It seems as though each week at the dinner table, I’m talking to my children about another war. Some weeks, it’s the war of radical Islam against the western world. Other times, it’s the culture wars, involving issues like abortion, transgender issues, and gay marriage. Sprinkled in between are discussions of political wars between left and right, liberal and conservative. And most recently, conversations about the race wars and violence in our cities, battles with law enforcement, and even racism in our churches.
But while we can get very passionate about what is going wrong with all of these conflicts, we sometimes forget that they are all just various manifestations of the ONE REAL WAR: The war between the serpent and the Lamb, the Kingdom of Darkness and the Kingdom of Light. The Apostle Paul describes this war succinctly for us in Ephesians 6:12.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Of course, this one, real, spiritual war takes place on the battle fields between flesh and blood human beings, nations, and cultures. So we can and must certainly have conversations and debates about events and tragedies which occur in our world, thinking through who and what is wrong and right. And, as Christians, we can grieve and lament and pray over all of the problems in this world. Yet, as we talk to each other, and especially our children, we must put this all in the context of the one, real war. All of the wrestlings, the violence, and the fights are ultimately outgrowths of the war of the Kingdom of Darkness against our sovereign, holy, and gracious God. This reality also means that there are only two real armies at war: The saints versus the children of Satan; Christians versus non-Christians.
Therefore, as you have regular conversations about these current events with your children, always make the effort to direct their attention to the real war going on all around us. And when you do that, remember to teach the following truths about this war:
- King Jesus has already won the war. For the Christian, our eternity is secure in Him. Our victory is in Jesus and our true home is heaven!
- Until King Jesus returns, the war for the souls of men and women wages on. Because of sin and Satan, we will always live with the evils of racism, injustice, hatred, warfare, perversions, disease, murder, and all sorts of other suffering.
- Christians have the most powerful weapon in this war–the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel must be brought to the nations. Only the salvation of souls by the power of the Spirit and the Word changes things. And the one change that matters is that men, women, boys, and girls be brought to saving faith in Christ.
- All Christians need ongoing, Christ-centered, Gospel-driven education. We need to know God’s Word in order to understand our world and fight the good fight of faith. We need to learn the weapons we have available for this war. We must effectively apply God’s Word to all of the social, cultural, and relational issues of our day. We need to have our minds renewed so we can think God’s way and live a life of love.
Unless Jesus return soon, our children will soon be fully engaged in the culture wars, political battles, racial conflicts, and maybe even new civil and world wars. We need to keep their hearts and minds focused on the real enemy is and the ultimate victory. We want them to stay laser-focused on the twin tasks of evangelism and discipleship, following the Great Commission on this spiritual battlefield. So talk to your children regularly about the real war and how to keep their focus on the gospel of Jesus Christ in the midst of all of our human conflicts.