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America Is in a Spiritual War. Are You All-In or AWOL?

by Bob Russell

From www.bobrussell.org

     This past Friday, Americans commemorated the 19th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3000 in one day.  When the World Trade towers were demolished, most Americans were shocked by what they interpreted as unprovoked attacks.  They had no idea there were Muslim extremists who hated America so much they were plotting behind the scenes to bring us to our knees.  But that day was a wake-up call.  We were put on notice that there were unseen forces determined to create havoc and destroy us.

     Over the past several years, sinister forces from within have been working behind the scenes to undermine our country.  Some of our own citizens hate America and are waging war against the Judeo-Christian values that have undergirded our country for more than 200 years.  They exploit divisive issues from racism to patriotism to advance their agenda.  Their destructive intent is now out in the open.  They are determined to undermine democracy and replace it with Marxism.  They want to end capitalism and replace it with socialism.  They seek to defund the police and give freer reign to lawlessness.  They want to eliminate religious liberty and replace it with allegiance to the state.  They are intent on breaking down parental rights and replacing it with governmental authority.

     In 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, the Apostle Paul wrote, For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

     Take note of four important principles taught in that passage:

First, there is a vicious spiritual war going on, and the stakes are extremely high.

     The Bible makes it clear the conflicts we see on the surface are, in reality, a visible manifestation of a higher spiritual war between unseen forces.  God seeks to grant salvation, joy, and peace.  Satan, His archenemy, comes to kill, steal, and destroy.

     Harvard Magazine recently published an article calling for the banning of homeschooling.  The editors warned that parents are unfit to teach their own children, lest they pass on their bigoted religions.  The Harvard elite are convinced Christians are unfit parents and want to pass laws which, if we violate them, would lose us parental custody.  The same group of leftists endorse taking grade-schoolers to Drag Queen Story Hour so that sex industry professionals can plant the seeds of gender dysphoria in their minds.

     That’s Satanic!  The Bible says, “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” (Ephesians 6:12).

Second, Christ-followers are to be on the frontlines of the battle.

     Note the Apostle Paul did not say, “Stay aloof from the conflict.”  Or, “Don’t offend the adversaries, or you’ll never win them to Jesus.” No. He said, “We fight…we demolish…we take captive.”

     Many modern church leaders choose to disengage from the conflict lest they offend someone or appear too political or anti-intellectual.  But Scripture doesn’t give us the option of pacifism.  Ephesians 6:11 and 13 reads,  “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  ….so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” 

     Our forefathers in the faith understood the spiritual battle.  They sang, “Onward Christian Soldiers, marching as to war!” and “Stand up, stand up for Jesus, you soldiers of the cross.”

Third, our weaponry is markedly different than that of the world.

     The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.”  The world fights with physical weapons that seek to destroy property and mutilate bodies.  We fight with spiritual weapons that can heal the soul and save for eternity.  The world fights with angry, hateful words that attempt to intimidate opponents.  We fight with love and respect for others believing that God wants all to be saved.  The world fights with lies and deceit, believing the end justifies the means.  We fight with the truth of God’s Word, confident His truth will triumph in the end.

     When Paul urged Christians to put on the full armor of God, he mentioned only two offensive weapons, “Take…the sword of the spirit which is the word of God. And pray in the spirit on all occasions”(Ephesians 6:17-18).  The truth of the Bible and the power of prayer — those are our only weapons.

Fourth, our weapons are powerful, but they must be used.

     God’s truth has “divine power to demolish strongholds.”  Satan backed off when Jesus quoted Scripture.  The Bible has awesome power.  Hebrews 4:12 assures us, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

     Christians commonly make one of two mistakes.  Some advocate fighting just as the world fights.  They get furious and want to counter with louder shouts, cruder language, more powerful guns.  When that happens, Satan gets two victories.  The other mistake is to be intimidated into silence.  The world scoffs when the Bible is quoted.  Since no one likes to be ridiculed, we are tempted to say nothing when contentious subjects arise.

     Jesus said, Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:26-27).

     General Gideon faced an army of more than 100,000 well-equipped  Midianite soldiers.  But God pared Gideon’s army down to just 300 loyal troops.  Then He armed them with clay jars, torches, and a few trumpets.  How pitiful that must have appeared!   Their weapons seemed totally inept against the enemy’s swords, spears, daggers, bows, and arrows.  But those 300 Hebrews quietly surrounded the Midianite camp one night, broke the clay jars exposing 300 blazing torches, blew their trumpets, and shouted as loudly as they could, “For the Lord and for Gideon!”  The sleeping, half-drunk enemy camp concluded they were surrounded by a massive army and panicked and fled in fear

     When we obey God’s commands and boldly proclaim God’s truth, miraculous things happen.  But we can’t cower in fear on the sidelines.  We can’t be silent and allow falsehood to go unchallenged.  The truth is to be spoken in love, but the truth must be spoken.

     Have confidence in the power of God’s Word!  At every opportunity, share what the Bible says about creation, the family, the sanctity of life, the spiritual foundation of a country, the divine nature of the church, God’s love for all races, and His desire that we all be saved and unified in Him.

     When you do that, you’ll probably be attacked.  Expect it.  If you join the army, you’re going to get shot at.  If you stand for God’s truth, you’re going to be labeled as ignorant, a hater, a bigot, a Bible thumper, you name it.  At least you’re in the conflict.

     I heard a story of an older, respected preacher who was asked how he felt when someone stormed out in protest in the middle of his sermon.  He answered that he didn’t like it, but then added there was one thought that went through his mind, “I am not a coward.”

     Jesus said, “Blessed, are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven….” (Matthew 5:11-12).

     Martin Luther understood he was engaged in a crucial spiritual battle.  He wrote the powerful hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is our God.”  Every word of that hymn is meaningful but take special note of the third stanza:

“And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us.
The Prince of Darkness grim, —
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! His doom is sure, —
One little word shall fell him.”

     Bob Russell is retired Senior Minister of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY.  




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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 corinthians 1:3-4