Have you noticed how many of our worship songs have battle themes in them? Whether it’s an ancient hymn of the church, or a brand new worship song, the oft-repeated line is, “the battle belongs to the Lord.” I love battle songs and look forward to singing them every chance I get.
The Israelites of old showed us this. David, when faced with the awesome enemy Goliath declared, “…it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s…” (1 Samuel 17:47). Likewise, faced with an invading army bearing down, the word came, “… do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army, for the battle is not yours but God’s…” (2 Chronicles 20:15)
The Apostle Paul repeats this word in the New Testament, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood…” (Ephesians 6:12)
Got it. But why then do we continue to fight every earthly battle that comes along? Here are five examples of this:
- We fight against people. An insult is received, a wrong decision taken, and before you know it, we’re in a battle with someone. Emails and calls don’t get returned, grudges gain strength, and somehow, we’ve forgotten to ask what it might mean to leave the battle with the Lord.
- We fight against government. It’s a national pastime to complain and fight with the government, whether it’s over taxes paid, policies unfairly administered, or principles we just don’t agree with. And yet, salvation doesn’t reside in governments or political leaders. Instead, let’s pray for those who serve us in government, and leave that battle with the Lord, too.
- We fight against culture. Culture is easy pickings these days, as if resistance to the culture will somehow bring about the Kingdom of God in our midst. I think we would be better served by leaving that battle with the Lord, and living out the scriptural picture of a city set on a hill, or, a light set on a lampstand, living the Jesus way of life as a witness to all who will come.
- We fight against the education system. I agree that we have to stand up for our kids and that sometimes it is appropriate to fight for certain things in our educational system, but let’s not abdicate our role as parents and church leaders in the education of our kids. What would leaving this battle in the Lord’s hands mean?
- We fight against the church. This one I find particularly painful. The bride of Christ, the physical expression of His body on earth, the place we discover and begin to follow Jesus. And yet there are things I see in the church that I wish I could unsee. I keep reminding myself of Jesus’ words, “…I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
Friends, part of my job is to challenge you, to exhort you, to encourage you to greater things. I dream of a group of people who face challenges unimaginable, and yet, they find a way to leave those battles with the Lord, and they experience the joy of seeing God working in them, for them, and through them!
PS. If you’re a partner of Lakeside Church, don’t forget to participate in the nomination of potential new Elders for Lakeside. You can nominate up to three partners by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.