The wrong battle

There is a lot of fear in our society ranging from the coronavirus to the uncertainty of our future specifically in government and politics. Social media has enabled fear-driven folks to fight battles they will never win and alienate one another into camps. It’s understandable that those who do not believe In Jesus Christ as God would be driven in such a way, but I am baffled at the rest of us who carry the name of Christ as our identity. Why are we fighting the wrong battles and why are we fighting those battles with the wrong creatures? Ephesians 6 is quite clear that the battle is for our soul, not flesh and blood. It is against the unseen evil powers of Satan and the rulers and principalities he influences. Yet, we who claim Christianity believe in bludgeoning unbelievers and believers alike with swords of morality. We use scripture, key word “use”, to swing wildly at anyone who opposes not only our claim of righteousness but even our political viewpoint. We miss out on the opportunity for scripture to be used by God as a surgeon’s scalpel (to quote Spurgeon), and instead attempt to wield it as a weapon to protect our own sense of comfort and security. When I read John’s gospel, I’m taken aback at the multitudes that follow Jesus around, but never truly follow him. They want miracles, they want bread, but they don’t want the Way, the Truth, or the Life which is Christ. If you have a hard time believing what he said about the “narrow way” to God, you only need to see it crystalized in the large crowds who gathered around Jesus in his day and the handful of people who actually sought to know him and be known by him. This seems to be where we are today as well. I hear people lament the fact that the latest generations have walked away from the church and believe it is the worst thing, but what if it is the best? What if generations are walking away from a prostitute masquerading as the church? I hear Christians lament the loss of American freedoms and believe this is the worst thing that can happen. But what if it is the best thing for the church? What if American freedom is the stumbling block to people actually believing in Christ? I’m not saying that such freedom isn’t a blessing from God. I believe all good things come from him, but I also believe in a stewardship that goes far beyond the money you tithe. God blessed this nation with freedom, but to what end? Is it really the pursuit of happiness as we know it? God doesn’t give us good gifts so that we can live happy lives to the fullest here on earth. He gifts us so that we will steward (manage) it for his Glory. But many Christians would have you believe that these freedoms are for us and our own personal comfort and security. Of course, we know that’s not true as we see the explosion of the church in China and Iran where following Christ actually gets you killed or imprisoned. Jesus challenged us not to fear what or who can kill the body…ie…covid, socialism, facism or whatever evil “ism” you can think of. He warned us to fear the one who can kill the soul.
Another thing I’m taken aback with Jesus in the gospels is how many times he looks right into the hearts of those he’s speaking to. We know in his Sermon on the Mount that the heart is where sin resides and operates before it ever becomes an outward action. But just look at how he often he reads the heart of people. The woman at the well, the Pharisees, and his own disciples are exposed time and time again. Also, the great multitudes of “followers” hearts are exposed as those who want only what blessings can be given them. Today, thanks to social media, we see the hearts of believers exposed in their posts, comments, and likes. Maybe we should fight a different battle. The one for our own souls. Don’t believe the heresy that told you if you merely repeated a prayer that your soul would escape damnation. What I mean by that is, don’t look back to that prayer as evidence of the safety of your soul, rather look to the fruit that is being produced in your soul today. Better yet, ask Godly brothers and sisters around you to identify such fruit and do the same for them. Most importantly, believe that the war has already been won and Jesus has defeated death and the grave and by the Holy Spirit, fights the battle within us until we draw our last breath. Don’t fight one another over temporal things like politics, stand alongside those as they fight their own personal battles and be prepared to lose it all to gain your own soul.

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