I was having a discussion with a good friend of mine about war. The Iraq war, specifically, but then later the notion of war, in general. She was saying that war is a part of life and that in the end times everyone will need to be willing to die for something. This began me to thinking about war and its purpose in the Christian’s life.
I think that what I’m about to say might be slightly controversial so I must state my disclaimer now. I support the men and women who enlist in the service and are fighting on behalf of our country. I do understand that, for many people, the service is an opportunity for education, training, and discipline that they may not receive elsewhere. In fact, I come from a family where my grandfather, two aunts, and an uncle are all former military. Yet, even still, what I’d like to explore is the validity of war; the principle of it from a Christian perspective.
So many people, myself included, when asked about how God feels about war, find themselves quoting the wise Solomon in Ecclesiastics. Solomon says, “There is time for everything. A time for peace and a time for war.” And of course, the bible explicitly spells out many times when God did ordain battles and wars, particularly in the Old Testament as Israel fought to occupy the land He’d promised Him.
And yes, this makes perfect sense in a post-Adam, pre-Christ world. But what about now?
This is what I’m beginning to believe.
The necessity of war is a function of sin in the world and is generally characterized by disobedience or fear in either the aggressor or the defender.
Peace was the order of the day in the Garden because God was the center of every living thing’s focus. At the fall of Adam and Eve, sin entered the world; including some of the driving factors of most wars- pride, greed, envy, etc. It makes sense then that within this new construct there would be a new approach to war; one that was even honored by God…for a season.
Then there is disobedience. Many of the examples of war in the bible are a function of one group’s disobedienceto the word and will of God; therefore opening themselves up to the attack of their enemy. Since God does allow all things, even bad things, to work together for the good of those who love Him, there is this corrective nature that war can have…to send a people back on the right course.
So. God is okay with war, right?
Well, this is the thing. What about Christ? Didn’t Jesus come to reconcile us to him and to each other? Didn’t he come to restore what was destroyed in the Garden? Peace. Love. Joy. Longsuffering. Aren’t these the fruit of the Holy Spirit sent to us after His ascension to offer comfort. From a Christian perspective, is war necessary if Christ has now become our focus?
I hear you out there. Yes, I realize that the entire world does not accept Christ and therefore war continues on. But for us, those who believe that “greater is he that is in us, than is he that is in the world,” we that believe that the keys to the kingdom are our ability to “bind whatever is here on earth so that it might be bound in the heavens.” Should we really be standing behind the world’s system and reason for war? With Christ, isn’t there always another way?
I know, I know. I’ve posited this to a few people and even those who don’t necessarily have some blindingly, pseudo-patriotic devotion to government react by saying that as Christian’s we have to be prepared to fight for the cause of Christ. That, as we close in on the end of days, the devil is going to become more strategic and overt in his attacks and we are going to have to be physicially, emotionally, psychologically, mentally, and spiritually fit to not just fight in the spirit…but also in the natural. Very much like the army, navy, air force, and marines must be in war.
And I agree with that whole-heartedly. But I also know that the bible says that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal…they are essentially spiritual…for pulling down strongholds, for casting down imaginations. for standing in the gap for the sin-sick. for exhibiting a “raising the dead” faith in the midst of the hardest circumstance. Aren’t these the heart of the real issues of the wars fought today… beyond religion, terrorism, and oil? AS CHRISTIANS, AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST, CHRIST HAS CALLED US TO FACILITATING THE RESTORATION, SALVATION, AND HEALING IN THE WORLD. That’s the only fight that matters in the end.
The fact of the matter is…we can be more fit than Lee Haney, have the ability shoot a gun like the Terminator, and have the mind of Albert Einstein but if our prayer life is not strong, if the word is not hidden in our hearts…if we can’t battle in the spirit-realm than we are going to be seriously challenged in winning the battles of the the only war we ARE actually called to fight.
Of course, knowing that we win in the end also helps alot. 🙂
There is so much here to study so these are just some of my thoughts. What’s yours?