Recently, Sahara Reporters wrote a very interesting article concerning the soldiers of Nigeria. In the article, Sahara Reporters claimed that Nigeria’s army chief, Turkur Buratai, blamed a lack of morale on the part of Nigerian soldiers on the front line for their losses against Boko Haram.
A few days later, though, Buratai commended Nigerian soldiers for their courage in fighting Boko Haram and other terrorists. While this seems like a very back and forth message, and it is a subject that I do not know really anything about, I gather that Buratai is commending the soldiers, while also being brutally honest. To encourage them and exhort them to greater success, perhaps?
Whatever he is doing, it reminded me of how Jesus can be towards us, sometimes. Not at all that He goes back and forth… but that sometimes, He rebukes, chastens, and challenges us. There is a clear example of this in Revelation, as Jesus speaks about the “lukewarmness” of the Laodicean church in Revelation 3:14.
“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.”
(Revelations 3:15-19, NKJV)
This is not meek-and-mild baby Jesus. This is Jesus, outright rebuking this church, and then telling them what to do to leave their sorry situation. And I think that this has somethings we can glean from it.
Because Jesus Loves us so much, He is not afraid to rebuke us. Quite the contrary. Hebrews says, “As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father?” (Hebrews 12:7, NLT). But this rebuke is not purely to make us feel condemned; rather, it is done in perfect Love, seeking restoration, conviction, and repentance.
After all, we are soldiers in the Lord’s army! And we have a Great Commander who is not afraid to take us higher and deeper in this great fight called life. May we, just as Nigeria’s soldiers, receive the messages of our Commander—and gain morale in this fight, knowing that Jesus has already won the victory.
Do you know Jesus?
Jesus, God Incarnate, came to this earth to save us. Learn more about what this means, and what it means for you, here.
Please pray for (find the prayer sheet here)…
- The Nigerian military, that they would be encouraged and strengthened in their fight against Boko Haram.
- The Chibok girls, and Leah Sharibu.
- That we would all keep the faith and stay close to our Great Commander, Jesus.
Thank you for your prayers!