Wars and rumors of wars. The news has been filled with it this month. So was my personal life.
It’s been on my mind how full scripture is with military metaphors, and for good reason. Any way you look at it, we’re surrounded by warfare.
We are hammered daily with doubt and discouragement. Battered by the temptation to jealousy or anger.
Our children sometimes only need to walk into the same room as a sibling for war to break out. Never mind what they face when stepping into the four walls of school.
Hurt and heartbreak come from all sides. Sometimes it’s a stray image we see, other times it’s God putting us in a place to perform a task we do not understand, to fulfill a purpose we cannot fathom.
Interesting that earlier this month marked the Jewish new year, known as Rosh Hashanah, or the Feast of Trumpets. A trumpet—a shofar, or ram’s horn, in ancient Biblical times, not the brass thing we know today—could be used as a call to worship or to sound an alarm. Heaven knows we have plenty to worship God for, or to warn others about. So often, though, I find myself so distracted with the battle within, I forget to both worship and warn.
And what am I fighting? Most of the time, it’s my own nature—that impulse to respond to situations and other people out of pride or selfishness. What’s up for debate is how often I’m influenced by the very real enemy of our souls.
That isn’t to say every difficulty we experience is spiritual warfare. Or is it? If the core of the problem is a “disturbance in the Force”—meaning we’re either out of alignment with the Spirit of God, we’re being “leaned on” by something beyond ourselves, or it’s otherwise traceable to spiritual factors, then by all means, yes, we can call it that.
People offer all sorts of advice or seeming solutions, but this is something we’re more or less bound to face every day of our lives. One thing that I heard years ago, which has always stayed with me, is that while we grow up hearing strains of “Onward, Christian Soldiers,” it’s enough—no, more than enough—just to stand.
And how can that be? Well, as I was reminded this past weekend, we do not fight FOR a position of victory. We are fighting FROM a position of victory. Christ has already done the work on the Cross. When He spoke the words, “It is finished,” redemption became an immutable reality. His resurrection only sealed it.
No matter what might conspire to distract us from the truth of that.
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6, NKJV)