What if the world is not what most people believe it is? What if there is more going on around us than the ordinary day to day? What if there is more to you than meets the eye? What if it were told that we were born into a world at war, that forces of good and evil were at work in a world that you cannot see, and the way you lived impacted the final outcome? Would it change the way you live?
Probably. In fact, it is safe to say the heart really wants to believe this is all true.
Most Christians understand the major theme (and perhaps the only theme) of the Bible is love. We are told "God is love," and we are expected to "love one another." This is true; every single bit of it. It's just not all there is.
What about war, what most consider to be the antithesis of love? Would most Christians make the claim that a major theme of the Bible is war? Hmm...didn't think so.
What, then, does the Bible say? Well, before diving in, it's important to establish war as a real and relevant theme of the Bible. The words war, battle, and fight are mentioned in scripture just as much as the words love, loving, and beloved. What is God trying to say in this? It cannot be ignored. However, it has been.
The church has mistakingly all but erased the reality that we are at war. It's like a grandfather clock with a pendulum swinging from one end to the other. It works on balance. But when the clock is moved and placed on an incline, no matter how slight, the pendulum stops swinging, and is then off balance. The clock becomes unstable, unbalanced, and therefore, loses its place in the world.
Most of the Old Testament documents the battles and wars of the people of Israel. In fact, war is the vehicle God often (not always) chooses to deliver His people from their enemies. In reading many Old Testament passages, we come across some pretty gory stuff. What does a modern day Christian make of all this?
The New Testament continues the theme. What is the political situation Jesus is born into? Turmoil. Judea was a political hotspot, an unstable region of the Roman Empire. What do we make of His disciples? Paul and his fellow apostles faced persecution in the forms of imprisonment and death for their dedication to "a gospel of love and peace." Perhaps the world is not as safe as we have been led to believe.
How do we reconcile the coexisting themes of love and war in the Bible? Please understand they do not stand in tension with one another. Talk about confusion! Instead, they compliment each other. We fight because we love--there will be more on this later.
For now, we must live as if we are at war. Brave, yet cautious. Cunning, with a sharp wit. No longer can we go on as "just citizens". We must be more!! We must be soldiers in a long and dangerous war.
Over the next several weeks, you can anticipate more on this war we were born into. Journey with us as we explore its various aspects. Please contribute your thoughts to the conversation, regardless of whether you are buyers, skeptics, or critics. Let's answer the questions and debate the answers! May the Bible be our guide!