Sometimes it feels like we're fighting battles on multiple fronts: cultural, spiritual, psychological, ideological, political...it's exhausting. Media messages for and against, friends who stand on both sides of any given issue, all exert their own influence and it can be hard to find an equilibrium.
I'm thinking today about the battles I'm supposed to fight, and identifying the true enemy. I don't want to be like Don Quixote, flailing at windmills, thinking I'm on the battle field when I'm really not. Where is the battle? What are the dragons to be slain?
In Jesus' day, there were just as many issues, contentions and problems in his world. Rome ruled the region with an iron fist; poverty, cultural tensions, injustice and oppression part and parcel to empire. What battles, then, did Jesus take-on? In the Gospels we see that Jesus didn't come to lead a military rebellion or political protest. His fight was a spiritual one, one that shed light on darkness, the underlying sin condition that keeps us all from God.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Not only that, Jesus concerned himself with ministering hope and healing to the poor, sick and hurting, the outcast and the widow. He didn't waste his time on debates; he spoke with authority and backed it up with action. We need to see a whole lot more of that from Jesus followers today.
Rather than getting caught-up in the perceived injustices I feel, can I focus instead on being a minister of peace? Will I actually and actively bring the Kingdom to earth, through how I live? Will I take the cost of someone else's debt upon myself (Matthew 20:28)? Will I walk an extra mile, when an oppressor demands one (Matthew 5:41)? Does my radical, obedient faith require more of me than quiet Sunday mornings and complaints about the world we live in?
This is the battle ground I have been given; my own interior struggle against selfishness, entitlement, putting myself before others. Every day I choose whether or not to go into battle and fight those dragons face-to-face.