Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. (Revelation 19:11)
Relate: Just a few days back on Christmas Eve, I was climbing a mountain near where the oldest church building in the world exists. I really wanted to wander off the path I was on and explore the place on my own terms. I did until I remembered that this side of the mountain started in Turkey but the other side ended in Syria. The last thing I wanted was to be caught somewhere on this mountain by soldiers thinking I was illegally going somewhere I shouldn’t.
Later that same day I wanted to attend a Christmas Eve service in a newer (but still very old) church building in the heart of downtown Antioch. Although I had never been there before, there was no question when I got close. The street was one only for foot traffic and a few meters away from the church on each side were police barricades with six soldiers at each. They were patting down anyone who wanted to cross those barricades. Then, once I got to the large, locked gate I had another conversation with someone from the church and another gentleman I strongly suggest was a plainclothes officer. It was only after I was able to prove that I really was an American and I really was a Christian that they would let me inside.
The most common reaction from those with whom I have shared this experience was something along the lines of, “I’m sorry that such security was necessary but I am glad that the police there are willing to help keep you safe.” I’m not. What if I wasn’t a foreign “tourist” but a local? What if I was a Mualim? Would they not have let me in? On a day where we have such an excellent opportunity to reach out to the seekers, the curious, the lost, why are we barring entrance? Who is supposed to be fighting our battles? The government? Ourselves?
React: When Peter declared Jesus as the Son of God, Jesus said that on this rock, this declaration, He would build His kingdom and the gates of hell would not be able to stand against it. We have reversed it in our day. Instead of the gates of hell not being able to stand against the force of the church, we are living as though the forces of hell will not be able to stand against the gates of the church. What I saw on Christmas Eve was a very real picture of what we all seem to do on one level or another.
Instead of getting down on our knees and waging a spiritual battle for our schools, we get into the courtrooms to wage a political battle to “get prayer in our schools”. Instead of showing love and grace and physical support to young mothers who are afraid that they will not be able to raise their child, we raise our fists and our placards and our angry voices as we march against the murder of the preborn. Instead of realizing that it is only through the church that we can fix our world, we are trying to use the systems of the world to fix our church.
What happens on a large scale also happens on the small. How many times have I risen to my own defense when I have felt I was wronged? How many times have I tried to “fix” a situation in my own or a friend’s life that really needs to be solved on a spiritual level first? Have I been throwing money, time, and effort on problems but not prayer and love? Am I trying to fight my own battles instead of trusting the One who is named Faithful and True? He is the one who “judges fairly and wages a righteous war.” What am I facing this coming year? What are you facing? He’s got this.
I am sorry for all the ways I have tried to fight my own battles. I am sorry for the way I have tried to defend my own name rather than lifting up Yours. Help me to get out of Your way. Help me to take down the barricades in my heart and to take the great risk of loving those You love. You are faithful and You are true. You are my justice. Let me get past my own self-righteousness so that You can wage a truly righteous war for this world.