Photographs copyright of Alicia A. Willis and Pinterest.
The Lord has been leading me to participate in some apologetics and evangelism lately, which has really given me a new appreciation for Christians who stand up for what they believe. It has also given me new thoughts about the overall process and mission of apologetics.
It's a war.
I think we tend to forget that we are in a spiritual war, that attacks are all around us. And if we don't counterattack, we are losing ground. Just as armed warriors fought to gain ground, to win the day with valor, so must we.
But, too often, we like to sit on the comfortable sidelines of the lists, situated in the daises where we can see and observe - but not fight. We like to wave our little banners at the fighters - but not too openly, lest someone else who is rooting for the opposing team get offended.
Wait a minute!
God didn't give us a butter knife when it came to apologetics. He gave us a double-edged sword!
And we were all issued a sword. Every one of us. Every one of us was issued armor and the instructions on how to use it. So why are we sitting on the sidelines?
This is why:
Cue the black knight's callous laughter. His lies echo throughout the lists, tingling in our ears.
You're just judgmental. You're a legalist. You're one of those hateful, old-timer fundamentalists. You're unloving.
Don't join the fight - who do you think you are anyway? You're weak. You know you're just a sinner. How dare you say something is wrong when you're saved by the blood just like anyone else?!
Everyone else is stronger. Don't bother coming out here in the lists. You'll be cut down at the first blow anyway. We're all against you. Do you really think you can stand against the masses - against us seasoned fighters?
Run. Hide. Stay on the sidelines. Wave your banner - but don't join the fight! Don't even think about drawing that sword.
Yep. About there, most of us start feeling like Elijah. I know - I've done it! "Oh, God, I'm the only one. Nobody else is fighting. I'm in the lists by myself!"
Wrong. Even if you don't even have a trusty squire or fellow knight, you are not alone! God is with you.
And there may be times when you feel like you are alone in the lists. You're fighting to the death, you feel like you're being forced down on your knees, there is no one to save you! That's when God brings in His other warriors - the ones who were fighting in the lists with you, but were at the other end where you couldn't see them.
So let me give you a few battle techniques I've learned lately. Maybe God will inspire you to add them to your own armor chest!
- Expect opposition. Don't come into apologetics with the idea that everyone is going to pat you on the back and buy you a new shield. The enemy is out there - and he's strong!
- Stay strong. Don't give in to popular beliefs or pressure. The masses are usually wrong. (Just make sure you're Biblically correct and being led by the Spirit before entering into battle.)
- When you counterattack by standing up for something that's right or against something that's wrong, expect two things: people to get mad or people to get right. People tend to get mad when they're under conviction. Generally speaking, the ones who attack you the hardest are probably the ones who deep down inside know they're wrong.
- Look for encouragement wherever you can. It will give you new battle vigor. Is someone else fighting the same battle you are? Team up. The Bible counsels us to walk and fight in pairs. While you are resting, he can be fighting (and vice versus).
- Pray. Spiritual attack is not to be taken lightly. Rebuke it in God's name and keep fighting.
- Walk in love. Fight the good fight and don't be weak, but don't be hateful either. Your motive in this war is to help, not hurt. Remember to be gracious and merciful - while still bearing in mind that true love speaks the truth. Love without truth is not love at all.
So get in the fight. The lists are open. Christ needs the Church to get off the daises and into the battleground.