By Pastor Tony Butler
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]. Eph. 6:12
One of my favorite games as a boy was playing army. I loved the excitement of our battles with our different war cries and special sound effects made as we were shooting our toy guns. As competitive boys, we argued over who shot who first, and indicted one another for cheating, crying out, “No fair!” However, at the end of the day, all our wounded and dead had to go home for supper and to get our baths. It was the perfect kind of war. Everything was make believe; it was all fun, and required no serious commitment. Our egos were satisfied; we were heroic warriors who won the day. After all, we had just finished fighting for our country and defeated the enemy.
As we grew a bit older, we decided to trade in our make believe toy guns for BB and Pellet guns. Pure fantasy didn’t cut it anymore; we wanted more realism with a certain level of risk, but not too much. Finally, the big day arrived in our neighborhood, “The Battle of the Clay Pit of Mayfair.” This time, there were no sound effects being made with toy guns. Today, metallic projectiles would be whizzing through the air to a designated human target. It so happened that on that day as I looked over a clay mound, I heard one of those projectiles whizzing through the air, and then I felt a tremendous stinging on my left collarbone. I had been shot with a pump pellet gun. All of a sudden, reality wasn’t so fun anymore. I wanted my mother! I wanted to cry! I was the one who was supposed to inflict pain on others. Getting shot wasn’t on my list.
As the battle progressed, there were several other casualties. One of my friends got shot with a BB in the eye and was blind for two days, before he told his parents for fear of punishment. After having experienced the pain of BB’s and pellets, we decided that realism wasn’t very fun, so we decided to retreat back to the fantasy of sound effects and the arguments over who shot whom.
Today there is another war going on, a world war that involves the souls of every person on this planet. It is the war between Satan and his kingdom, and the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. This war is no fantasy, and certainly no game. The eternal destiny of souls is at stake. There is no comparison between the physical death of a body, and the eternal death of a soul burning in torment in the lake of fire. The stakes of this war are much higher. All Christians are called to put on the full armor of God, and to fight a good fight with the weapons of our warfare, which are not guns and bombs, but are spiritual weapons that are mighty through God to the pulling down of satanic strongholds.
We are not to play it safe on the playground( inside the four walls), making a bunch of sound effects with no risks, but we are called by God to actually engage the enemy with the absolute promise of ultimate victory. Some Christians are like I was when I sought to up the stakes by replacing my toy gun with a BB gun. After having experienced the pain of being shot in battle, I decided that toy gun war fantasy was safer. I could pretend I was a warrior, but I never had to get hurt. Often we are like that in the church, making empty boasts and threats with a lot of Christian sound effects, but nothing is actually happening to defeat the enemy. It is fun and very safe.
Today, I beseech all those who truly belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, to get off the church playground, and on to God’s battleground. Submit yourselves to God, resist (fight) the devil, and he will flee from you!