One of the most legendary fighting forces in military history is the U.S. Army Rangers, the elite fighters of that branch of the armed forces. Their fame and lore is derived from many true stories of valor and bravery. The modern Rangers began service in World War II, though their heritage is traced back to the early 17th Century.
In World War II, Darby's Battalion infiltrated the German lines in Sicily and wiped out nearly all of a "German parachute regiment during close in, night, bayonet and hand-to-hand fighting" (Ranger Handbook, ii). Two other Ranger battalions were in action on D-Day, landing at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, and engaged in bitter fighting that allowed the allies to breakthrough and drive inland from the beaches they invaded. There, their motto was formed, that "Rangers lead the way." "Merrill's Marauders," as other Ranger units serving in the Pacific Theatre were known, were volunteers of "a high state of physical ruggedness and stamina" who were to come from jungle-trained and tested units (ibid.).
The official 75th Ranger regiment website speaks of their many attributes, like physical strength, intelligence, toughness, courage, and discipline. They state, "Rangers are self-starters, adventurers, and hard chargers" (www.goarmy.com). They are model soldiers who have it engrained in them to never quit. They are soldiers of personal excellence and character, on and off duty.
While these soldiers are among the most elite to have ever fought and died for the freedoms we enjoy, there is another group of soldiers whose mission is greater, whose character must be more outstanding, and whose potential peril outweighs all others. They are the soldiers about whom Paul speaks in Ephesians six. They fight "against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places" (6:12). This formidable enemy is led by none other than a devil whose schemes (6:11) have eternally defeated the majority of mankind in human history to have ever faced him. Defeating him and his forces requires divinely designed and issued armor (6:10, 13-17). Souls are in the balance, and the Lord needs us to rescue them. Eternity is what is at stake. How we live and conduct ourselves in this world spells the difference in our success and failure. Romans 12:2 urges Christians not to be conformed but be transformed. Are we being led by the world, or are we spiritually those "who lead the way"? The Lord needs nothing from us that exceeds this!