Last Call: Picking Up the Sword of the Spirit
For almost three years I have been conducting an unscientific, informal survey. I have been asking fellow Christians two questions.
*Do you think the world perceives Christians as being strong or weak? The answer, without exception, has always been the same – weak.
*Why does the world think Christians are weak? This answer varies but is usually tied to the basic tenets of Christianity. Those tenets include love, forgiveness, gentleness, meekness, kindness, generosity and the like. These traits are considered lame and a sign of weakness to many secular people when it appeared to them something much stronger was called for. The second most common answer to this question is tied to the personal failure of Christians and their leaders. These answers include the sexual sin, corruption and other actions that are considered personal failures.
Christians are Weak?
The notion that Christians are weak, in spite of all the strong promises the Bible gives the believer, is deeply disturbing, and it drives me nuts. It seems to me the world should be shaking in fear when they consider the Christian for each one stands not only with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, but also with all the powers of heaven at their disposal.
The Final Quest by Rick Joyner depicts Christians in the last days trudging along, slumped over with oppression and shame from demons riding on their back for so long they act as though it is normal – seemingly oblivious to the knowledge of Ephesians 6.
Ephesians 6:10-18 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”
These verses indicate we are in a constant struggle.
Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman writes; “If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. But what if Request personal prophecy you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero’s path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.”
The Sheepdog is the person who naturally walks towards trouble instead of running from it. The Christian Sheepdog is one who also understands that evil on this earth is usually manifested in and through people at the prompting of Satan. This person is also savvy to the fact that evil understands only one thing – an overwhelming amount of force.
There are many well-meaning evangelical leaders who preach passivity in the face of any violence, and there are many Christians who agree with this theology. I will respectfully disagree on this point. My personal opinion, which I believe is validated by Scripture, is that the intent of verses containing instructions such as “turn the other cheek” and “put your swords away” are specifically directed toward behavior we are to emulate when being persecuted in the name of Jesus. This, of course, stands in stark contrast to the divine violence Jesus used when He dealt with Satan. It also contradicts other verses in the Bible.
There are acts committed by human beings that can only be ascribed to evil. The notion of turning the other cheek while a loved one is being beaten, raped or stabbed is not what these verses refer to. The Bible is clear that Christians should come against evil wherever they find it.
In Romans 13, it is clear that God designed a system, and people within it, to be agents of wrath bringing punishment on the wrongdoer. There is no suggestion of wrongdoing being met with passivity in these verses.
Romans 13:1-4 “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.”