Christ, Our Banner
by Terry Broome
In a time of war, a banner or flag has traditionally been used to rally troops forward into battle. Furthermore, it’s a means of showing whose side we’re on. The Olympics open and close with the wonderful parade of teams carrying their flags from the various countries represented. What pride it causes within the spectators as they see their “banner” coming by. When churches send their youth (or adults) to participate in a convention and a banner from their home congregation leads the group in, one can’t help but get caught up in the emotion of it.
In the spiritual battles that Christians face daily, we certainly need such a banner to rally us onward, and to declare to the world around us whose side we’re on. It’s the duty of each of us to let the world know who we serve and what we stand for, not in a defiant or arrogant manner, but with kindness yet unashamed. All too often Christians fail to unfurl their banner and the world ends up not knowing exactly where we stand. We must not leave the slightest doubt “whose we are, and whom we serve.”
The Psalmist David wrote in Psalms 60:4 “Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth.” We have a flag to follow, and a cause to rally around. The banner is Jesus, and the cause is Truth! Isaiah prophesied of the coming Savior in such a beautiful way: Isaiah 11:10, “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; To it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.”
Our song writers have captured these thoughts in various words: “There’s a royal banner given for display to the soldiers of the King; as an ensign fair we lift it up today, while as ransomed ones we sing…..”; and another song, “His banner over us is love, our sword the Word of God….”
Jesus is our banner, or ensign. We have someone to follow, and a cause to rally behind. There are a number of ways in which we can unfurl our banner. Certainly, by word of mouth one can uphold the name of Jesus as well as share with the world that we’ve found redemption in Christ. “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so….” (Psalms 107:2)
We can also wave our banner high by the manner of life that we live. If all Christians were under the influence of the Gospel there would be something in their speech and their conduct that would distinguish them from others. Peter’s words of I Peter 2:9 remind us that we are “chosen…to shew forth the praises of Him who called you…”
Declaring ourselves, and showing our allegiance to our “banner” may draw some fire. Jesus didn’t escape criticism and persecution, even to death. At the same time, this open avowal of our faith is our best security against the entanglements with the world. It will also give us courage, which in turn is contagious. Others will be encouraged to stand as well. May we lift high this God-given banner in these most trying and testing times!!
The author can be reached for comments at 256-574-2489.