As a working mother of four, I’ve had more than my share of annoying detours from peaceful living.
Perhaps the most edifying detour, however, occurred a few years ago when my oldest daughter returned from a short trip with the completely unexpected: a head full of lice. I wish I could say I handled the unwanted intruders with logic, refinement, and grace. But that would be an ugly lie.
The truth was that because I found myself on the front lines of a battle I was wholly unprepared for, I took a short sabbatical from reason and resorted to desperate, and darker, measures.
I spent the next few weeks relentlessly enlisting a slew of blitzkrieg maneuvers that involved lice treatments, olive oil caps, insect repellants, electric lice zappers, and militant cleaning regimens to eliminate even the smallest memory of the vermin from my family’s home.
Fortunately, the battle against the invaders was eventually won in spite of my slapdash behavior. And when reason–and the hindsight it offers–returned, I could see that had I simply spent some time educating myself on these pesky threats (or simply picked up a fine-tooth comb once in a while) I could have halted the infestation early on and avoided much of the madness.
More importantly, though, my experience with these virtually harmless invaders offered a tangible expression of the importance of preparation when dealing with truly threatening ones.
The fact is that spiritual vermin infiltrate our society, and inadvertently our homes, at all levels. More and more states are proposing and adopting legislation to allow legalized euthanasia practices and same-sex marriage in violation of God’s design for life.
Public schools often concern themselves more with the calorie intake of the snacks they offer than the moral fiber of the students they produce.
It even appears that an individual’s right to an abortion and contraception carries greater weight for many Americans than the right to life or religious freedom.
And the October 2012 Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life study indicates that one in five Americans proudly claim no religious affiliation and prefer to be labeled, at best, as “spiritual.”
The most troubling part of this scenario, however, is that far too many of us Christians either turn a blind eye to these threats for fear of coming across as unloving or simply rationalize these threats as “a new normal.” And unfortunately if the approaching full-fledge infestation surfaces, our lack of preparation will likely rattle us to the core.
We Christians are called to respond differently: we are called to live in a state of peaceful preparation for such attacks on the faith.
Saint Paul says as much in Ephesians 6: 12-15. There, he recognizes that Christians “do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
He does not suggest we Christians should express our love of neighbor by smiling politely at these dark forces and wait to respond until it is too late.
Rather he invokes soldier imagery, urging us Christians to “take up the whole armor of God… having girded [our] waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,” and to “shod [our] feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.”
In other words, Saint Paul knows that to effectively fight against the dark invaders of this world and to remain in a true state of peace while doing so, we Christians must not only know, understand, and live the Truth but must also fight for it all along the way.
As spiritual enemies line up in front of us, it is imperative now more than ever that we prepare the way of the gospel by facing the fight head on and living it boldly and courageously. Our future–and our peace–depend on it.
Copyright © 2012, Krissie Allen