Rules of Engagement

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. (2 Corinthians 10:3–5, NIV 1984). 

My Musings – Do you ever get the feeling that the Church has gotten sidetracked?  Waging the wrong wars? Battling the wrong enemies?  Using the wrong weapons?  Engaging in wars of the world, with worldly strategies and worldly weapons?  Giving ground when we should be standing firm?  Being caught unaware when we should be vigilant and alert?

Our wars are not political. Our enemies are not those with different beliefs or color of skin. Our weapons are not sticks or stones, knives or guns, fire or vandalism, violence or hateful rhetoric.  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, NIV 1984). 

We don’t match lies with more lies, accusations with counteraccusations, enmity with violence, broken faith with faithlessness, condemnation with damnation, worldly philosophies with human wisdom, hopeless situations with hopelessness.  We don’t bomb abortion clinics.  We don’t plant pipe bombs.  We don’t storm the Capitol.  We don’t burn or vandalize buildings.  We don’t engage in hate speech or resort to personal violence.

We bind falsehood with the belt of truth.  Evil accusations with righteous actions.  Bitter enmity with the Gospel of peace.  Arrows of incredulity with the shield of faith. We deflect hateful condemnation with the assurance of salvation. We pierce worldly philosophies with the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.  We respond to occasions where we haven’t a prayer with all kinds of prayers.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:13–18, NIV 1984). 

My Advice – By way of Paul.  In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5, NIV 1984). 

And by way of Peter.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.  (1 Peter 3:15–16, NIV 1984). 

Inspired by Pastor Kevin Rutledge’s sermon on 01/17/21.  I encourage you to watch.  It was powerful.  https://bit.ly/FBC-0117