So…..What's the Point?

Musings from a Fellow Struggler

Archive for the tag “spiritual warfare”

Push Back

The harder Christians push back against issues like abortion and homosexuality (along with worldliness in general) the more intense the hatred and loathing of Christianity will become. That the Christian faith is the only true faith is proven by the increasing intolerance towards it while other almost barbarian religions are tolerated more and more. This will make it increasingly difficult to be a ‘closet’ Christian. We will either have to openly confess our faith in Christ or live a lie, both alternatives having eternal consequences.

I take some comfort from all this knowing that it’s always been this way for the Church of Christ somewhere in the world. We in America are fortunate to have enjoyed a long period of relative quiet with regard to persecution but I think those days are ending, and soon. I must emphasize strongly that the persecution of which I speak is for the sake of Jesus and because of our loyalty to Him, not some bizarre, out in left field (like snake handling) activity or off the wall prediction of the world’s end that heaps ridicule on, but not hatred of, Christians. In other words, sometimes what we think is persecution is merely people reacting to our stupidity and unpreparedness to deal with their questions or hypocritical living by talking about Jesus but not living for Him.

I’m not being a calamity howler; quite the contrary since I believe persecution brings about a strengthening and expansion of the Church by empowering its people through the Holy Spirit to stand strong in the face of adversity, exhibit God’s power to undo the works of the Enemy, and live holy lives in the presence of an increasingly dark world. Persecution galvanizes Christians and unifies us against a common foe and reduces our unnecessarily complicated lives to the simplicity of “…for me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21).

Well, this sort of talk is nothing new. There are many voices these days warning us to be prepared, to stand fast and give an account of our faith to all who will listen. As I’ve said before in another blog, the Church of Jesus is at war and has been since Pentecost. It is a war of words, of ideas, of truth over lies, of light overcoming darkness. In other parts of the world it is all that along with guns, torture and martyrdom thrown in. The question is whether we will push back when the time comes in our little part of the world or just keep silent and get pushed around. Anesthetized is the word, a numbness, a dullness, like being filled with novocain, this is what a Christian becomes if they allow an anti-Christ culture to bully them into submission. Not much chance of push back from these people.

If you don’t feel strong enough to endure this kind of battle you are in a great place because by ourselves none of us is up to the task. Push back anyway and know that “… in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)  All you need to do is push and the strength of the Lord does the rest.


Trench Warfare

Trench warfare, militant church. spiritual warfare, spiritual weapons, armor of God, fighting the good fight.  These and other terms depict  Christ’s Church as anything but passive or nicey nice.

There was a time in her history that the Christian church acted militarily to subdue its perceived enemies and acted on the assumption of God’s blessing for conquering His enemies. This came about from the sometimes unfortunate alliance of church and state where political and power agendas could be easily disguised as spiritual. And, given the power of the state with its standing armies the church could accomplish its ends without appearing sullied. Thus, so-called Christian imperialism was born and remains a source of contention, embarrassment, and cause for timidity for many churches and Christians to this day. However, the point here is simple- that in spite of past misconduct, the Church as the Body of Christ has always been called to battle, to fight the good fight, to die for the faith if necessary. By so doing it continues what Jesus started, a ministry of trench warfare, a messy foray into the depths of humanities propensity for both blatantly obvious and subtly enlightened evil. So, every local church, at least in my opinion, has a trench it is supposed to be fighting in for the cause of Christ and the advancement of the kingdom.

Now, I cannot say what specific trenches might be for specific churches. Each church is unique, its members placed by the Holy Spirit in that Body and no other which itself is cause for wonderment. The people in a church (I mean, of course, a Christ centered, Bible based congregation) might think they are there by choice or accident and the leadership might think they are there because of their ingenious programs.  But, the fact is, they are Christ’s people, saved by His blood, given gifts and placed there by the always mysterious machinations of His Spirit.

And I must emphasize it is trench warfare, it is a place where sin and evil is met head-on so to speak. We must think of ourselves as warriors, as aggressors against the Enemy and learn that behind every physical manifestation of evil and sin there are spiritual powers that cannot be overcome by anything other than spiritual weaponry.

So, the church and its leaders must set out to discover that trench they are to fight in, prepare themselves for battle, and then go on the offensive in the Name of Jesus.  Not any easy task, any of it really. Scary in fact because such adventures are usually into unknown territory but herein lies the secret of success. Any successful offensive is only brought about by the Lord Himself. What He asks of us is that we yield to Him so that we become His hands, feet, eyes, ears and mouth. He does the ministry, not us.  That is, if we lose sight that it is His ministry, His power, His cause, His Spirit by which we fight, I seriously doubt any of us will every engage in trench warfare. We will always have a shortcoming, a flaw, a secret sin, a less than dedicated heart that stand in the way of our full effectiveness; it might even the reason we don’t get involved in the first place. Or maybe we think ourselves to powerless, too old, to uneducated, to ill trained, to busy, to something to ever get involved in something like trench warfare. The fact is, however, that like it or not every one of us is in a fight; the difference between us is whether we simply find a hiding place in the trenches or whether we take up arms and fight back.

I have also noticed that given all the resistance to Christianity we might become apologetic for our beliefs rather than overwhelmingly confident we hold the truth about the ways things have been, the way things are, and the way things will be. I refer you to an earlier blog “Truth…What Truth?” for a discussion about this. The point is when you and I take a stand, it is a stand against something and for something.  Standing for the truth identifies who we are, standing against all untruth reveals the power that is ours through Him.

The upshot is that success or defeat in the trenches depends on whether we are led and empowered by His Spirit or whether we are pursuing our own agendas and empowered only by the flesh. Our lives will be a witness to which one of these options we choose.

Post Navigation