In a war, of any kind, there are decisions to be made, battle lines to be drawn, and weapons to be fired.
It is imperative that we correctly identity the enemy!
If a watchman is given a certain area to patrol, and he sees something moving in the brush, and that thing–whatever it is–is coming toward him, what should he do? Should he fire without first identifying the enemy clearly?
No! Otherwise he risks firing on a ‘friendly’, and doing harm to his comrade, his unit, and himself.
I’ve never been in that actual ‘war’ situation, but I would imagine it’s sometimes hard to hold your fire until you can identify who (or what) is coming at you. Every impulse you have may be to fire–sight unseen–to be ‘safe’.
Spiritually speaking, this kind of ‘battle’ plays out all the time…and we Christians often mis-identify our ‘enemy’ and shoot at the wrong object.
Who, after all, is our ‘enemy’, but satan…the devil and all his demonic host. He is “a liar, and the father of lies”, and a “murderer” (John 8:44), the “accuser” (Job 1:6,2:1; Revelation 12:10), a “deceiver”(2 John 1:7), and the enemy (1 Peter 5:8).
He attempts to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10)anything that God wants to do in this world and through His people.
He often animates and inspires people to do his will…but they don’t know what they’re doing. They are duped, deceived, and enslaved, but they think they’re free! They willingly cooperate with him, thinking he’s their ally…but they are simply pawns, and find out too late that they are enslaved by him.
Edmund willingly went to the White Witch
in CS Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe;
These are great stories, but the reason is that they are true to life in some ways!
Many willingly walk into the influence of the enemy, without knowing it.
BUT…and this is huge: They are Not the enemy!
This is part of what Paul meant when he wrote, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
We do wage war…but not against our brother and sisters, or our coworkers, or Democrats, or Republicans.
Our war is against the enemy of our souls, who tries to deceive and distract from God’s revealed will. (Incidentally, that’s how we know it’s ‘the enemy’ behind it–their stand goes against God’s revealed will as found in His Word.)
Knowing this, how are we to fight this war?
- Identify the enemy–satan.
- Identify the Truth of God that is being undermined, and
- Show the love of God to the person who’s opposed to you. Help them to understand that God’s will is the best thing for them! God is not ‘holding back’ on them (the lie that the serpent told Eve in the garden), but rather, God wants to give them Real Life! His will for them is, not coincidentally, the ‘best way to the best life’ possible! Jesus said, “the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that they (His followers) might have Life…to the Full!” (John 10:10)
It really does make sense…if I am living under His control, His guidance, His power, and His love, my life is going to ‘make sense’. It’s going to ‘work’ the way it was designed to. This does not mean that we have no problems, trials or pain–after all, we life in a fallen world–but it does mean, in general, that IF I allow the Lord to direct my life, it’s going to go better than those who simply want to live for the moment, at the whim of a lost culture.
That is why it is crucial for Christians, as we try to influence our culture, not do so by ‘attacking’ the individuals who are opposed to us, but rather, by sharing the love and wisdom of God and inviting people to experience His blessing as they surrender to His Lordship and wisdom.