“The enemy is that way … surely you can’t have missed them.”
“We’re being decimated, soldiers. We need to attack the enemy. Stop that skirmishing amongst yourselves. Can’t you see the enemy’s advance?”
“Okay, Bob, it is just you and me. I say we run. Oh –too late. Hands up, eh?”
An improbable script for war? A possible script for a comedy? Tragically, it is too close to what happens time and time again in the Great War in which every Christian participates.
“Fight the good fight” (1 Timothy 6:12) urged a former officer in God’s army. That same officer also cried in desperation, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1 Corinthians 1:10).
Has anything changed over the millennia?
In the battle today, we see fronts where significant progress is made. Yet, too often we also see the soldiers in little huddles on the battleground, the enemy literally forgotten.
From a neat little circle, the ‘facts’ are clearly communicated. “Their so-called music isn’t music. They’ll end up with industrial deafness. We refuse to contribute to such a health hazard. Our king wants us to enjoy beauty. Speaking of which, I don’t understand why they don’t pay more attention to their appearances.”
In a huddle emanating a heavy ‘thump, thump, thump’, we can just distinguish the mutter. “They sing dirges. Surely the king doesn’t want funeral songs. Swank clothes and fancy hair … sick, man.”
Happy cries of delight come from another huddle, where a ‘group hug’ is happening. A lot of effort goes into maintaining a lovely lifestyle, which any soldier of the king should enjoy.
Neat little groups conduct structured debates in a quiet corner of the battle field. All agree that the Bible is truth. But the interpretation of ‘truth’ is another matter. Men should lead the church. Yet far from those little huddles, women are spearheading significant advances in the battle, the men nowhere to be seen. Differences in theology about divine guidance, the means of creation and the work of the Holy Spirit are frequent topics of debate in these insular little groups. In the meantime, lone soldiers who don’t even understand the terminology are occupied in heated battle with the enemy.
While many of the soldiers are busy in their ‘holy huddles’, the enemy is active. He watches the Christian soldiers, most of whom are oblivious to his presence. He calmly picks off one person after another, with only the occasional indignant shout from a soldier. His methods of attack are varied. Sometimes he lures people with persuasive propaganda. Other times, he uses violence and force. Sadly, in many instances, he acts unhindered.
One or two officers can see the big picture.
“Stand together, soldiers. Focus on the enemy. You are friends, not foes. Pull together!”
“Yes, Dan, I know that soldier has dreadlocks. Michael, that soldier with a suit and briefcase does know about life – listen and fight together. Your dialects may be a little different, but you can understand if you make an effort.”
“How many battles do we need to quench amongst ourselves? This is ridiculous!”
“Technical support soldiers – face the facts - nobody cares how you get the job done – just do it!”
A memo is sent to every soldier, senior and junior.
“Our diversity is great. Our success, however, is dependent on us pulling together. We all follow the one supreme commander. Focus on Him and overlook the differences between us, frustrating though they may be. It is only through a common focus on our King that we will stand firm to fight the enemy.”
A little voice is heard. “But….”
There is always somebody saying ‘but…’ We’re not talking about a game. This is war. ‘But…’ nothing. Fellow soldiers, if we are to make significant advances, then let us focus on our King and fight.
Another great army officer once said, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
Come on, Christians. Have a war mentality. Focus on the King. Defend our country!