Sunday, January 19, 2014

War - What is it Good For?

Do you remember that song from the 60's/70's?

I had a couple of events merge in real time last week and cause me to sit down and really think about warfare....actual warfare and spiritual warfare.

One of the things that has been in the news a lot lately is Operation Redwing and the story of Marcus Luttrell.  Marcus is a NAVY SEAL who has written a book entitled The Lone Survivor which documents the events of Operation Redwing in which he and three other Navy SEALs  were on mission to locate, get as much information on and possibly kill a Taliban/Al Qaeda operative who was hiding in the Afghan mountains.  As events would have it, Marcus was the lone survivor of the mission.

I went to see the movie last week which was really unbelievable because I have a thing about watching violent, bloody movies.  I can't do it.  However, I knew the story, and decided that I would go with my husband to see it.  Well, I hid my eyes with my hands a lot of the time or I had my head down on my husband's arm so I couldn't see what was going on when it was particularly bloody, but the movie is nothing if not extremely moving

I hate war.  I don't like when people kill each other or try to harm each other.  So don't get me wrong here.  I am not glorifying or advocating warfare.  But what struck me about this is how each side was trying to get up higher than the other so they would have the advantage, and how they would shoot and kill a few members of the other team and then the SEALs would be forced (because there was only 4 of them as opposed to 100, more or less of the Taliban/Al Quaeda fighters who had the advantage and WERE up higher than them) to jump off the mountain.  They would roll and tumble and hurt themselves even more than they already were and then they would begin again to climb the mountain and begin fighting again.  Their ability to persevere to the point of death and how much they could take was amazing. 

Also this week, I finished my Bible study on the book of Ephesians.   As you probably are aware, the sixth Chapter of Ephesians (the last Chapter) tells us that we are in a warfare, too...a spiritual warfare and that we are to put on the full armor of God so that we can stand against all the schemes of the devil. 

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. 

Those military men had not gone unarmed into the battle and they had trained unimaginably hard to learn proper offense and defense in situations where it doesn't seem like they will be able to survive.  That's what they're known for.  Isn't what I described above basically what we're doing every day of our lives against Satan, His demons, our flesh, and the world and its temptations.   We battle by reading the Word of Truth, the gospel of salvation, taking in the ingrafted word which is able to save our souls.  We battle by taking up the shield of faith and batting away the incoming shots against us from the devil and his minions.  We take refuge behind our helmet of salvation which protects our heads from shots and protects our thinking, we put on the breastplate of Jesus Christ's righteousness which protects our vital organs, and without which we will never stand in God's presence .  We put on our shoes which help us to be ready and prepared to take the good news of Christ's gospel wherever He sends us.  We hold it all together with the belt of truth which is Jesus himself, whom the Bible tells us is Truth.  Further, we take up the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God and which we know is sharper than any two edged sword and able to cut between muscle and bone. 

Plus, we battle from a higher position than Satan and his angels, principalities and rulers and authorities.  We battle from the same position as Christ, from the throne of God himself.  We don't have to try to work our way to positions more favorable for there is no position more favorable.  Christ has defeated Satan. Period. And because Jesus lives in us, we can rest assured that we, too, can defeat Satan.

The book of Ephesians tells us in Chapter 2, verses 4 through 7:
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
Last, but certainly not least, He tells us to "be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints".  Just like in actual warfare, the SEALs had each others' back, we are to have our brothers' and sisters' backs by praying for them; lifting them up...covering them with prayer. 

We are at war, brothers and sisters,and I know who wins the war, but He puts us in places where we have to fight against the enemy, strengthen us, prepare us and to enlighten us.  Have you readied yourself for the battle today?

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