When I look at the Christian landscape in 2016, especially on the social media and the internet, I am mostly inundated with a view of God and Christianity that paints the ideal believer as a timid, pacifistic, emotionally weak individual. I believe this to be a blatant misrepresentation of the Word and an attempt to strip away the overriding Biblical theme of what we are called to be as believers: Warriors.
The purpose of this devotional is to provide commentary and insight from the Scripture that can be applied to the lifestyle of the warrior. For our purposes, the warrior archetype is not limited to the armed professions (LEO, Military, etc.), but includes anyone who cares about personal defense and being prepared to confront the evil that exists in this world with the appropriate amount of force on both a physical and spiritual level.
While I will endeavor to keep each passage I use for this commentary in context, the applicability of Scripture to the various lifestyles of individual believers transcends the context in many ways.
I hope that the Scriptures and my commentary will encourage and uplift those who read it, and will inspire cordial debate when it is warranted. Enjoy!
I want to set the stage for what is to come by looking at a passage that gives us an idea of what we are to be as Warriors, and how we should be prepared to put on our armor when the time comes, and to do other things in their time as well. Let’s begin with Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:
“1There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every [a]event under heaven—
2 A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
5 A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
6 A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
8 A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.”
Here, King Solomon tells us God has ordained a time and place for every human activity under the sun. In each verse, he juxtaposes the more pleasant activities with the more fearful ones, as there may come a time in each individual’s life where partaking in one or the other might be appropriate.
For the purposes of the Warrior, there are a couple of important applications to be found here. First, we can see clearly that there is a time and place where it would be appropriate for Warriors to do Warrior things such as kill, tear down, throw stones, tear apart, hate, or make war. There is nothing inherently sinful about any of these human activities when they are done in a time and place that calls for them.
The Judeo-Christian tradition that undergirds our legal system has made it such that these times and places are usually codified into our laws. While the laws vary from state to state as far as the black letter, most generally justify the use of force in defense of one’s own life or the life of another in the right circumstances.
We train, carry our defensive tools, and stage them in our homes in case one of those “appointed times” to take action should arise. Our police officers and military personnel put on uniforms and walk our streets and deploy to foreign lands in case the time should arise.
We can see clearly from this passage (as well as others that we will address in future devotionals) that the Word does not indicate anywhere that the Almighty has a problem with an individual believer doing what needs to be done to combat evil when the time calls for it, including killing it. To believe otherwise is to ignore a large portion of Holy Scripture. There are appropriate circumstances for doing things that a lot of people would rather not do. What separates the Christian Warrior from the rest of Christian society is his or her willingness to step up and do the “dirty work” ,so to speak, that very often comes with confronting evil.
On the other hand, the Warrior cannot forget the other side of the equation. There is a time and place to sheathe the sword and partake in the gentler and happier things in life such as healing, building, laughing, dancing, embracing, and peace.
We as Warriors have to be careful not to obsess about our “Warriorness”. It is often a tough transition for a Warrior when the time comes for the happy things, but we have to be able to make it if we want to live the life that God has called us to.When military members return from combat, their ability to transition back to civilian life has an affect not only on their own mental well-being, but also greatly on that of their loved ones.
Though it isn’t always easy , we as Warriors have to remember how to act in times of peace. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be prepared for the time to come when we have to flip that switch again; but we shouldn’t let that preparedness prevent us from enjoying life during the good times.
I see this issue manifest itself in civilians with the folks who obsess about where they can and can’t sit to be “tactical”; those who choose to display their defensive tools or sport the 5.11 catalog in public spaces, or refuse to go places that prohibit the carry of their preferred defensive tools. In those situations, “time and place” considerations would be appropriate. There are a great many experiences that we as Warriors can miss out on if we aren’t mindful of our surroundings and acting appropriately for the time and place.
So, as you go through your life as a Warrior, don’t be ashamed of your willingness to do the things that need to be done when evil rears its ugly head. Your capacity for violence is not in itself sinful. It is nothing to be ashamed of. Solomon himself was a warrior King like his father David before him. Both of them fought and killed men when the time called for it. God put Warriors on this planet and gave us that predisposition for violence so that when the time comes, we can survive and help others to survive. But, when the time and place calls for happier things in life, don’t be standing on the sidelines in your tactical gear missing out on all the fun.