Training for War
Spiritual warfare begins with knowing the wiles of the devil in order to stand. Eph 6:11 In this context Stand is hístēmi to be of a steadfast mind. Ephesians 6 goes on to describe the full armor of God begining with the belt of Truth.
Every warrior knows the very first truth that must be acquired is a clear understanding of one’s own weaknesses. Emotion is always first. Any human being lacking a firm understanding of their own emotions, and the subsequent ability to self-regulate them is what Yuval Noah Harari calls a Hackable Animal. If you have never heard of Harari, he is a Jewish atheist homosexual historian and spokesperson for The World Economic Forum WEF. The WEF wants to put everyone in modern-day ghettos called fifteen-minute smart cities where “you’ll own nothing and be happy”. Among other things, Harari looks forward to the day when AI will rewrite the bible so that we will have a religion that is “more correct.”
But I digress…
Those who primarily rely on emotion to navigate the circumstances of their lives are easily manipulated by how they feel. Any stimulus that produces fear, lust anger, grief, or greed makes them supremely hackable. If you pay close attention you will quickly recognize that nearly all media, especially visual media is designed to hack you. The only way to ensure you aren’t hacked is to turn off what my dad called the idiot box.
This is especially true if you are Christian and a consumer of MainStream (I call it sewer stream) Media. If you think there is a lick of truth on FOX, CNN, NBC, MSNBC, ABC, or CBS, I have bad news for you.
You’ve been hacked!
In the West, we are often more concerned about offending the sensibilities of others than we are with establishing the truth. This is not the case outside the first world where horrors are a daily experience. Being a spiritual warrior requires we meet the reality of tragedy head-on without being consumed by emotion but also without losing compassion for our fellow image-bearers. Jesus repeatedly modeled this Eg. Mat 12:22-37. Jesus was not moved by the fickleness of human emotion because He knew all men and He knew what was in man. John 2:23-25 In our case walking this way requires an understanding that both sides of a conflict will do anything they can to spark emotion and glean support from the oh-so-hackable public.
All we know for sure is that one of them is fake.
The point here is that everything we know or think we know about this conflict is rooted in confirmation bias that is itself rooted in our own empirically unprovable presuppositions. “God exists.” “God does not exist.” “God’s name is YHVH.” “God’s name is Allah” are examples of presuppositions. Our confirmation bias is supported by what we read, hear, or see in the media. Unless you were there, you have no way of knowing the truth about the images above.
Yet how many will choose a side to hate based on media images?
What took place in Israel and is currently taking place in Gaza is horrific. The pressure to take sides is strong. This is exactly what the devil wants. Israel is so enraged by the unspeakable atrocities committed by Hamas that they are at risk of becoming Hamas themselves.
Many people know that Hamas in Arabic means zeal, strength, or bravery. We call them terrorists because, well…what they do is they do is terrifying. Still, they are fiercely loyal to each other and faithful to their families. Most are very young men with no knowledge of the outside world. They aren’t geopolitical analysts. All they know is that the people on the other side of the wall have been abusing and killing them since the day they were born. Had I been born into a Muslim family in Gaza I almost certainly would have joined them. On the other hand, had I been born an Israeli Jew. I’d have been in the IDF killing Hamas.
Today I follow Jesus. John 18:36
Do you suppose it is a coincidence that the word Violence in Hebrew is Chamac pronounced Hamas? Chamac is violence, wrong, cruelty, injustice, oppressor, and unrighteousness. That the earth was filled with Hamas is one of the reasons that God flooded it. Gen 6:11
For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Mat 24:37
No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 2 Tim 2:4
All warriors train according to a specific battle plan. They drill and drill and drill again until every movement becomes a part of who they are. If you are going to be a spiritual warrior you must do the same. You must first know God’s plan by studying it. His Word is His plan. Those familiar with the truth are less likely to be deceived by a counterfeit. Still, studying God’s word is not enough.
You must become it.
As Christians, we should know that God is a God of His word. He hasn’t broken His covenant with Israel even though they and we break ours all the time. The Jews may have been Appointed to disobey. But it wasn’t so they would be rejected and condemned. It was part of God’s plan to save all who would be saved including Israel before the foundations of the earth.
Let’s face it. Many of the things coming our way are pretty terrifying. Hamas has called for global Jihad. As I see it, it’s not so much a question of if it happens but when. God makes the inevitability of suffering as the Gospel of the Kingdom is fulfilled clear throughout His word. Hence soldiers always prepare to endure. 2 Tim 2:3
Once again, we have a choice. Will our hearts fail us from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth. Luke 21:26 Or will we look up and lift up our heads, because our redemption draws near.” Luke 21:28 Our reaction will be largely determined by how well we have mastered the aforementioned disciplines so that we have enough oil. Mat 25:1-13
Finally, I know that many were encouraged by the grandeur and mystery of God’s perfect plan that we discussed in Appointed. But did you know that
it gets even grander?
While the Jews and the Nation of Israel are the offspring of Jacob, the remaining Arabic people are descendants of Ishmael. Ishmael means God will hear. Many have read Genesis 21 and assumed that Ishmael was rejected and scorned. Yet God promised to also make Him a great nation. Gen 21:18 Ishmael is believed to have settled in Mecca and Muhammad is regarded as his descendant. At the end of the day Jews and Christians are contending with their estranged brother.
Just as we learned that God planned to redeem His disobedient, idolatrous, and adulterous bride Israel and the Church before the foundations of the earth, He has a similar plan for Ishmael.
On that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing amid the earth, whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.” Isaiah 19:24-25
I can’t help but wonder.
Could Ishmael be the prodigal son? Luke 15:11-32
Amidst all the insanity, chaos, and horror resulting from the total depravity of all mankind apart from the blood of Jesus, God is in the process of restoring the entire family of Abraham to which we all belong under one head.
That head is Jesus.
Stay focused. Titus 2: 11-15