If I were to tell you a man went off to battle without a gun to protect himself, you would think he was crazy. This is what I thought when I first heard the story of Desmond Doss. Someone introduced me to Desmond’s story many years ago. They were familiar with this amazing man who went off to World War II as a medic with the US Army armed only with his faith. Recently, Desmond’s story has been made into a major motion picture called Hacksaw Ridge.
Hacksaw Ridge is the name given to a cliff where Desmond Doss’s unit was sawed to pieces by intense Japanese enemy fire on the island of Okinawa. One of the things that makes Desmond’s story so compelling is he consciously decided to go to war unarmed. It’s one thing to have your gun blown out of your hands in battle, it’s a whole other thing completely to go to battle intentionally choosing not to carry a gun. In fact, the characters in this movie depict Desmond as crazy for not choosing to carry a weapon in combat.
This wasn’t the Desmond’s only battle. He also took part in the Battle of Guam, in the Battle of Leyte. When World War II was over Desmond Doss was awarded three Purple Hearts, two Bronze Stars for valor and the Medal of Honor. It is said that Desmond Doss stands out as unique among the men and women who have received the Medal of Honor. Meaning, most of our nation’s greatest heroes would say their stories pale in comparison to Desmond’s. Perhaps they would make that statement because their faith pales in comparison to Desmond’s faith. One of the things that makes Desmond’s story so impressive to me is this man’s great faith in Jesus. Desmond was willing to bet his life on what he believes. Are you?
It still happens everyday
Men and women still get up every morning and go off to battle without a weapon. The problem in this scenario is they don’t know they’re in a battle, or they forgot to bring their weapon. 1 Corinthians 10:3-4 describes life as a battlefield. This battlefield is not fought with bombs and bullets; you can’t win this war with a sword and shield. According to this passage in the Bible, this battle takes place at the spiritual level. Because this war takes place on a spiritual battlefield, it must be fought with spiritual weapons. You may be asking what kind of weapons will destroy spiritual strongholds.
The arsenal of these divine weapons is found in the Bible. In fact, the primary weapon is the Bible! 1 Corinthians 10:5-6 describes a divine weapon that will help you become obedient to the faith and change the way that you think. Obviously bombs can’t make you want to be obedient to Jesus. We all know bullets can’t change the way you think. The kind of weapons men create can only kill the flesh. This warfare recorded in the Bible is the kind of battle that takes place at the mind or the soul level (1 Peter 2:11). The war rages inside your heart (James 4:1).
Jesus wields a sword that cuts to the heart level. Jesus’s word is the sword that penetrates all the way to the bone. Revelation 1:16 calls Jesus’s word a “sharp two-edged sword”. In Hebrews 4:12 the Word of God is also referred to as a two-edged sword. This sword penetrates your thoughts and your heart. However, Hebrews 4:12 also tells us the sword of God’s Word is “living and active”. This phrase infers the Bible has the power of God within it. These are not just static words on a page; they carry the power of the Holy Spirit to God’s people. The Holy Spirit takes the words on the pages of the Bible and makes them powerful through God’s people as well.
Why would any warrior go off to battle without a weapon? It just doesn’t make sense. Here’s an even better question… Why would anybody get up and go to school or go to work tomorrow without reading the Bible? If the Bible is the “Sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17), you are defenseless on a spiritual battlefield if you aren’t getting into your Bible and getting your Bible into you. Tomorrow, before you get up and get dressed for school, spend a few minutes reading your Bible. Tomorrow morning, before you start your day with endless activities and children’s appointments, spend a few minutes reading God’s Word. Before you get up tomorrow morning and drive to the office, spend a few minutes working on who you are in Christ by meditating on the Bible. It’s the only weapon you need in this spiritual battle.