A Declaration of War
by Dan Stolebarger
Director of Koinonia Institute
When it comes to growing spiritually and progressing in being transformed into His image, one cannot remain casual. This type of growth is unnatural and needs a type of focus that requires one to say no to a concept of strife and yes to a declaration of war. When coming to the faith and making the decision to become a talmidin (disciple) of Jesus, one needs to realize the cost that is involved.
We live in a culture whose mantra is often Dont worry, be happy. The reality is that we live in a ravaged world that is in the midst of a war whose magnitude is unfathomable. Unfortunately, most followers of Christ are not grizzly old soldiers who have major combat experience, but newbies that have little idea of whats around the corner and are living and pursuing a life of self-indulgence. The time is at hand to declare WAR and get prepared for major conflict rather than treating this time like a minor border skirmish somewhere!
The rabbis say, Happy is the individual who is constantly concerned, and that a truly religious person is called a haredi"one who trembles in his or her desire to serve God properly and overcome evil. Also they ask, How can we expect to perfect the world in the kingship of the Divine without waging war against evil?
Now with all this talk about war, is it really wrong to desire peace and tranquility? Shouldnt there be a time that we can lay down and rest? Again a quote from Rabbi Shlomo Risken, I can still remember the words of my maternal grandmother: Theres plenty of time for rest and tranquility after 120 years, in the cemetery; the world is a place in which we must work and struggle. And then one final quote from Rashi: Should the righteous wish to dwell in tranquility? The Holy one, blessed be He, says: Is what is prepared for them in the world to come not sufficient, that they also wish to dwell in tranquility in this world? (Rashi on Genesis 37:2.)
Why all this talk about war? For me it has to do with the times of the signs and endeavoring to become like one of the sons of Issachar. We need to be alert and active at this time rather that laid-back and complacent. Jesus emphasized the importance of being alert consider the following:
Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason you be ready too; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.
Now what does it mean for you and I to be alert? How does one avoid becoming sluggish when it comes to spiritual things? I believe that the first thing one must do is to re-commit ones self to the study of the Word of God. In Psalm 43, the psalmist requests guidance. He says:
Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill And to Your tabernacle. Then I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy; And on the harp I will praise You, O God, my God.
We need light and truth! The question is where can we find these pillars or, better yet, who embodies them?
I think it is important when declaring war to know something about the enemy. Jesus said such in the following passage:
Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace.
In general, we know that Satan is our sworn enemy and resides in the kingdom of darkness, and we know that he has been a liar from the beginning. One of his greatest strategies has been to lay low and use the art of camouflage.
This tactic has been very successful and has lulled many believers into a trance-like stupor when it comes to spiritual warfare. He resides in the shadows and wants truth to be subjective and relative, rather than an absolute.
This raises the question concerning an absolute truth. Is there an absolute truth and what about the aforementioned concept of light? Consider the following claims of Jesus:
Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said,
I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
The Light illuminates our path and the Truth provides direction in regards to our ethics and lifestyle. Again the Psalmist addresses the following in Psalm 119:
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
Join Gods Army
The best way for those in the Army of God to get information about who our commander is and what our marching orders are is to study the Word of God. Simply put, it is the most relevant document in the existence of the world for mankind. Unfortunately, it is largely ignored by most Christians today! In our declaration of war we must once again pick up the Book! Remember, the one who lurks in the shadows will always suggest tomorrow as the time to start"but the Word emphasizes that it is always today when it comes to spiritual health!
So, as the Holy Spirit says:
Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert...
In regards to the study of the Word, becoming a Berean is the first step, but there are a few more items to pursue.
As Christians we need to be out front when it comes to giving guidance and direction. The world needs to follow us, not vice versa! Solomon writes in the book of Proverbs that without a vision, the people will perish! For too long we as Christians have allowed the world to lead the way. The time has come to reverse the roles! Having seen the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat recently, I always cry when I hear the line any dream will do! Any dream wont do! There is only one dream and it is our job to make it clear so others will follow.
This is especially true in regards to end times. As Christians we need to be like the sons of Issachar, who, as the Chronicler wrote in 1 Chronicles 12:32, understood the times and knew what Israel should do! The problem is that most of us know very little about what the Bible says about the Day of the Lord. Knowing what to look for is the key"the Bible is full of intelligence materials and we need this inside information in order to be relevant and out front!
Finally, we must always remember that our actions will always speak louder than our words to a world that is tired of Christians making such extraordinary claims while living such ordinary lives! Be doers of Gods Word, not hearers only! Jesus makes this crystal clear when describing real disciples: My disciples will do the things that I say!
Are you ready for your commission? Are you ready to enlist? Are you ready to declare WAR? If not then you may be dwelling carelessly by the coastlands, or simply slumbering on the sidelines.