Calling Christian Warriors
A foundational call upon the life of believers is to be warriors who fight for the glory of the Lord. The early Christians were known as those turning the world upside down proclaiming the kingship of Christ (Acts 17:4-7). Paul talks about his goal to demolish the enemy’s strongholds raised up against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:1-6). We are called to take up the armor of God so that we might stand against the attacks of evil (Ephesians 6:10-20). Spiritual warfare is real and the call of the Christian to be a warrior is as equally real. However, in the middle of this fight, we cannot forget control.
I can still hear the high-pitched voice of my old tennis coach on the court. My feet would run as fast as possible to the ball every muscle in my body giving an all-out effort with my mind thinking of only one thing . . . power. Rather unstrategically, I would decide to smack the ball as hard as I possibly could in order to hit a Roger Federer like forehand right down the line at 90 mph speeding past my opponent for a beautiful winner. What often happened looked more like a baseball player hitting a foul ball directly into the fence. At that point, my coach would place her hands on her hips, drop her mouth in dismay, and holler “Jared?” Then again, I can also picture the occasion when I was a new shooter practicing doubles with some All-Americans. We were all pounding away until I shot so fast on a pair the whole squad stopped and look directly at me. One of them jokingly said they were going to start calling me “speedy” if I kept shooting like that (ironically he was one of the fastest doubles shooters). Such occasions demonstrate a powerful truth, uncontrolled enthusiasm and effort does not produce good results. Which brings us to the question, what gives us control in the fight to which we are called as believers?
Selfless Love Hones The Warrior
Skilled shooters, tennis players, and battle-tested warriors have one thing in common. They possess control over their advanced skill set knowing how to use it according to prolific experience and wisdom. We as believers need not only robust doctrinal knowledge, boatloads of practical application in life, but also control in the midst of the fight. Otherwise, we will wind up like many in the dust-ups on social media that happen today. Our time will be spent in the latest Twitter battle where we unload all our knowledge in a useless conversation which no one shall remember 5-hours later.1 Then again, we might be the person so robust in our knowledge but who lacks the patience to be able to help a new believer come to a more mature point in their life.2 It is not that high knowledge or great skills are in and of themselves horrific traits to possess. They are wonderful blessings from God, after all He is the source of all knowledge and wisdom giving it to His people (James 1:5). My point is that a skilled warrior with a sharp sword must know not only how to bring the blade to bear, but when to do so, and take that action in the precise manner that the scenario dictates. If he fights a young trainee on his side like he does a vicious enemy, then he shall be of no benefit to that person. What is it then which gives us control in the battle? Philippians 2:3-8 says:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. -Philippians 2:3-8
We must remember we are warriors of Christ not for self-exaltation, but for the glory of the Lord and the good of others. Your knowledge, your love, your specific skills, and everything good in you has been given to you by the Lord as a gift of grace to use for Him. This reality means that when you pickup the Sword to fight you must not do it merely so everyone will stand astonished at how brilliantly you engaged in the effort. Battles must be waged so that they will instead look in awe at the glory of the King. Maintaining a humble focus that seeks to do absolutely nothing from a selfish heart is the central controlling force that guides us in the war to which we are called.
The Warriors Path
Let us not be found among those who go into local churches utterly destroying them causing chaos. May we never be amongst the groups who discourage young believers in their growth and passion for the Lord. Instead, let it be said that we are warriors of great effort, energy, and focus using what Christ has given to us with skill honed by humble love. Our path is set forward to the eternal city where we shall dwell with Him for eternity. Knowing our prize, our call, and our path may we take each step with confidence knowing Christ the King has already blazed our trail. We are to follow in His footsteps as the Mighty Warrior who laid down His life for His people. Let us take up our cross each day and lay down ourselves fighting for such a King as this!
1 Just to be clear, this is not my saying Christians cannot use social media. Rather, I am simply saying we should be wise and controlled understanding it is not to be the dominant overriding force in our lives!
2 Note well Paul’s reference to being gentle amongst the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8.