Thursday, November 22, 2018

The War


I have used the metaphors of war because that is exactly how the Bible describes the conflict between God and Satan. But our struggle is a very different kind of war. The revolution of the kingdom is not a revolution of violence to be won by force. It does not advance on the basis of earthly power or principles of warfare. It has no tanks or guns or bombs. Its weapons are paradoxical: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We go out into the world assaulting the gates of hell by loving our neighbors—even our enemies. We go to the broken and ragged places to comfort the afflicted and bind up the brokenhearted. We carry the message of a new hope into our workplaces, schools, and town halls. We bind up the wounds of abuse, exploitation, addiction, and alienation with acts of forgiveness and healing. We are called to care for the widow, the orphan, the alien, and the stranger—to lift up justice and fight economic disparity, to speak up for the voiceless and hold our governments accountable, to challenge racism and bigotry, to be generous with our money-and to live lives of integrity. We see value in the worthless, find strength in the weak, and anoint the downtrodden with significance. We seek to right every wrong and take every thought captive to obedience to Jesus Christ. Our opponents are disarmed when they see our breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth buckled around our waist, and the helmet of our salvation. We march on feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. Every act of kindness, each moment spent in prayer, and every expression of love in the name of Christ pierces the heart of the enemy and sends him into retreat. These are the gentle weapons of the kingdom. There is still evil in the world, but evil is on the run.
                                                     -Richard Stearns, Unfinished

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