The Inconvenience of War

I’ve been thinking about why it is that many Christians are reluctant to make “church” a priority. One often cited reason is that Christians today are too busy. True, busy-ness is a factor, but it is not the root cause. Why then are we too busy to make “church” a priority? I believe this is because churches that are not on a war footing offer little compelling reason for being a priority. In the face of needing to secure a comfortable life-style for ourselves from now through retirement and needing to secure the same for our children; and in the face of incredible injustice and poverty in the world — churches that are not on a war footing offer little basis, beyond salvation and learning to be nice, for being a priority for our time and money. To put it differently, many Christians and many churches have responded to the inconvenience of war by turning to the superstition of “busy-and-nice” – thus attempting to make themselves, their homes and their churches into struggle-free zones.

Struggle-free is a myth. No amount of busy-and-nice with turn ourselves, our homes and our churches into struggle-free zones:

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” (Ephesians 6:12)

“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage – I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33)

“because everyone who has been fathered by God conquers the world. This is the conquering power that has conquered the world: our faith.” (1 John 5:4)

“I put this charge before you, Timothy my child, in keeping with the prophecies once spoken about you, in order that with such encouragement you may war the good war.” (1 Timothy 1:18)

Here is a passage that speaks directly to our churches today:

“The one who has an ear had better hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers, I will permit him to eat from the tree of life that is in the paradise of God.” (Revelation 2:7)

A church that is on a war footing is a church that conquers the world through faith. According to God’s will, it is a church that runs to take on the world’s champions (“against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens”):

“But David replied to the Philistine, “You are coming against me with sword and spear and javelin. But I am coming against you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel’s armies, whom you have defied! This very day the Lord will deliver you into my hand! I will strike you down and cut off your head. This day I will give the corpses of the Philistine army to the birds of the sky and the wild animals of the land. Then all the land will realize that Israel has a God and all this assembly will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves! For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will deliver you into our hand.”
The Philistine drew steadily closer to David to attack him, while David quickly ran toward the battle line to attack the Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:45-48)