When most of us hear the word “enlisted,” we probably think of someone who has been enrolled in the military. However, to enlist also means to engage in something. If we look at the word enlist this way, as a synonym for engage, what does this hymn look like?
We are all [engaged] till the conflict is o’er
Happy are we! Happy are we!
This interpretations says that we have chosen to be a part of this battle against evil and will be a part of this battle until it is over. Unlike the military, the gospel is an eternal commitment, not a contractual agreement for a specific number of years. If we choose to enlist with the Lord, we are choosing to be in his army until that day when Satan is put to rest. Not only have we committed ourselves to service, but we are happy to do so and are finding joy in the journey.
”Happy are we”
“We’re joyfully, joyfully marching…”
“Glad to join…”
Make no mistake about it, this is war. We are constantly battling the slings and arrows of the adversary. We are at war in our homes, in our neighborhoods, at our jobs, and Satan is using everything he’s got against us, from politics to pop culture. Here’s the important thing to remember, though. We are happy. This battle is a battle of good versus evil, and since we are on the Lord’s side, we are ensured a “bright crown” and eternal happiness. And in the meantime, we can find joy in the journey. We will “sing as we go,” in fact, because “Jesus, our Leader, ever is near./ He will protect us, comfort, and cheer.”
We are going to win this war. God says so, and as per my knowledge, God has never been wrong. He knows it’s going to get rough, and He knows it’s going to be dangerous, but He knows the outcome. “We shall gain the vict’ry by and by” (emphasis added).
So what exactly are we being asked to do in this battle? We aren’t lobbing hand grenades, we’re not digging trenches, we’re not flying fighter jets, and physical loss of life is nonexistent. Unlike the Israelites, the Nephites or the Jaredites, we aren’t asked to pick up weapons of war to defend “Our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children” (Alma 46:12).
We are, however, asked to defend these things with our mouths. I find it interesting that when Joseph Smith was offering a simple prayer in what is now known as the Sacred Grove, Satan attacked him by exerting, ”such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak” (Joseph Smith-History 1:15). Jeffrey R. Holland stated that, “[Satan's] effort to stop the work will be reasonably well served if he can just bind the tongue of the faithful” (We Are All Enlisted, October 2011 General Conference). It is the words of others that, by and large, attack the Lord and His faithful soldiers (or disciples) and it is the words we speak that are our protection against such evils.
Let us remember this, and remember that our biggest advantage is to open our mouths, and thusly, fight with all we’ve got. As such, let us indeed “sing as we go,” let us “rally round the standard” and “Hark! [to] our Captain.” Let us remember that “the sound of battle [is] sounding loudly and clear.” Let each of us who is enlisted, or engaged, in the gospel of Jesus Christ, happily join the battle and speak up for the winning side, the side of the Lord, and let us do so now. There is no time to wait! To battle, with a smile on our faces!