On January 13, 1945, Easy Company of the 101st Airborne Division was ordered to take the town of Foy, Belgium and clear out all German soldiers. As they started across the 200 meter open field, commanding officer Lieutenant Norman Dike froze and, instead of moving forward, he halted the troops. He couldn’t decide what to do next.
Sergeant Carwood Lipton rushed over and told Dike, “We’re sitting ducks. We can’t stay here or we will all die.” In the forest behind them, Captain Richard Winters noticed the situation right away. Taking charge he stepped up to the front of the line and yelled across the field, “Move forward, keep moving forward. You must move forward!”
Lieutenant Dike became even more frazzled as his men were being shot around him. General Winters gave orders for Lieutenant Ronald Speirs to replace Dike as commanding officer of Easy Company. That action may have saved many lives. The group started forward again under the leadership of Speirs and eventually took the town of Foy from the Germans.
Marching towards the enemy
Our General in charge has given us simple orders. We are to be on the move. We are to be building, growing and we have the promise that the gates of hell would not be able to withstand the church.
The NT church in Acts is a church of great advancement and action. They were not content to slow down. They were on the move!
Stalling in the field
Sadly, many churches are stalled and are easy targets for the enemy. Instead of a strong, unified front there is division, infighting, complacency and inaction. Speaking of Lieutenant Dike, Lipton said, “He wasn’t a bad leader because he made bad decisions. He was a bad leader because he made no decisions.”
Leaders need to lead. They need to be out front for others to follow. As Peter exhorts, they are to lead “by example.” I have heard from many people that one of the most frustrating things about leaders is when they don’t make decisions. Everything comes to a halt. When that happens the church is open to enemy attack.
Clarity in focus
A church in action is a church with a clear vision on what the orders are to be carried out. Often we get stuck in the mud when the focus of the church is not in the right place. It’s easy to say that our focus should be the Lord Jesus (and that is true) but practically how He leads His church requires specifics.
For example, the Lord wants the church to be active in the world around it by making disciples (Read the book of Acts for some good examples). How that is carried out in each location is going to be different. The church I attend is in a new affluent community with many young families. Our reach to them will look quite different from a low income or elderly community.
That’s where good leaders need to set the vision for the church. This should be done only after much prayer and seeking the Lord. It also should be communicated to the church often and with clarity.
Fighting the wrong enemy
One of Satan’s greatest triumphs is when he can cause God’s people to injure themselves. He loves nothing more than to divert their attention from fighting against him to fighting against each other. He uses pride, legalism and many other tactics to accomplish this.
Paul says to the Galatians, “If you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.” James says, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?
Fighting over useless opinions
A troubling reality that I hear about too often is when a church is fighting over opinions that have no eternal value. Things that are completely in opposition to the commands of Christ. Most of these things are not even in the Bible.
Many of these things we have covered in various articles on assemblyHUB and yet I shake my head when I hear they are still causes of division. Can we see the Lord Jesus saying to someone, “Well done my child. You defended the truth by correcting others on what to wear, what songs to sing, what instruments to use, who should pass out the emblems, how to sit, not to raise hands, how to worship, where to work”?
How do we move forward?
This answer is simple. We follow Christ. He’s not stopping his construction of the church. He’s on the move. He’s not fighting over useless opinions. He’s winning the world with the power of the gospel. He is sanctifying lives through the power of the Holy Spirit.
We move forward by stopping the attack against each other and focusing our sights on the real enemy of the believer. I pray for the assemblies that are stalled in the open field taking the hits of the enemy and losing good men and women.
Let us all fall before the Captain of our army and surrender to His leadership instead of trying to take the control ourselves.