Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Prepare for's prepared for you.

I've been on a metal kick lately, and in that kick, the war imagery that permeates Christian and secular metal of all genres has been sticking out.  Secular bands dig into the violence and gore of the battlefield, along with the pride of victory and agony of defeat, while Christian bands tend to use the imagery as a metaphor for the spiritual battles we face.  The question that comes to mind is if such imagery is appropriate in the Christian realm.
The Old Testament is replete with not just war imagery, but real war as Israel both acted as the means of God's judgement on the various people occupying the Promised Land and as they faced judgement for breaking God's covenant.  Along with the historical books, the prophets and psalms use battle and weapons to illustrate the conflict between not only God and the world, but the internal spiritual battles mankind fights.
The New Testament moves away from the physical war, with Jesus setting an example of pacifism.  However, as Jesus was approaching his arrest, He instructed the disciples to buy a sword if they did not have one, indicating that there is a time to fight.  Later, Paul uses the reference to both the weapons of our warfare and the full armor of God to describe the struggle between the Christian and the world, and how those struggles are to be handled. 
That is the clincher here.  Anyone who has been honest about their struggles with sin, whether it's lust, addiction, anger, doubt, or any of the long list of what we fight against inside knows it is a war, period.  Anyone who is honest about the struggles we face trying to show and convince the world about the truth of Christ knows it is a war, period.  These aren't spiritual debates (though they may be worldly ones) they aren't board games, they aren't book reports, these are nasty, vicious, bloody, fights to the finish.  It's barely even a metaphor to describe the need for swords and shields to win these battles. 
I think while we need to maintain Christ's example of not engaging in unnecessary worldly battles, the pendulum has swung a bit too far, with too much focus on being a door mat for the world, with not enough honesty about how our struggles, both internally and with the world need to handled.  It can be very easy to take the mindset too far the other way, focusing too hard on the battle and not those weapons and where we get them from, or be looking for the worldly victory over spiritual ones.  But we can't win the battle if we walk into it prepared to flip tiddlywinks, either.    

No comments:

Post a Comment