May. 5, 2018

Cross Purposes 20 / Spiritual Weaponry

For reflection: “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?...” (Luke 6:46. See verses 47-49 also.)

I did not grow up in a household that bears a resemblance to an arsenal. This wasn’t even in our consciousness. Yet there was also no objection to anyone having weapons. It just didn’t come up as a matter for conflict, and the times were such that people even felt safe leaving the door unlocked. We lived in that sort of world and mindset.

As the years progressed, times changed, and people were polarizing on the subject of weapons. The problem may not be the weapons themselves, but the fear and aggression within human beings which drives people into seeking out weapons and using them against others. The problem originates in the human condition called “sin”.

Jesus Christ provides the solution to the human aggression problem through redemption, the plan of salvation, and the transformative work of the Holy Spirit - to set us free from fears and aggressive tendencies as we grow in grace.

This is the beauty of the Christian message and a major reason why it is so important, especially in these times, for once again we find ourselves on the brink of annihilation. When aggression is fed and grows in the human heart, apparently so does the size and sophistication of the weapons. The question is, when and where will aggression stop? As Einstein said, one cannot solve problems on the same level they were created. 

Jesus Christ provided that higher level of solutions in everything He taught and exemplified. He knew that the adversary of souls is where the real weaponry must be aimed, that it is on a spiritual level - a warfare which calls for peculiar spiritual artillery where "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” (2 Corinthians 10:4).

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”(Ephesians 6:13-18) This is what Jesus’ “army” looks like.

The opening verse for this post comes near the end of Luke’s version of the Sermon On The Mount. Jesus had spent the entire night in prayer. He calls His twelve apostles out of a large crowd of His disciples. We’re told (Luke 6:19) that many people were trying to touch Him, due to the great power emanating from Him. As He healed them all, He turns to His disciples and begins to deliver this magnificent and completely other-worldly teaching to them.

There is a lot of “radical” instruction here (You might like to read Luke 6 for yourself at this point.) Everything He teaches is diametrically opposed to the way the world system looks at things. A few examples: bless those who curse you; if someone takes something from you don’t demand it back; love your enemies - that’s what makes you different from the world, since it’s fairly easy to love those who love you.

And Jesus basically winds it up with a provocative challenge: If you’re calling Me your Lord, why aren’t you living according to My teaching? I see this as His challenge to Christians in our times where we need a solution above and beyond the bigger trigger and the fearful, vindictive attitudes which drive their proliferation.

Whatever happened to “Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me”? Many reply, “Well, I know Jesus taught this, BUT…” 

May we ponder well and carefully all that the Master taught.