Today is the 100th anniversary of the United States entry into World War I. It is an event that history says “changed America, and the world forever.”
Although the war erupted in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson pursued a policy of neutrality which the vast majority of Americans favored. However, Germany’s imperialistic vision would not leave America alone. Our ships were attacked as we aided Great Britain and our other Allies.
Finally on April 6, 1917, two days after the Senate voted 82-6 to declare war against Germany, the House of Representatives endorsed the decision by a vote of 373-50. For history buffs there is an informative article in the National Review detailing the legacy of America’s role in World War I and why it was necessary for us to be engaged.
As I read, I reflected on the fact that sometimes conflict is unavoidable. Neutrality is not always the answer. On some issues there comes a time to make a decision. To take a stand. To fight against the forces of evil. While some of America’s recent decisions in that regard may be debated as questionable, the principle is still valid.
The same thing is true spiritually as well. The Bible resounds with messages and metaphors of warfare as we fight the hosts of wickedness, worldliness, and wantonness.
The apostle Paul admonished the young evangelist Timothy to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Tim. 6:12). Furthermore, Timothy is reminded that he has enlisted as “soldier of Jesus Christ.” Thus, he must endure hardship as he engages in “warfare” and be a “good solider.” (2 Timothy 2:3-4).
In Ephesians 6:10-20, Christians are urged to “put on the armor of God” as we fight against “the devil’s schemes.” The Bible is clear. We are at war against the Devil and his host of helpers. We’re fighting “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
The enemies of righteousness are strong, crafty, and subtle. We must rely on the power of God for our strength in this warfare. God has provided equipment to withstand Satan’s assaults. The belt of Truth. The breastplate of righteousness. The shoes of the Gospel. The shield of faith. The helmet of salvation. And the sword of the spirit.
The Lord has given us amour to protect us defensively against the enemy’s attacks as well as weapons for our offensive efforts. Of course, we understand that the “weapons of our warfare are not carnal.” They are spiritual. With faith in God and through fervent prayer, we take the message of the gospel to “cast down arguments” and “destroy speculations” that “exalts itself against the knowledge of God.” Our desire is to bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 10:4-5).
What are we fighting against? The works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21). This includes sexuality immorality. Ungodly attitudes. Licentious activities. Selfish ambitions. Religious error. And sanctimonious religiosity (Matt 23).
This fight must be engaged in our churches. Our homes. And our personal lives. Satan is fighting to control our minds and hearts. The spiritual health of our families is at stake. Our children and grandchildren are subjected to ungodly influences, unlike anything we’ve witnessed in recent history.
A culture favorable to Christianity is no longer on our side. We are bombarded with hedonistic messages from social media. Television. Movies. Music. Advertising. Print media. Governmental leaders. And sadly, sometimes even religious leaders and institutions.
We cannot be neutral. Nor shall we wring our hands in despair. We must declare war.
Put on the Christian amour. Prepare for battle. And be ready to fight the good fight of faith.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman