It is not often my reality to wake up in the third watch for prayer. I planned to do some school work and started praying for the Body of Christ. This post is a warning to resist the attraction of battle or the attraction to warfare simply for the sake of a fight.
attraction (n.) — 1) personal charm. 2) action/power of drawing forth a response, like an attractive quality. 3) a force acting mutually between particles of matter, tending to draw them together, and resisting their separation. 4) something that attracts or is intended to attract people by appealing to their desires and tastes. (merriam-webster, emphasis added)
Admittedly, there is a charm about a battle (definition #1). Think about the movies we watch, the heroes our eyes shine for, and the way we engage for a victorious result. The idea of battle draws us in – good versus evil, protagonist versus antagonist, and do away with evil so good can triumph (definition #2). There is even a desire for a good fight, like when Rocky goes to Russia in Rocky IV to fight Ivan Drago against all odds on Christmas Day. Rocky eventually turns the entire crowd in his favor and after he wins, pleads for peace (definition #4).
I want us to consider the third definition’s relevance to our attraction to battle. We pull it, and it pulls us. We draw some battles close, and they respond. We resist separating from the battle, at times convinced that we must fight. Decorated soldiers have a mystique about them. They are the stuff of legends. Many of us approach our spiritual battles this way, with the ambition to be the young David who beheads Goliath and reaps fame and reward. We want to “send Judah first” and claim that praise goes before battle and precedes victory.
But the end of a battle is not just victory, but peace.
And as already stated, the movies do not help in our spiritual engagement. I am compelled to remind us that as much as we identify with movie plots, that we are not…
- Katniss. (Hunger Games)
- Arthur, and we have no roundtable. (King Arthur)
- Rocky. (Rocky series)
- Dorothy. (The Wiz, The Wizard of Oz)
- The Tuskegee Airmen, William Wilberforce, or the Nasa women. (Red Tails, Amazing Grace, and Hidden Figures, respectively)
- Characters from Star Wars, Star Trek or any other cosmic battle movie.
Psalm 120:7 ESV — I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war.
Psalm 90:1 ESV — Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Psalm 91:1 ESV — He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty…
John 16:33 ESV — I have said these things to you, that in my you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
This is not to deny the battle, only to bring our attention to our romantic attraction to it. We bind and loose, for example, to get in agreement and stay in agreement with the will of the Father. We bind what has already been bound. We loose what has already been loosed. It is not our power or our might that achieves anything in battle, so why do we push and force and bogart our way in spiritual battles?!
No fight is successfully won without the Lord.
Ours is to be sober, vigilant, and alert in these days (1 Peter 5:8). Ours is to count the cost of engagement. Ours is to monitor the why of our hearts and test every spirit to see if it is of God (1 John 4:1). Ours is to come in the name of the Lord when we meet warfare and to willingly dwell in peace when the battle is over (Acts 4:18-20, 33). Selah.
Let’s sever our soul ties with the battleground and the mindset that pursues a battle for noise (fame) and applause (medals). The difference between us and King David is that David’s anointed purpose was war. That is not the case for many of us. Many of us need to learn the power of the Lord as our dwelling place, and to make our moves in peace.
Love to all.