ALL OUT WAR

I love movies; seriously, watching a movie is one of my favorite things to do. I love all genres: action movies, scary movies, sci-fi movies, you name it.  There’s just something about a story being visually told that makes the stresses of life fade away. And, for a couple of hours at least, I get to live in a different world.

Of all the movies I’ve seen, there is one particular film that stands out to me. It took me to a time and place in history that was before my existence, and in reality, it was a different world I wanted no part of. 

The opening scene of the Steven Spielberg film, Saving Private Ryan was one of the most sobering cinematic moments ever for me.  Brave men were dropping like flies the moment they hit the Omaha Beach in 1944. It felt so brutal and violent. In one particular clip of this opening scene we see a solider in all out terror hiding underneath a barricade, sobbing uncontrollably as live ammunition flies by him. Watching those scenes, my eyes could not blink and my heart would not stop racing. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was so incredibly real and I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders… and then I realized that I was sitting in the comfort of a nice air-conditioned movie theater without any worry of that reality in my life. So I finished my popcorn, enjoyed the movie, and went home.

However, those scenes led me to ask myself the following question: What would I do if I were in that situation? Would I run out in a blaze of glory and fight with all my might or would I hide in fear of my life to be taken away? To be frank, I think the latter option is the posture of the American church today. I think we are sitting in our nice comfy seats, unaware of a war going on around us.

If you believe that, then you believe a lie.

STAND UP AND ACCEPT WHAT IS HAPPENING

From the moment we said “YES” to following Jesus, the war began.  Those battles that we watched from a distance became battles in our homes. When we thought life would get easier by accepting Jesus, we believed a lie. Jesus, himself, said, “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.  The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.” – John 15:18-19

Does that sound like a peaceful life? I don’t think so. Sounds like heavy artillery firing shots right at us.

 If we really want to be followers of Jesus – or, in this context, soldiers for Jesus – then we have to accept that a war is raging in this life.

Hate, negativity, lust, addictions, perversions, anger, envy, pain and suffering are only a FEW of the battles we each see and fight every day.

It’s time to admit that things aren’t going to be easy and that we need to get up and fight.

STAND UP AND FIGHT

To fight we have to be equipped. We have to be prepared.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:10-17

This passage brings so much encouragement and help on how we can be equipped to fight in war, but how do we put it on in our everyday battles?

-       We must rid ourselves of false truths. Seek guidance and direction from the Holy Spirit, not from the voice of the world. Follow convictions, not bitterness and pride. Don’t believe lies.

-       Know His word and know who Jesus is.  Don’t claim to know Him and then not read His word. He’s the only way. The Bible is His love story to us. Look and see how much He loves you.

-       Trust Him, No Matter what is happening. No matter your situation, trust that He knows what is best for you and those around you. This is hard for us to accept, but this life isn’t about you. It’s about Jesus.

STAND REDEEMED FOR THERE IS VICTORY

The enemy wants us dead or in denial. He doesn’t want us to fight. He wants us to stay comfortable in those nice plush seats with our tasty popcorn.  It’s only when we accept that there’s an ALL OUT WAR going on, that we can truly see that we aren’t home yet.  

We have to get up and fight. But do you know what the most important and the most exciting thing is? The war has already been won. Jesus, the only way, has already gone ahead and defeated the powers of hell. He has won the fight. He has destroyed any opposition that came before Him.  While our battles will rage until our last breath, the victory is won, and when Christ comes again, peace will return. And that is definitely a reality I’m looking forward to.