The Salvation Army does good work, but I just realized their magazine is called War Cry. When I saw it for the first time here at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp, I thought it must be published by a separatist group from Montana. Then I remembered that it is the Salvation ARMY. What would Jesus, the Prince of Peace, think about a salvation army?
Christians here talk a lot about spiritual warfare and "binding Satan" which has been an odd term to me, since I first heard it. With all due respect, though, we do have one Corrections Officer who provides a valid and vivid mental image for just how a type of "satan binding" might be appropriately fulfilled, metaphorically speaking of course; but that's another post. Nevertheless, this spiritual warfare premise got me to pondering, as I seem to have ample time (because I'm doing time).
The apostle Paul, in his letter to the first century church at Ephesus, tells his readers to put on all of God's armor for a war against an unseen world. That certainly seems like we're getting ready for battle, doesn't it? But as we read on, we get a clearer description of that armor. Paul writes that the armor is truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, (not exactly fighting words) and finally the word of God.
Have you ever known anyone who liked to use the Bible as a sword to cut off people at the knees? I guess they excuse that behavior by contending that the cutting edges of the term "word of God" used by Paul here is the Bible. But let's remember that the Bible didn't exist when he wrote this. I believe Paul's "word of God" is the same "Word" that appears in the gospel of John.
John's gospel tells us that the Word was with God before the beginning. The Word is Christ. It's the Christ who was in Jesus when he was tempted to be someone else--fulfilled, powerful, famous. It's the Christ who's in us, too. It's the Christ who's our only hope of walking with truth, righteousness, peace, faith and salvation.
So, if we are in the midst of a war, I'm thinking that the battle is not "out there" at all. Instead, we see the battle ground whenever we look in the mirror, as it's continually going on IN ME and in you. It's won or lost, in the moment, depending on how we love what God loves, which is everything and everyone, even our enemies. That's a much more difficult battle than binding Satan.