Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” but is there a right time for war? If so, when, why, and how do we take our stand?
King Solomon wrote,
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens . . . a time for war and a time for peace.”
The older I get, the less things appear worth fighting for — either to fight to win or to risk losing. Battles must be chosen wisely and fought strategically. Whether as willing or reluctant soldiers, God has enlisted Christians into a much larger engagement than we often realize.
Jesus forewarned His followers that satan, who was bent on destroying Him, would also engage in formal military combat against us.
Only two territories exist — the Kingdom of Light and the kingdom of darkness. No neutral ground exists. Though defeated, satan continues guerilla warfare to discourage and sidetrack the children of God.
Paul called his spiritual son, Timothy, onto the battlefield when he said,
“Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.”
2 Timothy 2:4
It is a fight our Commanding Officer, Jesus Christ, already won for us. Because we win, it is a good fight!
“Fight the good fight of true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you. which you have declared so well before many witnesses.”
I Timothy 6:12
Paul writes this instruction near the end of his long fought battle of true faith. Second Corinthians 11:23-28 vividly describes Paul’s combat: imprisonment, countless beatings, often near death, five times forty lashes minus one, stoned, three times shipwrecked, night and day adrift at sea, frequent journeys, dangers of river, robbers, from Jews, Gentiles, and false brothers, in the city and in the wilderness. Then add toil and hardship, sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, cold and exposure, plus the daily pressure of caring for the churches.
Paul encourages Timothy to fight the same way — not with traditional weapons of war, but with courage, dedication, and standing for true faith.
Believing and trusting in Jesus Christ eternally secures our place in heaven, but few people will fight for a belief! To fight the good fight of faith, we need a deep-seated conviction — a conviction for which we are willing to risk our lives. When faith is threatened, it is time for war.
Marriage and Family
My husband and I recently celebrated our fiftieth wedding anniversary. We have fought many battles to reach that milestone.
Although we both have an aversion to engage issues head on, we have learned that for a relationship to not just survive, but thrive, is to fight for what is most loving, most honorable, and most life-giving in our relationship.
The Bible offers solid advice.
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
Flies hang around garbage. It is a fact of nature. Everyone within relationship must be willing to deal with their own pile of refuse — garbage attitudes, garbage goals, garbage agendas, garbage emotional triggers . . . At times, I am shocked how much garbage I willingly drag around!
But when people lack willingness to tackle their own issues, peaceful co-existence becomes extremely difficult or even impossible. Whatever depends on me, is mine to correct with the help of the Holy Spirit.
The faint of heart shrink back, blame, and avoid. The courageous enter the battle and grapple with issues that threaten the integrity of relationships such as marriage, family, and friendships.
To protect these important relationships, we must discern the time for war.
The Internal Battle
Often, our greatest battles come from within.
Again, Paul defines this battle so well:
“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.”
Every Christian fights this war “within” — the war between our carnal nature and the Spirit of Christ. The battle continues until we enter heaven’s gates in ultimate triumph.
With all our hearts we desire to please and obey our Commanding Officer, Jesus. Yet our selfish nature demands its own way. At times, we boldly hold the winning line. While at other times, we succumb to old patterns!
“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death! Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Since Christ has already triumphed, He carries us through to victory. No matter how it appears at the moment, He will ultimately deliver us from this conflict between our sinful nature and the holy desire of the Spirit within us.
Every day is a time to war this strategic battle. Just as Jesus’ win became ours, our wins become the encouragement for others within the ranks.
A Time to War
Every campaign narrows down to the fight between good and evil, the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. Whether the battle openly shows up in our relationships or hides deep within our hearts, we must continue to fight, not in our own strength or through natural means, but through Jesus Christ.
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”
2 Corinthians 10:3-4
The moment we pick up earthly weapons, we lose our grip on divinely powerful ones. God equips us with something far more than angry words, manipulative tactics, or military might. He gives each of His followers powerful spiritual weapons in our arsenal.
As we fight, staying in tune with the Spirit, both internal and external strongholds must crumble and fall. Ephesians 6:10-18 more clearly defines our weapons. They are worth repeating here:
- Belt of truth (vs 14)
- Breastplate of righteousness (vs 14)
- Gospel of peace (vs 15)
- Shield of faith (vs 16)
- Helmet of salvation (vs 17)
- Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God ( vs 17)
- Prayer (vs 18)
Entire books have been written on the significance of our spiritual weaponry. When it is time to war, let us confront with truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and the Word of God — implementing each through fervent prayer.
Jesus engaged in the bloodiest altercation ever fought. He came forth victorious. Because He overcame, rising triumphant over the horrendous onslaught of satan, death and hell, we, too, face every adversary from victory’s side.
Today, we come to Him not for victory, but from victory!
Rise up, saint of God. You are mighty for the task! It is time for war!