Is It A Winnable War? (Part 1)
I have heard or read several remarks of late that say, "You know you're wasting your time in these efforts to get prayer back in school, because it will never happen." Or, "You will never abolish Roe v Wade. Abortion will never go away."
So, there are proponents out there, Goliaths if you will, who say that we are just spitting in the wind, so why not use your time for something productive and just go with the flow? "Lay aside those silly convictions, Biblical standards, Judeo-Christian principles," they say. "Just get politically correct and assimilate into what society is becoming." And the one that really grabs me, "Why don't you stop judging and show love, like Jesus did?" Well, that one is another article altogether, so I must digress.
The Goliaths we face in our day may not be in the form of a nine foot giant like the one that David faced, but the modus operandi of all opponents of the Kingdom and work of God is always the same - fear and intimidation.
That is the only tactics that the Goliaths of our day know, who stand in opposition to Christian and moral principles. They know that if they can bluff us out with their bullying or terrorization devices and just get the Church to stay within its own four walls and remain as little "bless-me" clubs, instead of coming outside and being the Church, they can continue to indoctrinate this generation, as well as future generations, with their ungodly and soul-damning hogwash.
But, I am here to declare to you that if the Church will indeed be the Church, then we most certainly are fighting, "a winnable war," to coin a phrase from talk radio host, Bryan Fischer, of AFR's Focal Point, that I have used since listening to his program the last several years.
We are told in 1 John 4:4 - " You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." I know that in context, John is dealing primarily with false teachers, but aren't those who attempt to shut down the Christian's voice in our country today, also to a large degree, false teachers? Do they not use tactics that primarily involve lies and false-hoods, a twisting of the truth or, at the very least, lies simply sprinkled with a small element of truth? According to what John says in this verse basically, is that which fundamentally distinguishes the people of the world and the people of God is their respective attitudes toward Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ IS Truth; He is the personification of Truth. By the illumination of the Holy Spirit, who is greater than Satan (the spirit of error), true believers may overcome deceiving teachers. We can overcome the Goliaths of our day! And, in fact, according to this verse, in the mind of God it is already a done deal - "You are of God,... and have overcome... because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world."
Now, understand that God never asks us to put our brains in neutral when it comes to matters of faith. John repeatedly appeals for love (1 John 2:10; 3:3, 10–24; 4:7–12, 16–21), but he also places a premium on truth--not the wishy-washy opinions that pass for “truth” in our society, but the absolute, eternal truths of God’s Word. For example, John challenges us to “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1) and learn to discern between truth and error (4:6). He calls for us to avoid sin, which requires that we discern what is sinful (2:1; 3:4–10). He tells us to distinguish between the things of the world and the will of God (2:15–17), and he appeals for us to identify deceivers and avoid them (2:18–29; 3:7).
The differences between the false teachers (Goliaths), and genuine believers exemplify the dichotomy between the forces of God and the forces of Satan (“the world”). We all know, as Christians, that it is not "flesh and blood" that we are at war with, but it is literally spiritual powers of darkness in high places. However, we also know that most of these ideas and false-hoods manifest themselves in, through and by people. That is one reason even many Christians are so easily deceived into believing that we aren't walking in love if we have a debate, exchange with, or if we challenge, the proponents of the world system, instead of just remaining meek, timid and quiet for the "sake of love." These demonic spirits and influences do not care one flipping bit about our passive, kumbaya love! Like Goliath of David's day, they only understand one thing: warfare - spiritual warfare!
You see, Goliath was perfectly happy and content to intimidate the armies of Israel and keep them all in hiding behind their rocks and wagons, instead of coming out and facing him. He was rather enjoying taunting them, mocking them, making light of them, as he no doubt like the class clown, drew billows of laughter from his on-looking army. As the armies of Israel cowered behind their covers of "we can't", "we aren't able", "he's too big", "he says we can't defeat him", out steps a young, enthused and indignant David. The armies of Israel are crying, "this man is bad to the bone"! David, who at this point is seemingly standing alone,... I said, "seemingly". However, with God we are never alone! David, with confidence that can only come from the Greater One, says in effect, "this giant is nothing"!
Notice when David steps out with faith in God what happens. Sadly, even his own brothers start hurling insult and accusation at him. I am still amazed at how many Christians and even pastors will bravely yell out from behind their covers of fear at those of us, their brothers and sisters who are involved in the fight and say, "you're inviting trouble for us from the government, from the IRS. We are going to lose our 501(c)3 status because of you upstarts! Why don't you just be happy with what we have and leave it alone? Politics has no place in the pulpit!" They obviously are not very familiar with David or Jesus!
The Goliaths of our day want the Church to remain behind its covers of excuses and stay within the confines of our facility walls and not engage the culture, because some of these Goliaths, if not all of them, know that when the Church rises up to it's full potential and capacity in the power of the Holy Ghost, that she is a force to be reckoned with!
Verse after verse in the Word of God tells us that we are most assuredly in a war, but ultimately - WE WIN! Paul says in Romans 8:37, " Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." We are not only conquerors, but MORE than conquerors! Again, to coin another phrase that Sister Pat Gibson-Hye Moore, Vice-Chairperson of the PPB Initiative, started using and is growing more popular in the movement: "WE ALWAYS WIN!"
(To be continued)
Michael Parnell, B.Th.
Pastor, Call To Life Family Worship Center
Chairman, Put Prayer Back In Our Schools Initiative
Pee Dee Director, S.C. Pastors Alliance