World War III: Life in the War Zone

The three-part Battlefield Earth series of posts set the stage for World War III. If you missed these you can find part 1 here. While all of these posts are directed at Christians, the fact is, there are not any “conscientious objectors”, no neutral parties. No one is sitting this one out. No one. It’s not that participation is mandatory, but rather inescapable. You can no more refrain from taking part than you can stop breathing. So you might as well face facts and suck it up.

Of course you can ignore the truth. Many of you are well-practiced at that. Non-Christian, Christian, it doesn’t matter. You’ve bummed along, lived your life in the midst of chaos, paying no attention to all of what goes around you. Nobody will stop you from continuing on until the day you die, if you so choose. Somebody may put a gun to your head, literally or figuratively, but not me, nor will anyone who submits to God.

As for my Christian brethren, specifically, the same goes for you. If you’re thinking I have no idea about your walk with God, you are right. Nor will I presuppose I do. What I can put forth is my observations, both of my own life and the lives of those Christians I’ve known through the years. I’ll start with the beams in my own eyes.

God has blessed my life in many, many ways. This is not to say I haven’t see troubles. Of course I have but, overall, I have little, if anything, to complain about so I won’t. I know of many brothers and sisters who’ve had far more to deal with than myself. Looking back, I can easily see how many of those troubles I’ve had are a direct result of my own walk – typically those times when I strayed away from God. And, yes, I can see at least one period where, had I chose to be more diligent in my obedience to my Heavenly Father and stuck with that decision, I might have lived an entirely different life. Might making such a different choice resulted in fewer troubles? I doubt it. All I need do is look at the apostle Paul’s life. He was far more dedicated to living God’s Will than I could ever think of being and he had plenty of problems.

Day to day, in my own walk, I’ve not been such a great Christian. Sometimes I’ve been downright awful. Sure, I’m a work in progress, but there’s a lot of work to be done. Worse, I am in just as much danger of wandering off than I’ve ever been. It doesn’t take much. That said, I’m moving forward and making every effort to practice what I’m preaching. I don’t see myself as all that far ahead of anyone. It wouldn’t take much for anybody behind me to catch up and zoom ahead. Imagining our walk as a race, the front runner is way beyond where I can see.

Now that I’ve ventured into this walk/race analogy, I’ll continue on for a bit. We’ve all heard the “many paths” to God concept. Let’s go with that. Most say that to justify their own wanderings. What did Jesus say?

Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

The problem with the “many paths” is countless of them are dead ends – in more ways than one. If one wanted make that statement more accurate, it would state: “there are many paths to gods”. The problem being there is only one God.

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

If this post were widely read, I’d expect to hear a bunch of “weeping and gnashing of teeth”, first from those who reject Jesus and second from those who reject the One True God. You know who you are.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

You can either believe what Jesus said or not. I believe him. That settles it. Some of you who confess Christ as Lord and Savior try to hedge a bit and make excuses for those who steadfastly refuse accept Christ. Why? Some gloss over blatant wrong teaching. Why? Let me be clear: either you accept Jesus as Lord and Savior and believe God raised him from the dead or you do not. This is the starting point for being born again of God’s spirit.

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

The apostle Paul did not stop there. This was not the end-all, be-all of living a godly Christian life. From there we are instructed to put off the “old man” and put on the “new man”.

Romans 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Ephesians 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

Ephesians 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Too many struggle with this. There is no reason for struggle. In any given situation, you know what the right thing to do is. Your struggle is not because you do not know. Your struggle is because the “right thing” is often not the “socially acceptable” thing. Rather than speak the truth, you tell a “little white lie” or worse. You justify your sins instead of facing them.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

When you know the right thing to do and you do something else, you sin. It’s that simple. You are putting on the old man rather than putting off the new man. Doing the right thing is putting on the new man.

So many agonize, sometimes for days, weeks and months begging God to reveal His Will for them. He has already revealed His Will. It is right in front of you. Put on the new man. Does He have more in store for you? Of course.

Matthew 25:23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

One thing I wish I’d taken to heart early on is summed up in the cliché “grow where you’re planted”. I cannot count the number of times I found myself praying to get out of a situation God had put me in. At other times, I more likely assumed God’s Will rather than seeking it. Who knows (other than God Himself) where I might be today had I heeded that sage advice? So now, I strongly suggest giving it a shot. Grow where your planted. How can you do this?

Focus on putting off the old man and putting on that new man.

Ephesians 4:21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

27 Neither give place to the devil.

28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

9 (For the fruit of the Spirit [Light, the Greek word “phos”, translated “light, not pneuma, the Greek word for spirit.] is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Notice there is a lot more “putting off” than “putting” on in the above verses. They may seem to focus too much on the negative but what it really comes down to is treating others and yourself well.

Ephesians 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

If you just did those things in the above two things diligently – speaking godly things to yourself and giving thanks – you wouldn’t recognize yourself in a week’s time. When you win this crucial territory for God, you’ve gained important ground in this spiritual battle. What then?

Be forewarned – your efforts will not go unnoticed. You should be prepared for the other side to fight back. Expect them to attack with a vengeance. How? They will throw everything at you they possibly can – at home, at work, on the road and so on. They will prod and probe and use any person, any tool they can possibly utilize to throw you off track, to distract you, to convince you to turn away from anything godly. This is life in the war zone.

Let’s face it, if you already spend most or all of your time working for the other side, or even simply being neutral (and how many of us are really “neutral”?) no doubt things are a lot smoother or rather, you’re already distracted enough with the messes you face every day. For most of us, life is one bothersome thing after another. It’s all we can do to trudge through each day. Add to that the problems others bring to you on a daily basis – your political co-worker, your sullen teenager, even those issues your best friend loves to share. No matter what life serves up day to day, good and bad, those things will not go away when you see them from a godly perspective.

Your car may still break down but instead of swearing at that piece of junk, maybe you’ll thank God it didn’t happen in the middle of nowhere. Or you can be thankful your auto insurance covers towing and you can afford to have it fixed. No matter how bad thinks look now, at some point, your situation will improve to where you can look back and be thankful. Why wait? Be thankful now. Worse case, you’ll end up in the same place at that future date but without the stress of all that angry cursing. Meanwhile, you’ll have gained ground on the adversary.

You don’t need to be drafted. You need no further commission. You are already in the war zone. Whether you recognize it or not, God has placed you right where He wants you to be. Your choice, your real choice is either you can put on that new man and gain valuable ground or you can continue on with the old man. Grow where your planted.