The War. (Which isn't in Ukraine)
I had noticed, of course, that the humans were having a lull in their European war–what they naïvely call ‘The War’!
C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
It’s natural for those of us outside of Ukraine or any of the other countries experiencing violent conflict, to think that we’re at peace. The war, we think, is over there, far away, while we’re safe at home. And yet, as Screwtape points out, this is not true at all. The war in this world is not the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. It is not a mere human war that is limited to one or a few countries, but involves every man, woman and child on the planet, and extends through all of human history. We are all of us at war, every day, and it is no metaphor - this war is the real war on which all other wars are modeled.
Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.
[Jesus said,] "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword."
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Fight the good fight of the faith.
1 Timothy 6:12
Evidently the war that we are engaged in is not fought with rifles and tanks since it is not a physical war (Eph. 6.10-20, 2 Cor 10.3-5). The fact that it is a spiritual war doesn't make it any less real (more rather), but it is fought differently, and we need to know where the front is if we want to be effective. Here are five areas where we are and need to be engaged with the enemy:
Fighting for truth
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.
2 Corinthian 10:4-5
When Paul mentions warfare in 2 Corinthians 10, he immediately describes it as a battle against arguments and opinions raised against the knowledge of God. The devil's primary weapon is and always has been deceit, and so we need to be able and ready to respond to his lies with the truth of God.
Fighting for faith
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
1 John 5:4
Faith means that we abandon all confidence in our own strength, and place our full trust in God. Faith is rejecting the rebellion of unbelief and proclaiming our loyalty to the king that we're fighting for.
Fighting for holiness
For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Pushing back the darkness in the world starts by rooting out the darkness in our own hearts. Every blow we strike against sin in God's people is a step towards the glorified earth "where righteousness dwells." (2 Peter 3:13)
Fighting for humanity
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
The countless healings that Jesus performed were one of the signs that he was inaugurating the kingdom of God, a sign of the glorious future where there will no longer be any sickness or death. When we care for people and meet physical needs, we follow in the footsteps of our Lord and continue the great work that he started.
Fighting for souls
Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
2 Timothy 2:10
Christ's kingdom does not expand by attacking people and controlling territory, but by shining the light of the gospel of the glory of God, to draw people out of the enemy's camp into joyful obedience to God.
Following our captain
Ukrainians have been inspired, and rightly so, by the noble conduct of their president, staying in Kyiv to lead the fight rather than fleeing to safety. How much more should we Christians be inspired by our leader, both to love and honor him, as well as to follow his example. Jesus marched straight into the trap that was laid for him, in order to take on the devil, sin, and death itself, defeating them all through his willingness to lay down his life out of love for his people. The entire course of his life he fought the good fight, with every breath, every step, every prayer, every word, every drop of blood, he fought for the glory of God and the freedom of his people.
How can we who love him not join in the cause that he gave so much for? How can we be satisfied with half measures when our captain dedicated himself body and soul? Every day the battle rages around us, and every morning is a new opportunity for a strategic attack. At home or at work, in our prayer closet or in the street, at the dinner table and at church, every act of love and every word spoken to the glory of God is a fresh blow against the enemy and another hill captured for the kingdom of God and the world to come.