The Lord revealed unto the apostle John, "And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him… Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time" (Revelation 12:7-9, 12).
The war that started in heaven is still being fought here on earth as Satan and his angels seek to thwart and destroy the designs of God, and this battle is being waged both in the physical realm as well as on the spiritual plain. Ever since Adam and Eve, and then Cain and Able, Satan has not only sought to lead men astray from the path of righteousness but he is intent on spreading pain and misery everywhere he can. While the gospel of Jesus Christ is one of love and peace, the gospel of the devil is one of hate and war. While God desires man to be free to decide for himself what he will be, Satan seeks to enslave mankind and dictate through brutal force what he can and cannot do.
Throughout the entire history of the world, in every age of man and in every corner of the world, there has been a continuous stream of bloodshed, horror, fear, and corruption of morals as the battle between good and evil that started in heaven continues to wage on with ferocious intensity here on earth. And this is just as true of the age in which we live. There are many philosophies being advocated, in many different ways, promoting immorality as liberating us from the stifling constrictions taught by Christianity. But those who push this kind of philosophy are not content just to practice their own beliefs but are determined to prevent Christians from practicing theirs. In addition to this, throughout the world the idea of freedom for the individual is under attack and, in some cases, this clash is taking the form of violent protests and wars.
Yet, despite the greatest efforts of the devil and all of his angels to destroy the work of God, we know that in the end God wins and Satan is fully defeated. As Christians we believe that God is not only all-knowing and all-powerful but that no matter what happens God is always in complete control of every situation.
Whatever Satan does, instead of thwarting God's plans he's actually helping to fulfill them! When the devil tempted Adam and Eve, instead of destroying God's design for man, he made it possible for man to learn good from evil and thereby become more like God (Genesis 3:22 ). When Jesus came to earth, Satan tried to deceive and tempt Him to sin but when that failed and the people began following Jesus in ever increasing droves, Satan sought to get rid of Him by putting it into the hearts of the Pharisees to have him crucified. But rather than destroying the plan of salvation, Satan unwittingly helped bring it to pass. This is why Jesus told his disciples during their last meal together that they should not fear nor let their hearts be troubled (John 14:1)
What we see then is that Satan isn't so much our enemy as he is God's adversary and that this fight between good and evil is, in reality, a war between God and Satan. Since God never loses and the outcome of this battle is certain then that raises the question of, What is our role in this battle? Since God is all powerful and is in full and complete control of everything, no matter what happens, does that mean we don't need to do anything except sit idly by as God successfully fights His own battle, or should we be involved in this struggle as well? And if so, what is it we are supposed to do? On the other hand, if God is all-powerful, then why would He need our help at all?
As we study the scriptures, which is a history of God's dealing with mankind, and we look at real life situations today, what we see is a clear pattern that whenever God does anything for us, in almost all cases He does it through the instrumentality of man. For example, Christians believe that God wrote the Bible but it wasn't God's hand that actually wrote it. Instead He accomplished that work through the use of human hands. In the same way, when people pray to God for help, in nearly all cases God answers those prayers through people He sends to aid us.
To illustrate this point, let's say that someone's car breaks down late at night on a less traveled road and no one is around to assist them. When the driver prays for help, their car doesn't miraculously start working again. What usually happens is that shortly after praying someone shows up that has the very skills needed to help resolve the problem.
During America's Revolutionary War General Washington was charged with the task of protecting our newly declared freedom from the British army. There is a famous picture of him kneeling in the snow next to his horse as he sought divine guidance. (This actually happened. We know because a soldier witnessed him praying.) Washington had a strong faith in God and a firm reliance on divine protection but he didn't say, "I know that God can perform miracle so I don't need to do anything except call on Him to save us." Instead He did everything in his human power to defeat the best army in the world despite the seeming hopelessness of his situation while, at the same time, relying on God's help.
There is an adage that many Christians cite which says, "Pray like everything depends on God and work like everything depends on us." What that clearly infers is that God expects us to do our part while God does His part. In other words, God is not going to do for us what we can and should do for ourselves, and it also means we can't do God's part for Him because He's the only one who can do it. Then, when it comes to saving our country from spiritual destruction, what is it that we are supposed to do and what are we to let God do?
When we say that it is God who is in a battle with the devil then what we are talking about a war-like situation and in order to fight a war you need to have soldiers. Usually we think of the angels as being God's warriors, and they are, but as Christians, "we are all enlisted til the conflict is o'er" because this war involves us. In nearly every battle, the conflict involves a fight for the purpose of taking control of something -- usually land or a throne -- with the ultimate goal of being in control over people. The battle between God and Satan is all about conquering the souls of men, with the ultimate goal of deciding who is going to have dominion over us - God or Satan.
Since we are the objects over which this war is being fought, then it is important that we understand the answer to the question of what, if anything, are we supposed to do in this battle? Are we just merely pawns on a chessboard who are helplessly being moved about by powerful spiritual forces over which we have no control and which we cannot do anything about, or is there something we can or should be doing in defense of our own soul?
As stated earlier, God's normal pattern is to use men to carry out His purposes, such as answering people's prayers. When we look at the American Revolutionary War in hindsight we can clearly see God's guiding hand at critical times during that conflict. In fact, without God's help, the colonists couldn't possibly have succeeded. But, despite God's help, the colonists had to fight if they wanted their freedom. If they did not put forth a great amount of energy in protecting their land, they would have most assuredly lost to the British army, despite God's help.
Therefore, it seems clear that God expects us to work like everything depends on us, while trusting in Him to do what we can't do. So the real question becomes: What does God want us to do today when it comes to preserving our religious beliefs against the attacks of godless philosophies and against the freedoms that God has granted us?
There are some people who say that since God is in control of whatever is happening that we don't need to do anything because He is going to do whatever is necessary to bring about His purposes. Then there are others who believe that God expects us to fight for our liberties and that He allows us to decide for ourselves what we think is the best course of action. This way of thinking says that if we take the first step then God will bless our efforts, but if we do nothing then God will do nothing to help us.
However, if we are in a war, that's not how an army works. In any military battle, at the head of the army is one person who is the commanding officer and he's the one who plans the strategy of how he thinks he can win the war. That person then gives orders to his generals who then implement and pass those orders down to those under them, until the orders filter all the way to the foot soldiers on the front line.
Jesus is not only our King but He is our Lord which means we are His servants, and servants do what their master tells them to do. If this battle is between God and Satan then Jesus is our commander in chief and we are privates in His army. However, no soldier decides for themselves what they are going to do. Instead, they do exactly what they are told to do by their superiors. Even Jesus Himself did the same (John 5:19; 8:28; Matthew 26:39). As such, Jesus devises the strategy for winning the war and our duty is to take orders from Him.
Therefore it is our responsibility to go to God in prayer and asked, "What do you want me to do?" In one of our hymns we sing, "It may not be on a mountain high or over the stormy sea. It may not be at the battle's front my Lord will have need of me. But if by a still small voice he calls to paths that I do not know, I'll answer Dear Lord, with my hand in thine, I'll go where you want me to go. I'll go where you want me to go dear Lord over mountain or plain or sea. I'll say what you want me to say dear Lord, I'll be what you want me to be" (hymn #270 ).
In any battle, soldiers don't sit on the side line and watch the conflict as it takes place. If we call ourselves followers of Christ and Christ is engaged in a battle for good over evil then we have already pledged ourselves to follow Him into battle. That means, whatever God's strategy is for winning this war, He has a place for us in His plan because this battle is all about saving us ! It seems inconceivable and goes against how God works to say that we have no part to play in our own salvation.
We may not be called to be one of the generals directing the war effort, as He called George Washington to do, and we may not even be called to fight on the front lines, but there is something each of us are required to do in fighting to preserve freedom and righteousness on the earth. Since we know that God performs most of His work through the use of men therefore, if we are truly followers of Christ, we need to be asking in prayer, "What do you want me to do? How do you want me to serve you in a world that is increasingly turning to evil?"
There are some Christians, (especially those who believe that this is all God's work to do) who cannot bring themselves to ask God to bless America because our country has become so wicked and godless. To their way of thinking, since America has turned its back on God and is following Satan that God cannot possibly give her His blessings. In their mind, that would be like asking God to bless Satan.
But is not salvation a blessing? Salvation is not just forgiving people of their sins but calling people back to God so they can forsake their sins. In asking God to bless America we are not asking Him to bless America in spite of her sins or so she can continue to sin but to bless her with salvation by turning the hearts of its people back to Him.
The scriptures tell us to ask and it shall be given us. But what happens if Christians don't ask God to bless America? Will He still stretch forth His mighty hand to save her anyway or will He let her fall into the depths of despotism because Christians didn't care enough about their freedom to ask Him to save their country? I can imagine Jesus saying, "I gave you this land of freedom and prosperity but if you are not willing to even ask me to preserve it, why should I save it for you?"
In the scriptures Jesus told the parable of a king who bid the people of his kingdom to come to a wedding feast but the people refused to come so the king became angry with them and sent his servants out into the highway to invite strangers (Matthew 22:1-10). Jesus prefaced this parable by saying "The kingdom of heaven is like…" therefore, the people in this parable represent those who belonged to the kingdom of God or those who have accepted Jesus as their King. If those who call themselves Christians and followers of Christ are not willing to come when our King calls us to action, then this parable teaches that He will cast us aside and call others who will be willing to serve Him and His cause.
Since Jesus is the commander in chief of this battle, the way He calls people is through His Spirit, touching the hearts of those who will listen to His divine promptings. If millions of Christians throughout our nation pray, asking God to bless America and help turn our nation back to the path of righteousness, God will not only hear those prayers but will answer them. And the way He will do that is by inspiring individuals to take action.
In any modern army there are soldiers who are called to fight on the front lines where they take the bullets and bombs, but there are many others who serve in a supportive role. It may be the mechanics who fixes the trucks and planes, or the people who labor in the supply depots, or the clerks who produce all the necessary paperwork. While these jobs may not be dangerous and involve great peril of life, yet they are crucially important.
And the same is true in our battle with evil. Not everyone will be inspired to do the same job. Some will be led to take direct action in many different ways, where they will stand on the front lines, boldly confronting the enemy as they risk all they have to stand up and resist those who are determined to stamp out all forms of Christian principles. There will be others who will be called to fight on the legal and legislative front, and there will be yet others who will be called to serve in quieter, less visible ways in a supportive role.
Although this is God's war and He is waging it, He is nonetheless doing it through people who are willing to do what He calls them to do. Like Moses of old, Christians are often called to do things they never thought they could do but because we know that God wins in the end we can have hope that we too will ultimately win.
But as Christians look at the evil growing stronger all around them it's easy to fear and lose hope and question how God can be in control when everything around us seems to be going wrong. One reason why good Christians feel this way is that they see evil growing everywhere and they hear about all the bad things that are happening in the world but because they don't see God quietly working in the hearts of people they think there is no way to win. And because they can't see how we can win, they lose hope and belief is replaced with doubt and fear.
When these people look at the news and see the suffering, anger, and violence taking place in the world they have a hard time understanding why God would allow things like that to happen. Telling these kinds of Christians that God is in control doesn't comfort them because, to their way of thinking, if God really was in control then people wouldn't be getting hurt. Therefore, since people are getting hurt then, from all appearances, Satan seems to be the one who is control.
However, Satan is all about inflicting as much pain and misery in as many ways to as many people as he possibly can and, as Christians fight back to preserve righteousness in the land, then Satan fights back even harder, doubling his efforts to destroy the work of God. But when he does, that doesn't mean he's in control of the situation. In fact, just the opposite is true. He's acting out of desperation and fear of losing.
Whenever someone tries to clean up a messy room, they have to pull everything out first and then reorganize it. But in that process they actually have to make the mess worse in the short term before they can have it looking neat and clean in the end. Satan is making the biggest mess he can in the earth so when God steps in to clean up his mess, it will naturally become even worst for a short time, but in the end everything will be made right.
But as God goes about cleaning up Satan's mess, Christians are not spectators, sitting passively on the sideline as though we're watching two teams playing some sort of a game. We are in the middle of this battle and because of that there will be casualties and not everything will go smoothly for us all the time. We will win some skirmishes and we will lose others. More than that, the battle will be long and fierce and it will take strong courage and faith on our part to endure until the conflict is over. But we will only be victorious as long as we remain on the Lord's side and serve Him as He directs.
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