There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens … a time for war and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1&8 (NIV)
Solomon said there’s “a time for war” Ecclesiastes 3:8. And Jesus said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword . . .” Matthew 10:34.
If we’re going to understand God we must appreciate that at certain times, for certain issues and in certain places, God is willing to declare war. Which implies there will be times, issues, and places where we will also have to declare war.
I believe it’s such a time. It’s time for war. A war in which Christians need to take a stand against Satan, demons and sin. For the moral boundaries of our society are being violated. One out of every six households is maintained by a woman with no husband present. Hundreds of thousands of teenage girls are practicing prostitution to support drug addictions. One out of three marriages ends in divorce. Every 78 seconds a teenager in North America attempts suicide. And the statistics go on . . .
That’s why we need to go to war. As Steve Farrar says, “War has been declared upon the family, on your family and mine. And leading a family through the chaos of today’s culture is like leading a small patrol through enemy-occupied territory.” Yes, this is a real war with real casualties. It’s a battle that’s every bit as fierce as the Vietnam War. People are having their bodies destroyed by drug addiction and alcohol abuse. Millions of babies are being killed by abortionists. Countless children are suffering in custody battles between parents. Scores of men and women are hooked on pornography and sexual deviancy.
So let’s heed God’s call to go to war and let’s fight the battles God’s way. Here are some ideas for going to war gleaned from Joshua’s conquest of Canaan (cf. Joshua 1-10).
When we go to war, it must be God’s campaign. God must give the marching orders, supply the battle plans, and be the Commander in Chief. That’s crucial. It must be His campaign from beginning to end. We can’t go to war for something that we want. It can’t be our initiative. We can’t take matters into our own hands. It must be God initiated and God directed. Anything short of this will end in disaster.
We must go to war with courage. Some Christian men fall short in the masculinity stakes. I agree with Professor Patrick Arnold, a Jesuit priest, when he said, “A newly neutered Christianity is beginning to produce a generation of men with no ‘wildness’ and no ‘fight’ in them, a blow dried, Gucci-shoed and sun tanned lot whose primary moral achievement is ‘being nice’” The trouble is, we don’t usually win a war by being nice. We must be bold and strong. We’ve got to have moral fiber. We must “fight the good fight” 1 Timothy 6:12. As God said to Joshua, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” Joshua 1:9.
We must go to war without compromise. In Joshua 10:40 we read that Joshua “. . . left no survivors. He totally destroyed all who breathed, just as the Lord, the God of Israel, had commanded.” That’s the way to wage war – no compromise! Sin must never be met half way. We must never come to terms with evil. And we must never strike a deal with Satan.
We must go to war with Christian comrades. Never go into battle alone. There’s strength in numbers. Gather together with spiritually strong believers who have a proven track record of being able to take on sin and defeat it. In other words, go to war with believers who’ve proven their valour and mettle. These are the believers who have held their families together, who have raised godly children, who haven’t had affairs, who’ve been honest in business, and have led an upright and holy life.
Finally, we must go to war until it comes to completion. The plan must be to use enough force to clean up the mess and after that the hostilities must cease. There must never be the intent to have a war that goes on indefinitely. For as we see in Joshua 11:23, when Joshua’s conquest of Canaan was over, “the land had rest from war.” Which means it’s a poor decision to go to war against alcoholism, adultery, drug abuse, poverty, homosexuality, abortion, pornography, child abuse, etc. because victory is impossible – these things will never come to an end.
But you should go to war against whatever is hurting your marriage. You should go to war against an adulterous situation. You should go to war to free someone from alcoholism. You should go to war against the merchant who sells pornographic movies. Or, suppose your friend has a daughter who is pregnant and she’s considering an abortion. You can take on the battle of saving the life of the unborn child. For these battles can be defined in terms which will come to an end.
So go to war. And as you do, remember that although ”we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world” 2 Corinthians 10:3-4. Nor do we “fight like a man beating the air” 1 Corinthians 9:26. On the contrary, when we go to war we know that ”our God will fight for us!” Nehemiah 4:20.