Nature of an Army, Part 2: Change of Citizenship
Growing up in Albania under a communist government, Altin* heard a lot about God.
“God doesn’t exist. The Bible is a book of fables.”
“God is a crutch invented by weak people. We don’t need this any more.”
“Religion is the aristocracy’s means of numbing and subjugating people.”
“There is NO God.”
He heard it so often that he began to wonder. Why is my government so persistent in fighting a fable? If God really doesn’t exist, why do they need to keep saying this? Or is there something to religion, some truth the government doesn’t want us to know?
As a young man, Altin got permission to go work in Germany; there he managed to get his hands on a Bible in the Albanian language. He started reading and his mind began to open to the idea that there might be some truth to this “fable” after all.
Next he felt that he should go to North America and find work. He made his way to Spain and applied for papers to emigrate. He made enquiries but the door seemed totally closed. He spent a week or so at this one hotel, trying to cut a path for himself through all the red tape, but nothing was working.
One day he came back to his room dejected, feeling like he was at the end of the road. His efforts were all in vain. He kneeled down beside his bed and he cried to God, “If You are real, God, won’t you please show me somehow. Help me to find a way ahead.”
Altin doesn’t know if the picture was there all along –he’d just never seen it– or if it really did appear suddenly in front of him. But when he lifted his head after that prayer, there at the head of his bed was a picture of Jesus, with His arms reaching out as if toward him.
That day Altin surrendered his life to Jesus. Another soldier was born into the Army of the Lord.
The next day when he went back to the Embassy, God had made a way for him; he received his permission to come to Canada – where he joined a group of Christians.
(*name changed for privacy)
If we are subjects of the prince of this world, “that old serpent, called the devil”, there’s only one way out: we must die to the things that hold us here. We come to the end with our old SELF that constantly reaches out, like Eve, to take and taste–and become a slave to–the appealing fruit Satan constantly offers.
We come to God as helpless –no means of rescuing ourselves– and surrender our lives to this King who promises victory in this life and everlasting life with Him in paradise. We are born again into His kingdom. God has made this way for us through His son, Jesus.
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all…” See I Tim 2:3-6.
But we’re not here to please ourselves – we’ve died to that. We become His servants; He becomes our Master, Our Commander-in-Chief. We enroll in His army, committing ourselves to fight against that cruel prince who once held us prisoner, and is still holding others prisoner.
I Tim 2:4: “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”