I recently read an intriguing book entitled “The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington,” by Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch. Learning in a random book’s footnote of a plan to assassinate General Washington, Mr. Meltzer researched and discovered enough information to fill this entire book, of which the setting was the war itself, with an interesting sidenote being the formation of the first counterintelligence agency of the United States.
At the beginning of the war, no one really knew for sure what the end result of the conflict was hoped to be. Some of America’s leaders just wanted King George to give the colonies a voice in their own government. They were hoping for a better relationship with and better treatment by King George and the mother country. Many, if not most, were resistant to the idea of pulling away from England entirely to form a free and independent country. They did not even know what that looked like, as there was no other such country in the world.
If the leaders had still not made up their own minds, it is not surprising that their army did not know why they were fighting, which was revealed to the good general by the men’s behavior. After recovering Boston from the British, the general had taken his army to New York where they had to wait for months. With many soldiers being away from home for the first time, the temptations of the city were too much for many.
Even with the work of building forts and attempting to learn the art of war before facing the most formidable military force in the world, there was still time for these young men to spend drinking, fighting, visiting the red light district and even being bought off by agents persuading them to join the British when the war began again. Many were not committed to the cause of freedom, as that had not been spelled out to them. As author Brad Meltzer explained, “The Continental Army [needed] something to fight for, not just something to fight against.”
Finally, on July 9, 1776, Gen. Washington received his copy of the Declaration of Independence that the Continental Congress had painstakingly written, then published and sent to the king of England and the colonies. He had to have been greatly encouraged, to realize that the country’s statesmen had made the decision to fight for freedom for all in a country of their own making. When the general had the Declaration read to the men, they cheered and promptly destroyed the huge statue of King George that had been so offensive to the oppressed peoples of the 13 colonies, now to be called states.
They now had a cause. Those who were patriots, not blindly loyal to Great Britain, were easily convinced and became committed to that cause. They had also seen their leader putting himself last and in harm’s way so many times for them that they became totally committed to him. Lastly, they were so compelled by their loyalty to Washington and to the cause of liberty that they fought faithfully and fervently a very long war that ended in freedom and the birth of the United States of America.
My thoughts landed on the old hymn, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” which is what this nation was formed to be. Here are the first and last stanzas of this enduring hymn written in 1861:
“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord; He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword; his truth is marching on.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea with a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me; As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free! While God is marching on.”
The hymn’s first line above was quoted by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as the last words he ever spoke in public before he died from an assassin’s bullet the next day. He had fought his good fight for a good cause.
What is the best “good cause?” Having become convinced that Jesus Christ not only was, but is, the living Son of God who died on the cross for his sins, if one is convicted of his sins, repents and is converted, he is “born again” of the Spirit of God. He then needs to become committed to making Jesus Christ Lord of his life, compelled to “fight the good fight of faith,” (I Timothy 6:12) and to “contend for the faith once delivered to the saints,” (Jude 3 and 4).
What does that look like here in today’s America? Christians have become the enemy and our voices are being shut down on every hand, with the “cancel culture” and censorship becoming common means to that end. In some places, it has become difficult to even gather to worship. We must decide before it gets worse of what our “good cause” consists and what it means to “fight,” and “to contend for the faith,” as Paul and Jude admonished believers.
Every fight must be led by the Commander, so prayer is imperative first. Then another hymn comes to mind, as “Onward, Christian Soldiers,” written in 1865, encourages the “Church of God,” following Jesus Christ, to move “like a mighty army,” “against the foe,” the foe being Satan, the enemy of God and man. Giving glory to God, being constrained by love, consecrated for war, and compelled by their commitment to their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, this army cannot be defeated, but fights, knowing victory has been promised.
Two things must be considered and guarded against—deception of many kinds and the temptation to yield when persecuted. Again, I say, we must decide early on what we will do. Will we stand firm in the faith, for Christ, for the truth as written in the Bible of which we have become convinced? Or will we be of those who will fall away from the faith, because of sin or just folding under pressure?
By the way, to add to the other convincing information concerning the “irrefutable, objective verity,” or truth, of the Bible, I just learned of scientific DNA studies of the last five or so years that prove that all mankind is descended from one man and one woman, and not in an evolutionary way. The scientists must either admit that this is what the Bible has been saying all along, or they will try somehow to explain it away. We Christians, with the Spirit of God in our hearts, do not have to have this additional “proof,” but it doesn’t hurt to have it in our arsenal of reasons why we believe.
Let us be convinced, convicted, committed, consecrated, and compelled to live for Christ, commune with Him, praise Him, and fight for God and His Kingdom!
Live for Jesus! He’s coming soon! You may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 601-635-3282.