Tuesday, October 17, 2006

An ongoing war

We are at war. I was reminded of this rather strikingly today by some commentary by Betsy Childs of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. Today's Slice of Infinity column has made me ponder once more the role that we as believers play in this ongoing battle. And I'm not talking about the "War on Terror" in any of its guises, nor even of the ongoing battle for our culture - though both of those are extremely important. No, I speak instead of spiritual battle, of Christ's Kingdom against the kingdom of Satan and of this world. I speak of the great conflict, ages old, that will one day be ended utterly and completely by Christ's victory and the creation of a new heaven and a new earth. We are at war, and we dare not forget it.

As Childs notes, it's easy to think of ourselves as somehow less important than those we perceive to be on the front lines - the pastors, missionaries, evangelists, etc. But we are not. We are all part of one body - some more visible than others, but nevertheless coequal in our responsibility to fight for the kingdom, to be active. Nowhere in Scripture is there a picture of people in the Kingdom not being on the front lines of battle. Rather, the text pictures every single Christian as being a front-lines warrior, standing in battle for the sake of the advancement of the gospel and the destruction of the kingdom of this world. That means that those of us not in "full-time ministry" need to remember that we are in full-time ministry, and that our ministry is in no way less important than that of those who have been given a call to have their jobs be called ministry. Our jobs, our classes, our vacations - every part of our lives is to be actively advancing the Truth. Childs quotes John Piper from Desiring God, and I will do the same:

"There is a war going on. All talk of a Christian's right to live luxuriantly 'as a child of the King' in this atmosphere sounds hollow--especially since the King himself is stripped for battle. It is more helpful to think of a 'wartime' lifestyle than a merely 'simple' lifestyle. Simplicity can be very inward directed, and may benefit no one else. A wartime lifestyle implies that there is a great and worthy cause for which to spend and be spent" (2 Corinthians 12:15).

(Note - he's not paraphrasing 2 Corinthians here, but referencing it.) He is absolutely correct: we ought to have about us the menatlity of participants - extremely important participants - in the ongoing struggle for spiritual dominance. We, unlike the soldiers in an ordinary war, know the ultimate outcome of the conflict definitely and distinctly. But far from allowing ourselves to slack off because of that, we should be encouraged to press on all the harder, that the victory might ultimately be even greater - that more souls be added to the Kingdom, that more hearts be won for Christ.

It's time for us to pick up our swords and fight.

- Chris

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