Retired Lt. Col. Allen West traveled to Liberty University recently to speak with students at convocation about what it means to truly be a “Champion for Christ.”
As a third-generation combat veteran and lifelong Christian, Lt. Col. Allen West (Ret.) has lived his life by a code of conduct and core values based on family, faith, tradition, service, honor, fiscal responsibility, courage, and freedom. But he also has 10 go-to Bible verses that he relies on continuously.
During his convocation speech, West explained that these 10 verses have been instrumental in helping him be a Champion for Christ throughout his adult life. This included during the times when he served in Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm and in Iraq during the War on Terror; served in elected office as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, helped to advance conservative Christian principles in the culture; and got married and raised a family.
Liberty University’s mission is, of course, “Training Champions for Christ.”
A champion, West noted, is defined in the dictionary in two ways. First, it is “a person who has defeated or surpassed all rivals in a competition.” He explained that Christians are “engaged in an incredible competition. It is light versus darkness. It is spiritual versus secular.”
Secondly, a champion is “a person who fights or argues for a cause on behalf of someone else.” By attending Liberty University, he said, “you’re being trained to go out there to be hands and feet of Jesus Christ. You’re being trained to go out there and fight for this cause, this thing that we call the Judeo-Christian faith heritage in the United States of America.”
West told students that he keeps his 10 verses, written out on 3-by-5-inch index cards, with him at all times, so he can constantly study and refer to them. He encouraged students to do the same, but he suggested that they dig deep into God’s Word during their time at school and find their own 10 verses that will help support their personal mission to become and remain Champions for Christ.
“If you don’t want to have your own Top 10, I grant you permission to use mine,” he said.
Col. West’s Top 10 verses are, of course, a good resource for every Christian who wants to be a “Champion for Christ,” so we present those verses (NASB1995) to you here:
“‘No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’”
West told students that the first step in being a Champion for Christ is to have the requisite foundation. He explained that in this passage, God is telling Joshua that Scripture, the Book of the Law, is his foundation for achieving the mission he has been tasked with. West noted that in addition to studying Scripture to be a Champion for Christ, young people need to read and study the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution, which are the foundational documents of America.
“There is no other nation in the world that was founded on the premise that the individual is sovereign, West explained. “And the individual is sovereign in the United States of America because you receive your rights, your freedoms, your liberties from a sovereign God. That’s what it says in the Declaration of Independence, so you must have that foundation, that firm understanding of the Word of God, and that firm understanding of the rule of law, the Constitution of the United States of America.”
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.”
West encouraged students to fully trust God’s provision, knowing that He will never leave them nor forsake them, while also trusting His promise to direct their paths.
“‘No weapon that is formed against you will prosper;
And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
And their vindication is from Me,’ declares the Lord.”
“If you’re gonna be a Champion for Christ, you should be emboldened,” West stated, adding that meditating on God’s Word, as well as on the Constitution, should give students the boldness to respond to critics in our current culture war.
“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”
West explained that we do not always know what God has planned and His plan may not be what we want. “I don’t know where I’m going to be five years from now, but I know where I’m supposed to be right now, and I’m supposed to be right here before you all, inspiring you to understand what it means to be a Champion for Christ because we need you on this ideological battlefield, to continue on the work that started here some 52 years ago.”
“He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?”
West admonished students to carry themselves in a way that shows they are Christians. He encouraged them to be careful who they hang out with and also told students not to get wrapped up in the destructive ideology of social justice. He argued that social justice “is just the progressive socialist, secular humanist, way of talking about the imposition of equality of outcomes. True justice is found in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
West encouraged students to always remember that through Christ, Christians have already won the battle. Life may not be easy, but Christ promised us “that we would be persecuted for His name’s sake, but that through Him we can overcome.”
“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
“We had a saying in the military: ‘Warriors moved to the sound of the guns. Warriors don’t run away from the fight.’”
With that in mind, West added, “One of the things that you all need to understand as young people is that adversity will bring about your strength and your courage.”
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?”
West told students, “If you’re here at Liberty University, where the purpose ties into the Great Commission, where their task is to train you to be a Champion for Christ, then that’s your purpose. Every single day of your life when you wake up, you are training to be a Champion for Christ. And you must understand that God is for you if you accept that mantle, [so] nothing can be against you.”
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
West told students that this verse means “you can go out and you can do all things even when there’s an obstacle, even when there is a trial or tribulation, you can still do all things, because He encourages you by giving you the perseverance, by giving you the character, by giving you the hope that you can continue on with.”
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Finally, West encouraged each student to “be a happy warrior” and to stand up against the devil. “Every single day you should wake up and be committed in being a Champion for Christ,” he said. “The devil is a coward, the devil is a liar but you worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who is the way, who is the life, who empowers you in all of these things. He is making you a Champion.”
Interested in pursuing a fully accredited biblically-based education? Liberty University has been training students to serve as “Champions for Christ” in their respective professions across the industrial spectrum for over 50 years! With over 350 residential academic concentrations, 20 NCAA Division 1 athletic programs, an unparalleled community, several opportunities to serve domestically and abroad, and an unapologetic Christian worldview, your experience at Liberty University will prove far beyond a standard education. Apply now!