When I was a little girl in Sunday school, we used to sing:
I may never march in the infantry
Ride in the cavalry
Shoot the artillery
I may never soar o’er the enemy
But I’m in the Lord’s army
I never gave much thought to the lyrics back then. Are Christians supposed to be at war? Pondering that question in light of scripture, the answer is clear. Yes, we certainly are.
Christians are indeed called to wage Holy War, but it looks nothing like what we saw in Paris last night. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, so we don’t fight our battles with guns and bombs. A Christian Holy War is a war against evil, and we fight wearing God’s military issue: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Eph 6:14-17)
When we enlist in the Lord’s army, we are deployed around the world to fight against things like hunger, poverty, and disease. We battle abuse, corruption, and oppression. We fight for justice. We fight to bring an end to evils like slavery and sex trafficking. We fight for the weak and vulnerable—for the widow, the orphan, the sick and the needy. We fight to spread a message of love and forgiveness to those who are forbidden to hear it.
We don’t kill our enemies; we pray for them. We don’t recruit by force; we compel by love.
Still, it’s a dangerous fight. In the battle against evil, there will be casualties. We’re called to count the cost and take up our cross. The alternative is to do nothing and allow evil to flourish.
Last night, terrorists gave their lives for their Holy War. Are we willing to do the same for ours? To make the prayer of Christian martyr, Betty Scott Stam, our battlecry?
“Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes
All my own desires and hopes and accept Thy will for my life.
I give myself, my life, my all
Utterly to Thee to be Thine forever.
Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit
Use me as Thou wilt, send me where Thou wilt
And work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost now
This is what a Christian Holy War looks like.
This is the good fight. The righteous fight. The only Holy War worth fighting.
Last night evil won a battle. One day love will win the war.