Wednesday, April 14, 2010


More than one Christian author has noted that the sea of faith is sailed not on a luxury yacht but on a battleship. At least one has stated that from the way many believers react to high waves, an observer would think the battle was against God rather than the devil! The worst grumblers, and the most likely to defect completely when things get nasty, are those who have little personal experience with persecution or struggle; there's a reason why military forces insist their fighters show respect, work hard, and stay in top physical condition even when there's no immediate likelihood of being deployed to battle.

Most of us in the wealthier societies doubt that we'll ever be "deployed" in the sense of having to give up all we own or risk imprisonment or martyrdom. Most of us in the wealthier societies would rather not even seriously consider the possibility. Most of us in the wealthier societies don't list Matthew 24 or 2 Timothy 3:12-13 or the bloodier passages of Revelation among our ten favorite Scripture passages for pondering applications to our own lives.

Whether we realize it or not, though, even the most "privileged" believer is already deployed to intense battle on a different level--and how we react to the thought of "hard times" is one sign of how well armed we really are. The battle is our responsibility to "demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up [in our hearts] against the knowledge of God, and [to] take captive every thought [of ours] to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5). Our opponents in this fight--the flesh and the devil--find their best ally in our belief that there are earthly things we can't live without and earthly situations we can't live with. If we had true faith in God and His promises, we could say with confidence, "Even if the world suffocates in its own heat, even if the economy collapses and takes civilization with it, even if going to church becomes a capital crime, I know that God will bring me safe into His Kingdom where all earthly sorrows will be forgotten; so I need not be afraid to persevere in His work, for nothing in this world can really hurt me."

Anything else is sitting in the bunker playing cards and hoping that the battle will go away if we ignore it. The battle that may have our side on the defensive due to a shortage of soldiers.

We each of us, as Christians,
Are soldiers of the Lord:
Our shield is faith in Jesus,
The Scriptures are our sword,
Our armor is the Gospel--
Salvation and good news,
And truth and righteous living,
Must be the path we choose.

The foes who stand against us
Are not of mortal flesh;
No human eye can see them,
Their schemes no mind unmesh.
Their weapons are temptation,
Discouragement, and fear;
And when we face disaster,
Their evil hand is near.

We cannot fight the battle
By human strength alone;
God's angels are our allies,
Our power flows from His Throne.
Nor are our marching orders
All focused on defense,
To keep our own souls guarded,
Held safe behind a fence.

No, we are God's offensive
To storm the devil's ground,
To free the souls held captive
Wherever they are found:
The Kingdom forges forward
With Jesus in the lead,
And we are called to conquer
And rush to every need.

The battle is relentless,
But bound for victory;
Though some may fall in fighting,
Their souls are ever free
And blessed with Heaven's honors;
And someday soon the war
Will end in praise and glory
And peace forevermore!

No comments: