Those of you who follow me on Facebook might have seen a post I made this week with a music video from an artist named Tedashii. The song is titled "Make War" and I first came across it back when I was working with the youth group in a small church in New Mexico.
I'm not (necessarily) promoting this song, the artist, Christian Hip Hop, or the video (which has had over a million views), but I am in full agreement that we, as believers, must MAKE WAR at this time in history.
It is time, saints, to storm the gates of Hell!
"What? War? Why?" you sputter, not fully able to form a complete sentence in your dismay. "Aren't we supposed to be loving, caring, churchy people who just spread butterflies and rainbows wherever we go?"
Yes. And No.
Jesus (I prefer His actual name, Yeshua, but most folks are more familiar with the English version, so I'll stick with that) was all about spreading the love (maybe minus butterflies and rainbows). His sermons were centered on sharing God's mercy and grace, in forgiving and not judging, and in how we're to love God above all things and treat our fellow man with kindness. And let's not forget the hardest one to swallow--loving our enemies.
Good stuff. Not always easy to do.
We are commanded to do all those things. But we are also to do battle... to make war against those who would deceive and lead others astray. It is our God-given duty to be soldiers for Christ. (See Ephesians 6:12)
So, how do we do that while loving our enemies? Do we shout, "Jesus loves you and you're about to meet Him!" while we lob grenades at them? Probably not.
This reminds me of a story from my son's grandfather, who had come to the United States from Italy when he was just 11. Because of difficult circumstances at the time, he had just a third-grade education. But he studied hard to learn what he needed in order to become an American citizen. He was so very proud the day he could claim that title and then he went on to work hard to support his widowed mother, while marrying young and starting his own family.
And then Pearl Harbor was bombed.
Proud to serve his country, Grandpa enlisted immediately. He was at Normandy Beach. He fought across Europe. He lost many friends, was injured himself on several occasions. And then, one day, his company was called to fight in Italy.
With a heart that was breaking, he knew he was going to have to battle against his former friends. His family.
It wasn't something he wanted to do, but it was something he had to do. Zeferino told the story time and again at the family dinner table over heaping plates of manicotti and beef cutlets of how his hands shook with each shot he fired, wondering if he was wounding--or worse--someone he knew. A cousin, perhaps. A school friend.
The guilt ate at him.
But he resolved to focus on the fact that he was doing the right thing, regardless of what it might cost him emotionally, ethically. He was fighting against an evil regime, battling against tyranny and oppression. Regardless of how much it pained him, it was something that had to be done.
Evil could not win.
We all know the intense struggles the allies went through in order to successfully rid the world (at least at that time) of the dictatorial government threatening a one-world order. Then, it was easy to see who the enemy was.
Now, not so much.
We're fighting powers and principalities. There isn't one succinct person we can look to for a finger-point. There isn't one "bad guy" at work here. (Well, there is, but he is using a whole lot of others to do his dirty work, while he waits behind the scenes for his moment in the spotlight.)
The battles we now fight are against those who want to take our rights. Who want to oppress us and divide us by removing us from our churches and fellowships. By telling us that we can't gather in groups larger than ten, while at the same time condoning protests that number in the thousands. They tell us we can't worship, can't sing to the Lord, yet they see nothing wrong with chanting hate-filled slogans.
How do we fight against the oppression? By refusing to bow down. To make it clear that we serve the Lord first and foremost, and not the agenda set forth by governments who strive to silence us. We fight by standing together and sharing the truth.
But we do it in love.
Sharing the truth of God's great love is how we win. Witnessing, we call it. Evangelizing. Going forth and making disciples of all nations. Bringing the stray sheep back into the fold.
We fight our battles on our knees, by praying for a great global revival, believing with all our hearts that the Lord is going to bring it about. There is nothing that scares our true enemy more than seeing a saint on his or her knees, because he knows that the Lord hears our prayers. The enemy knows that he can do nothing to stop us.
We are mighty, unbeatable warriors in that moment.
Oh sure, we're going to lose some fights. We're going to get beat up (sometimes even literally) and beat down. But we can't lose hope. We can't give up. The gates of Hell do not stand a chance when we stand together.
Together, with God on our side.
And remember--just as we know the outcome of WWII, of how, despite all the odds against us, good overcame evil, we also know who wins this war.