“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” —2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (ESV)
For the past two days I’ve been attending Gracie and Jimmy’s soccer practice and I have to say…I really just love running around like a crazy person and playing soccer. I might not always know exactly what I’m doing, but I get to run 😀 I’ve found that exercise is much easier to enjoy when you put the focus less on being skinny or making yourself better just for your sake or even another person’s sake and put it more on being physically able to do whatever God might ask you to do. I know it sounds like I’m trying to be ultra spiritual, but I’m serious. I don’t want my physical weakness or incapability to get in the way of what God might ask of me. I’m not saying God can’t go beyond my physical strength, because He’s beyond capable of doing that, but I am saying that I want to prepare every day for whatever He might ask of me physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, everything. I want to be physically strong for the cause of Christ. I want to be mentally strong for the cause of Christ. I want to be spiritually strong for the cause of Christ. I want to be emotionally strong for the cause of Christ.
Now, I was waging war for a while today with the idea that I might be taking “this whole Christian thing” way too seriously. I know before I left NYC to come home for the summer, I had some of my Christian friends tell me to lay back, tell me that I was taking my walk with Christ way too seriously. I’ve even had some people in my life tell me they were frustrated because I “always did the right thing.” These opinions and accusations are all drawn from the things I do, like not listening to certain music, not watching certain TV shows and movies, not reading certain books, not drinking, not swearing, etc. etc.
This confuses me.
Paul says in his second letter to the Corinthians that we are in a war, that “though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh” (v.3). Now, as far as I know, war is a pretty serious matter. Nobody laughs about how many died in WWI and WWII, at least not anyone with a heart, pride in their country, and common sense. Nobody with any decency makes jokes about the Holocaust, about Hilter’s control over Europe and the resistance that followed. War is serious.
Besides this, the Bible is full of charges to take this walk seriously, to take this following of Christ as the challenge of a lifetime, the cause that changed and continuously changes the world every day. Even the fact that the Jesus Christ is THE ONLY WAY to achieve eternal life presents a very serious contrast to what the world thinks, and this mindset, this proclamation, can have some very serious repercussions.
Also, aren’t God’s children known by their fruit, those divine characteristics that come from the presence of the Holy Spirit? Galatians 5:22 says that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; against such things there is no law.”
If I don’t do certain things like I listed above, it’s not because I’m defined by my not-doing of those things…it’s just that all of them are completely unattractive to me as a daughter of the King of Kings. My heart has been transformed by the gospel and indwelt by God’s Holy Spirit. Of course I strive to take every thought captive to make it be obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:4). Of course I watch what I put into my brain and who and what I let into my heart, because I know that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:43-45). God also says via Paul to “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you” (Colossians 3:3-8), so everything that not only fights for my attention but also the things that God can’t stand, those things that displease Him, those characteristics and actions that break His heart. Of course I take my walk with Christ seriously, not only because I love Christ and want to know Him more and learn how to love Him more perfectly, but especially because Christ certainly took my sin seriously when He was dying on a cross for me, when He beat death and was resurrected on the third day. I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that Christ takes this whole following-Him thing pretty seriously, which means I should too.
Does this mean I have to be a no-fun, totally-strict, Christian? Absolutely not! I have legitimate joy in Christ, and I can honestly say I never lack in reasons to be joyful and ways to have great fun. The second fruit of the Spirit listed in the book of Galatians is joy. Am I happy all the time? Definitely not. Life is still difficult. I’m still human. But life is so much more enjoyable with Christ. After all, His truth is meant to set you free, not to trap you (John 8:31-32, Galatians 4:8-9, 5:1).
Why am I talking about this? Well, first of all, because it’s a blog, and one normally talks about whatever one’s heart desires on a blog. But other than that, I’m talking about this because, according to God’s word, I am a soldier in God’s spiritual army. I’m fighting an invisible war. I know I’ve discussed this before, but it’s so important I can’t even stand it. When you’re fighting for God, you’re not fighting against people or against physical things, but rather you’re fighting FOR God, FOR people’s salvation and the growth of spiritual brothers and sisters, and against the dark forces of Satan. Frankly, when you’re not fighting for God, on His side, you’re passively or even deliberately fighting for Satan, against God: you are God’s enemy. Romans 5:9-10 says “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his (Christ’s) blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled shall we be saved by his life.” Before we’re saved, before we accept Christ’s salvation through the shedding of His own blood, His death, and His resurrection, we are enemies of God, we are objects of God’s wrath. Christ is our divine mediator, constantly and continuously pleading our case to God (1 John 2:1, . This is when we join the right side, the winning side.
God is going to win this war. I’m going to go out on a limb and take it as seriously as He takes it, though of course He understands the gravity of the situation much more than I ever will. I’m going to enjoy Him. I’m going to enjoy life and people through Him. And I’m going to fight against the dark side (yes, Star Wars people…of course, the only thing about Star Wars is that the genre is that of sci-fi dualism, where either side has a possibility of winning, whereas here, in this war, God has already won, but yeah).
Whose side are you on?