Tomorrow, I will be traveling to Morondava as one of the speakers for the INSCAE Christian Club annual camp. It will be an evangelization camp attended by approximately 70 to 80 students from this major business administration school here in the capital city. The 14-hour bus ride will take to the beautiful southwest coastline of Madagascar, famous for its baobabs, seafood, and scenic sunsets.
The theme of the camp is “God’s Soldier” based on Ephesians 6:11. It should a very exciting journey into this last section of Paul’s instructions to the Ephesians. As I have been reflecting and preparing to teach on this topic, I noticed that there are often misconceptions about being God’s soldier, probably induced by Hollywood movies and childhood fairy tales.
First, we want to be the hero of the battle. Who in my generation hasn’t marveled at Rambo’s bravery? Who did not want to be the gladiator in the middle of the arena defeating wild animals and fiercely mean people? Well, maybe a few women only, but you guys know what I am talking about. Well, in the context of Ephesians 6 and the spiritual battle, you are not the hero. You are the target. The battle takes place around you, so far above your head, and your soul is the bounty. You are weak and dependent upon a power that is not yours (Eph 6:10). God is the hero of the story. It’s His power, His armor, His victory. We sometimes want to usurp that from Him to be acclaimed for our valor. A wrong slant guarantees an adverse outcome to the battle.
The second delusion pertains to the nature of the battle. We imagine Lord-of-the-ring-type scenes, with epic battles, acts of incredible heroism, a dragon and a princess locked in a dungeon. The spiritual battle often has a more mundane setting. Commonplace is the most dangerous place, as it is where the soldier puts his guard down. Those are the seemingly meaningless conversations, the trivialities of life and the outwardly innocent choices. The schemes of the devil (Eph 6:11) are seldom coming with a big billboard giving away their nature; they aim to catch you when you expect it the least.
Finally, there is a misconception in the approach to the battle, as we come to it as if it were an even fight in which we hope to have an edge. We forget that greater is He who is inside of us than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). We forget that Jesus, Our Captain, has already defeated the enemy and that victory is ours in Him (1 Cor 15:55-57). We need to come to the battle prepared, strengthened and equipped, but we must also have poise, courage, and faith in the certainty of our victory if we abide by our Captain.
There is no room for nonchalance in this fight, nor is there room for fear and apathy. We are called to do what pleases the One who has enrolled us for battle (2 Tim 2:4); let’s be faithful to that task.
Wait, what am I doing? I’m preaching again, can’t help it, it seems.
Thanks for your prayers friends. This camp will be a spiritual battleground.