any needs in your community that you can meet? Volunteer!
–Do you love your family and make yourself available for them? Can your teen talk to you about that problem without being blown out of the water with judgment?
–Any hospitals, nursing homes, or people who need help close to where you live?
–Would you be willing to represent Jesus anywhere He puts a need into your heart to respond?

Somewhere I heard that the best soldier is one who is already dead–in his mind he accepts the fact of his death–so he worries about carrying out orders during the battle and not about preserving his own life. A walking, running, dead man if you will.

That’s the kind of soldier the Lord Jesus looks for.

“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:34-37)

That last phrase haunts me. In one sense you become like the thing you give your life for. You become like the God … or gods … you serve. I once read that one of Elvis’ entourage gave his life to the Lord. He felt he should resign and do something else. According to him Elvis seemed to be pleased but added, “I’ll just stay here and keep on being Elvis.” The poor boy from Tupelo, Mississippi had become something else… Elvis.

Maybe the question we should ask is, “What have we received in exchange for our soul?” Many have sold out to have something—a person, security, wealth, recognition and glory. They are walking dead men and they belong to those things.

If those things come, they come, but that’s not our priority. We belong to the Lord. We’re “walking dead men.” Our lives are no longer ours. What matters is not our comfort and security or even our life, but the Lord Jesus and His will. He’s the Commander, not us. His will is what matters, not ours.

People like that follow up their Sunday morning battle cries with attacks against the enemy everywhere the Lord sends them during the week. Walking, talking, praising dead men and women made alive in their relationship to Jesus.


“There may be only 2 or 3 vocal critics and we can let those 2 or 3 change the flavor of our ministry and all of a sudden we start preaching out of a defensive, angry stance rather than out of a real Christlike, loving, positive stance.
” Pastor Craig Groeschel, (author of Confessions of a Pastor)

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