December 28, 2020
by Samuel E. Molind, DMD
Director Emeritus, Global Health Outreach
Our GHO team was boarding a commercial airliner, we stowed our gear and fastened our seat belts just as we had done so many times before. It all seemed so routine, but the next time the door opened, the routine would vanish like a dream. When the door swung open, the heat and humidity rolled over us like a tsunami. Every pore of our bodies seeped sweat. And the smell was something awful; a strange brew of jet fumes, sewage, rotten vegetables, smoke and gun powder, exploded into our nostrils. The dust was blowing around such that we were being sand blasted without it being a real sandstorm, though we would later experience that as well on this journey. This was Afghanistan. Welcome to the war zone.
The problem for many Christians is that they have no concept they are living in a war zone. Too many Christians trudge half numb through this life oblivious to the perils all around them. The war zone indicators are all there, but we act like it couldn’t possibly be real. All too often, Christians become casualties, shot to pieces in a war they didn’t take seriously. I can’t get out of mind my friends where were destroyed—pulled down by the temptations around them. Some of their names and faces flash across my mind even now. Good men and women who loved God but became battle-fatigued and dropped their guard and the enemy picked them off.
The sad thing is that I seldom see many of these good people in formation anymore. They’re too wounded to fight, too shamed to care. I suspect that in the night watches they felt the constant pain, and deep within their spirit they moan, knowing something is not right. Oh, it’s a war all right. And we’ve got to learn, in the apostle Paul’s words to “stand firm” (Ephesians 6:11, NASB). That’s the military term, ordering you and me to hold on to the high ground at all costs. Yes, this is a combat zone, and the enemy has a thousand weapons to aim at you. Sometimes it’s just small-arms fire. Sometimes it’s heavy artillery. Sometimes it’s a deadly booby trap hidden under innocent looking turf.
Don’t be mistaken, the enemy knows how to slip past our perimeters. Somehow the dark side seems to know just where our buttons are—and how to push them. It may be something as small as flying off the handle at some guy tailgating us or as profound as falling off the marriage bed in into the arms of another or thinking it is not important to be righteous or holy before our God. Small or heavy armament, it is all destructive. In Paul’s words, each of us needs to be a soldier in active service who constantly refuses to entangle himself or herself in the sorted affairs of everyday life, so that we may please the One who enlisted us as His soldiers (2 Timothy 2:4). If we are not, we are going to get picked off in the battlefield.
Most of the toughest battles are down deep inside us, facing off with one temptation and attitude after another. Every time you or I yield to sin, we give the adversary a little bit of ourselves and open the door for the enemy.
Yes, this is the world at war. The earth is a battlefield. You are living in a war zone. Its explosive nature is readily visible all around us. Divorce, child abuse, addictions, alcohol, drugs, sex, violent crime, dishonesty at the highest levels of government and the call of a declining culture.
Like every battlefield, life is filled with confusion, loud noises, chaos, the smell of explosives and shock after shock. It’s downright dangerous. It is often like walking in a mine field. Jesus Christ is the only one who can get us through the mine field without being destroyed and permanently damaging our families. He has instructed us to follow Him. He is the one who can guide you through the minefield without damage and destruction to your life and your family. If you belong to Jesus, He is ordering you to follow Him. Your assignment is to stick with Him so closely that you can feel His heartbeat and have great joy in the process.
In His grasp and held by grace,