Anyway, I just picked up a book by John Eldredge called Waking The Dead. I picked it up initially because he also wrote one of my very favorite books of all time, Wild At Heart. If you are a man, and have never read this book...you must.
Allow me to emphasize that: I have a 25 year old step-son. He is a wonderful young man...but as you can imagine, he and I have a history as all step-children and their parents have. I gave him a copy of Wild at Heart two years ago with the inscription that it was one of the most important books I had ever read. Well, he read it and recently told his mom; "Everyone should read that book!" So....it's worth the risk to pick it up.
I didn't get but 3 pages into Waking the Dead before being hit with an amazing sentence. I quote:
"The birth of Christ was an act of war, an invasion." (p. 16)
BAM! I put the book down in stunned silence and felt pieces fall into place in my mind that I never knew were out of place.
I've always known that life is a battle. It became crystal clear with the birth of my daughter. Everything I want for her, there are forces mounted to steal it away...even her safety. So her mother and I are vigilant, we carry guns (literally), and we say "no" a lot.
That's an obvious war.
The war human kind is in is deeper than that, and it is entirely hidden from our view because we have been taught from a very early age to accept the casualties, the collateral damage, as a part of life.
"Accidents happen." "That's the way God made them." I've said those multiple times to ... protect my daughter from the truth... Sometimes really, really, really bad things happen. Some people are destroyed, or nearly destroyed (physically, psychologically) through no fault of their own. I know my intent is also to get her ready for whatever may befall her. We expect these things. We tolerate them. Because we have no choice. And we blame....God, life, our parents, fate, the stars, ghosts, our past, randomness...
But we are in the middle of a war. We didn't declare it, but we are in it.
"The birth of Christ was an act of war, an invasion."
Only dead people need life. Jesus came because the thief was already here, stealing, killing, and destroying. I notice He didn't say..."I came to get rid of the thief." He didn't though, He came to give me my life back. And to do so, was to declare war on the thief.
I like this verse. A ransom. Rather than lead soldiers in the charge against the thief, the final battle was won with an act of ransom. If the question arises whether or not He was prepared for battle:
No. Christ came to declare war by setting us free. Paying the ransom so that we could no longer be condemned for our sin. He came to pay the ultimate price for us.
Why? Why not just wipe out the enemy then and there?
I think the answer is that He didn't have too. He set us free so that we could win battles...to fight the thief, and help free those who don't know they are free.
Who am I in the war...or who might I be?
The answer to this question is simple if I view the enemy as a thief...not engaged in open warfare but in massive subversion, subterfuge, and propaganda. This enemy is not allowed to kill me...(but can use every means at his disposal to get me to kill myself.)
If I was such an enemy, I would use everything I could to make sure that the best and brightest of the warriors destroy themselves. I would convince them first and foremost that the idea that they are in a battle is ridiculous and a little hyper-religious. "Come on!" I might goad, "What's next, are you going to become a bible-thumper?" "Only the most radical religions believe they are in a war."
Then I would start in on the weapons: "Ummm," I might say, "That sword of yours...kind of looks pathetic." "And....well, your shield...looks like you forgot it." "You can't win...you can't even fight!"
Then, I'd remind my prey that there are others who can better handle this battle.
Then I would dangle all the great things this world has to offer and thus, distract them from the battle in the first place. "Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll man, that's where it's at!" "The world is a scary place...you better just get what you can while you are alive. You don't want to die unhappy do you?"
Then all I would have to do is sit back and watch as my prey miserably but inevitably implodes...taking as many people with them as I can keep connected.
I'd be a good Satan...I know it. I've agreed with him all too often.
But I'm in a war. Spectators get rolled over. I want in the fight. Even if I have to get dirty, to sweat, to bleed, I'm tired of believing ALL of the lies!
You see, I'm not just a warrior.....I'm on the winning team.
"I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword" (Jesus) Matthew 10:34
To be continued...