Sunday, September 4, 2016

the church militant

Lewis points out the similarities between being a Christian and being a soldier today in A Year with C.S. Lewis.

He says that if you are outside of either of these groups, you think life is very different inside of them than it really is. If you're not a Christian, you think that Christians just pray and worship and read the Bible all of the time. And if you're not a soldier, you think that soldiers just shoot the enemy and plan strategy all day long.

As we know, life isn't like that on the inside. We laugh, we eat, we read books, we listen to music. No matter whether we're soldiers or followers of Jesus (or both), we're still human, and we do human things.

But the interesting thing about his observations is that it implicitly ties the two together in our brain. We realize that being a Christian is a great deal LIKE being in the military. Indeed, it IS a form of being in the military, in that we are surrounded by enemies and we're working against their plans to further a cause that is greater than ourselves.

Paul referred to this when he talked about our "wrestling not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers". And Paul is right, in that our fight isn't against evil people... it's against evil itself. But, it does play out with us fighting against evil people sometimes. And that's when we have to remember that they are not the real enemy. That is why Jesus's commandment to love our enemy makes so much sense. Our real enemy is using these people like pawns, and we are cooperating with our King like self-aware pawns, too... and when the pawns meet the pawns, we don't want to take out our resistance against the evil King on the poor pawn in front of us. We want to treat them like we would want to be treated, even as we struggle against the evil King who is manipulating them.

It's an odd position to be in... fighting a war against an enemy that we can't see, but expressing it in words and actions to people that we CAN see. And that expression... those words and actions... we're commanded to make them "love".

God, thank You for working through us to advance Your kingdom, and letting us have the privilege of loving your children while you work through us at the same time.


Maureen Sullivan said...

I love very much what you have said---Thank you!!

julie reedy said...