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January 12, 2024 | Daily Devotionals | January 12

Soldiers, Not Slaves

Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir. Galatians 4:6-7

I recently re-watched the classic film Bridge on the River Kwai, featuring Alec Guinness (the same actor who introduced us to Obi Won Kenobi In 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, before Ewan MacGregor took over the role). In the film, Guinness plays Colonel Nicholson, the commanding officer of a group of British soldiers who have been captured by the Japanese. Despite the brutality and abuses suffered in the jungle prison camp, Guinness demands a high standard of discipline from his soldiers.

Major Saito, the Japanese camp warden, tells the British soldiers they are “prisoners, rather than soldiers.” And when one of Nicholson’s junior officers insists the Nicholson give in to some of the Japanese demands, he refuses. “We are not a gang of slaves, but soldiers, British soldiers, even in captivity.”

As men fighting to walk with Christ in a dark world, we need to remember that we are citizens of God’s kingdom (Philippians 3:20), not slaves in the enemy’s camp. While this present world seems in chaos and far from God, we can live within the boundaries Christ has laid out for us. Because of our identity as citizens (rather than slaves), we can live today in the power and in the glory of His kingdom.

In the Japanese prison camp, Nicholson’s men were able to remain disciplined and unified because they saw themselves as soldiers, not slaves. And so it is with us. Your identity and mine are rooted in the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:2), and it delivers us from the law of sin and death under which this world operates. God wants us fighting fit in mind, body, and spirit. This means soaking in His Word, surrendering our own desires, and walking the road with other men who crave the same.

Peace comes at a cost—it will cost you your ego, your control, and your agenda. But what God has for you is immeasurably better. You’ll see.

Father, I am not a slave but a son and heir—redeemed and ready for battle.

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