“Do not be afraid of them,” the Lord said to Joshua, “for I have given you victory over them. Not a single one of them will be able to stand up to you.” Joshua 10:8, NLT
The wars in the world, like the Ukraine war, are but the grim and stark revelations of the sins of lust, greed and pride that enslaves humanity. God did not create humanity to live in violence – it is humanity that choose violence. The battles recorded in the bible appears to depict God as a God of war. But these battles are God’s declaration of war against injustice, oppression and inhumanity.1
Adoni-Zedek the king of Jericho had called on the kings of Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon to attack Gibeon after the Gibeonites made peace with the people of Israel. The Gibeonites then called on Joshua to save them from the kings of the Amorites. Joshua was assured of victory by the Lord: “Do not be afraid of them,” the Lord said to Joshua, “for I have given you victory over them. Not a single one of them will be able to stand up to you.” And it was recorded that the sun stood still for a whole day until the Amorites were totally defeated.2
The most important lesson from this story is that God is not a God of war but a God of love and peace who has the power to make the sun stand still. It is not whether we believe the sun had stood still but whether we have a mind set that limits the omnipotence of God. We need a mind-set that believes that God can make the sun stand still to have a faith that expands our imagination and opens us to a universe with endless possibilities.3
The story of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ is mind blowing when we read of how darkness came over the land for three hours and the temple curtain was torn in two from top to bottom. There was an earthquake and tombs were opened and the bodies of many saints who had died were raised.4 Such stories are to blow up our logical, dualistic and exclusivistic mind and fill our hearts with a childlike wonder of God’s spiritual atomic power. Only then can we live our lives with the power of the resurrection and a pocketful of miracles in our daily lives.
Secondly, the stories of wars in the bible draw attention to the inner wars that are deep within our souls. We are a people of war because there is “a war that rages deep within us that boils over and sets the world on fire.”5 Our human nature drives us to fight for positions, possessions and power in the world. But there is a spiritual dimension of life that is beyond our thoughts as well as beyond space and time. We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.6 But we do not wage war with human weapons:
“For though we live as human beings, we do not wage war according to human standards, for the weapons of our warfare are not human weapons, but are made powerful by God for tearing down strongholds. We tear down arguments and every obstacle that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obey Christ.” 7
Jesus is our Prince of Peace and we are warriors of love. As a warrior of love we have to fight for peace within our souls. We cannot bring peace to the world, according to Erwin McManus, if we have never come to know peace within ourselves. Winning the battle for peace is by one person at a time, one heart at a time, one soul at a time.8 In Christ we can have inner peace even when the world is not at peace. But there can be no world peace when we do not have inner peace.
The biggest enemy of peace is fear. Fears steals our freedom and courage. What we fear has mastery over our souls.9 We become slaves of the devil instead of being the children of God. Jesus died to break the power of the devil over us by setting us free from the fear of death.10 To be a warrior of love we need to face death and to embrace pain and suffering in order to experience the power of the resurrection:
Times of affliction are the wars we go through to experience the joy of a resurrection life. They are times to turn our eyes from our transient afflictions to the glory of an eternal life in Christ Jesus.11 They are times to endure suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus:12
“Soldiers of Christ, arise, and put your armor on,
Strong in the strength which God supplies, through His eternal Son;
Strong in the Lord of Hosts, and in His mighty pow’r,
Who in the strength of Jesus trusts is more than conqueror.”
Lord, help me to be a warrior of love by being at peace with myself, with others and with You.
- What does it mean to be a warrior of love?
- How can I battle the negative thoughts that flood my mind?
- How can I change my mindset from one that limits God to one that is open to the miracles of God?
Song of Praise
Soldiers of Christ, Arise
- Erwin Raphael McManus, The Way of the Warrior, page xii
- Joshua 10:1-15, NLT
- Erwin Raphael McManus, The Way of the Warrior, page101
- Matthew 27:45-56, NET
- Erwin Raphael McManus, The Way of the Warrior, page xiii
- Ephesians 6:12, NLT
- 2 Cor 10:3-5 NET
- Erwin Raphael McManus, The Way of the Warrior, page 98
- Erwin Raphael McManus, The Way of the Warrior, page 7
- Hebrews 2:14-15, NET
- 2 Timothy 2:3, NLT
- 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, ESV
- Soldiers of Christ, Arise, Charles Wesley