Right now you are in the middle of a battle and chances are you don’t even know it. You might respond “I am not in a battle! I am a peaceful, loving person.” Then let me ask you this question: what is the struggle you are facing: making enough money to pay the bills, an unresolved relational conflict, a disease or poor health, overcoming a nagging addiction? We are all in a war whether or not we even recognize its reality. Of course, it would be advantageous for us to acknowledge it!
The idea that you and I are in a fight is a universal theme that spans the annals of history and runs across the gamut of world religions. For example, Buddhism teaches about the Four Noble Truths: all life is suffering or Dukkha; all suffering is from desire or craving called Tanha; if there is no craving there is no suffering; and if a person follows the Eightfold Path, there will be no craving which leads to no suffering. Hinduism presents this idea of battle as well. We find this in their concepts of Karma, Samsara and Moksha. Hindus believe that individuals are in a constant struggle to balance their good and bad deeds in order to achieve good Karma. Otherwise, a person is trapped in Samsara, often called the transmigration of the soul in which an individual soul is born again and again and again. Once a soul achieves good Karma, it leads to Moksha, which is freedom from Samsara. At Moksha, the individual soul is fully integrated into the Brahman or world soul. Lastly, the three major monotheistic religions of Christianity, Islam and Judaism believe in the existence of good and evil, God and Satan, angels and demons which fight against one another in an epic battle (for more information on world religions I recommend Understanding World Religions by George Braswell, the source I have used here).
Being a Protestant Pastor, I am rooted in the Christian tradition. My understanding is that the Bible unequivocally asserts the existence of a raging war surrounding us and enveloping us. No one is immune to it; rather everyone is affected by it.
In fact, the Bible is exceedingly comfortable employing war terminology and imagery in both the Old and New Testaments. In Exodus 14, as the Israelites fled from Egypt, they noticed the Egyptian army bearing down on them. It says in Exodus 14:10 “they were terrified and cried out to the Lord.” Moses attempted to comfort them: “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still” (Exodus 14:13—14). Later, after God decimated the Egyptian army in the Red Sea, Moses and Miriam sang a victory song to God: “The Lord is a warrior, the Lord is his name” (Ex. 15:3).
Here is another example: before David killed Goliath, he shouted “This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands” (1 Samuel 17:46—47).
The Bible even closes using war imagery. In the Apostle John’s vision he saw “…heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns…He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean” (Revelation 19:11-14).
So I propose that we as humans are in a fight. However, we cannot properly wage war until we know WHO is on our side, IDENTIFY our enemies, and form a battle STRATEGY. I will endeavor to expand on these topics in the coming weeks ahead.