We are surrounded by a war. It comes in many forms. Many attacks assault us from within and from without. Our sinful desires and actions threaten to build a wall of guilt and callous that would turn us from the Lord. The world’s message of gratification and satisfaction flies in the face of what we would know and confess — that Christ is all in all for us. What are we to do in this battle?
#1 We are fed. Soldiers cannot fight on an empty stomach. So we gather as often as possible to be fed by God with the bread of life and the living water. This is our foundation. This is our fuel. This is found in the Word and Sacrament meals given when we gather for worship as God’s people.
#2 We are armed. Along with being fed we pick up our swords and the edges are sharpened as we dig into, mark, and learn the truths of God’s love for His creation. This is done when we spend time in prayer and study of God’s word with and for one another.
#3 We are received as members of the family of God. During the month of May we will see this as we receive new members by confession of faith, as we receive new members by confirmation, and as we witness many baptisms. In each of these occasions we see God working for us; understanding that no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.
#4 We die. This doesn’t sound like a very good way to fight, but then this isn’t the same type of death we promise to be willing to face as we join the family of God. This is a death of the sin within us. This is a drowning of our evil lusts and desires. This is a killing of the wicked within. In May we remember those who have died defending our freedoms on Memorial Day and in this we can reminded of the death we die to sin. This is a continual dying because each time we rise again we try to fight on our own and forget where the battle is won. We forget until we repent of our ignorance and die again to live in Him.
In Judges Chapter 7 we see a battle where God’s faithful people seemed to fight against all logic. 32,000 men gathered to go to war and God whittled the number down to 300. These men faced off following faithfully the directions of God given through Gideon and they won the battle. God demonstrated His strength in the midst of weakness.
And so He does for us. Christ has won the battle for us. His death on the cross would be seen and described as many as the weakest attempt at a fight but it was the only battle that will matter forever. In this death on the cross we see a defeat of sin as it can never spoil us again. Three days later in the resurrection of Jesus we see a victory of new life that is for you and all who believe in Him.
So what do we do? Look at the verbs in the #1-#4 above and notice who is acting. Who is feeding? Who is arming? Who is receiving? Who is killing? It is God doing these things for us. It is never about what we do, it is about what He has done for us.
I am excited to see the things God will continue to do through us and to see how He will use us to share what He has done with the world around us.
May He continue to be our strength, always even when we are at our weakest.