Wanted: Godly Leaders - The Warrior's Journey®

Wanted: Godly Leaders

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

181019-F-JV039-692. Photo by US Air Force is licensed under CC By 2.0

After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them–to the Israelites.” Joshua 1:1-2 (NIV)

Marines assigned 1st Marine Division, run along hills during the Dark Horse Ajax Challenge aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Aug. 20, 2015. The eight-mile course tested the Marines’ and Sailors’ endurance and leadership skills with trials spread across the San Mateo area.<br /> (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Will Perkins/Released)

God is calling men and women to serve as military leaders. Likewise, He is calling people from around the world to lead in a vast array of venues beginning with the basic family unit all the way to the largest corporations.

Military service is a unique calling. Charged with providing for our nation’s defense, the Department of Defense needs the best men and women available who are willing to wear the mantle of leadership.

Interestingly, the military profession continues to rank at the top of the most respected occupations. Despite the politics surrounding war and conflict, our nation still reveres its military. If you have served or are presently a member of our Armed Forces, congratulations for your work in the Profession of Arms!

We want to challenge you.

U.S. Army Ranger Spc. Jesus Delgado, assigned to the 10th Mountain Division, performs a low-crawl during the 2018 Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga. on April 13, 2018. The 35th Annual David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition 2018 is a three-day event consisting of challenges to test competitors' physical, mental, and technical capabilities. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Leron G. Richards)

What if we told you that your leadership potential is greater than you think or that the impact you can have on warriors, families, and the mission can be enhanced to levels far beyond the present? Would you be interested in exploring the how?

We’re not blowing smoke- not at all. The Bible is clear. God wants the same thing. Here’s an example. The verses shown above from the Book of Joshua illustrate one of numerous places in Scripture where God has called on a military figure to lead His people. Read Joshua 1 to get the big picture. The mission given to Joshua was a daunting one. Moses had led the Israelites for forty years but never reached the land promised to Israel by the Lord. Joshua was God’s chosen leader to accomplish that. It was going to be a difficult mission. The years under Joshua’s leadership would be characterized by constant fighting against fierce nations who presently occupied the land.

The Lord knew that Joshua could not handle the leadership challenges in his own strength. Joshua realized that, too. God gave him a promise with two important conditions. First, God told Joshua that his people would one day divide the inheritance promised to them, but he must lead courageously. Secondly, the Lord ordered Joshua to remain brave so he could lead the people in following all of the laws passed down through Moses. God concluded his encouragement by assuring Joshua that He would be with him wherever he would go.

Stop to consider your own experience as a military leader. Were there times when the mission assigned exceeded your human capacities to accomplish? Can you recall the stress, anxiety, and confusion you felt as you searched for answers? This happens to most leaders, at least once if not more often. If that experience hasn’t occurred yet, it most likely will.

Military Service Is a Noble Calling:

Sgt. Stefania Young, a U.S. Army Reserve Soldier with the 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), based out of Coraopolis, Pa., currently deployed to the U.S. Central Command, rap “aussie” rappels off of a tower during a professional development training at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, on July 31, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Chevele Crawford)

For centuries some have questioned whether the Profession of Arms is truly a calling approved by God. This view is not supported by the Bible. First, it is based on wrongful interpretation of the sixth commandment. The word in the King James version that is translated “kill” should have been translated “murder.” God has ordained civil authorities to maintain order in society. Part of that mandate calls for nations to defend themselves through warfare. Killing as a part of warfare is clearly permitted in Scripture. Dissenters, even whole denominations, are actually basing their argument on social or political grounds, not biblical ones.

Joshua was only one of many the Lord called to assume the mantle of military leadership. David, Samson, Deborah, and Gideon are just a few of the great military leaders who appear in Scripture. Many more are listed in the Bible though there is not much description of each. However, the evidence is clear. War has been a part of human history and will be so until Jesus returns. God understands that. Further support is found in Exodus in Moses’ song following the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea, Moses writes this: “The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name” (Exodus 15:3, NIV).

Joining the military is certainly not the right choice for everyone. Like any profession or line of work, there are important personal considerations that should be addressed before anyone chooses to join the armed forces. If you sense the Lord is directing you to become a military leader, rest assured that you are embarking on a noble calling, one approved by the Lord.

Let’s briefly review. First, the world needs leaders, and the military is no exception. Second, God calls men and women to serve as military leaders. This is evident in both biblical and secular history.

Third, God supports military leaders. He provides the wisdom, courage, and ability to serve effectively.

Last, He desires to see military leaders grow into godly leaders who maximize their impact on those whom they lead.

If you genuinely desire to be a more godly and effective military leader, you certainly can, but it won’t come easily. You must be committed to hard work and sacrifice. The great news is that your efforts will prove successful because the Lord has your back.

Let me close with this challenge from Joshua after decades of leading the nation of Israel. “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15, NIV).

https://www.flickr.com/photos/marine_corps/20858028171/ (By Marines, Licensed under US Govt Work)
https://www.flickr.com/photos/soldiersmediacenter/41912911242/ (By U.S. Army, Licensed under CC by 2.0)
https://www.flickr.com/photos/soldiersmediacenter/35648591104/ (By U.S. Army, Licensed under CC by 2.0)

The content of this Devotional comes from “Daily Strength for the Battle (You, God’s Word, 5 Minutes): Volume 6 Developing the Leader in You” (2020) and is copyrighted by Scott and Judy McChrystal. Used with permission.

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