Friday, September 11, 2015

If I ignore it, will it go away?

I’ve always had a soft spot for superhero movies, spy adventures, and true-story-inspired war epics—The Avengers, The Great Escape, James Bond, and so on. As the movie’s background music would build to its heart-stopping crescendo, I would relish the excitement of the hero saving the world against all the odds, the agent’s narrow escape, or the soldier’s bravery. 

As a child (and sometimes as an adult, I admit), I would replay the films in my imagination and put myself in a starring role. I imagined myself to be as tenacious, cunning, courageous, and self-sacrificing (not to mention superpower-full) as the on-screen characters. Real life could seem quite unremarkable after thrilling to those stories of war. 

The truth is, though, that I do live in a war. I just don’t tend to think about it. 

“This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.”

As a Christian, my worldview embraces the Great Controversy—the story of a war in heaven that spilled out onto earth, that great cosmic conflict between Good and Evil, Christ and Satan. When I lived in Asia, the spirit realm was a day-to-day reality; I knew people who had communication and tangible experiences with the spirits. I had some dubious encounters myself. However, in the comfortable, scientific culture of the West, it’s easy to forget that there’s more to life than what we see and that spiritual warfare is a reality. 

I do believe that I am part of the great battle between Good and Evil… yet I rarely live mindfully, as though I really do acknowledge my part in the controversy. Why?

After some honest reflection, I realized: I don’t want to be in a war. It’s too much bother.

If I ignore it, will it go away?

I don’t want to think twice about whether what I do, what I say, and the way I live is doing more for the side of Evil or for the side of Good. Whether I’m playing into the hands of the Enemy or being used by the hands of my God. Whether I’m under assault or unwittingly dispersing “friendly fire.”

Really, I just want to think about me. I want to skip through life comfortably and. . . blindly. It’s easier that way.

As a citizen of Earth, I don’t have a choice about whether I’m in a war or not, though. To pretend otherwise is to deny reality—a tragic reality that plays out on our TV screens and infiltrates our daily lives. Ultimately, I do have to choose which side to be on. How am I going to make a difference? 

Thank God that He is patiently, slowly changing the selfish tendencies of my heart. He doesn’t give up on me, even during the times when to the universe, I may look more like I’m playing the damaging role of a double agent rather than being faithful to the side I claim to have chosen.

I want to keep my heart awake and my eyes open to the meaningful part I can have in the unfolding plot of Good versus Evil. Looking at the world today, it feels more and more like we’re in the last chapter of the story.
"Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon that God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out."
Quotes take from Ephesians 6, The Message

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