Have you ever heard someone deny that the holocaust occurred? It seems almost preposterous, but I have heard that theory go around more than once. But denying that it happened doesn’t change the truth, does it?
As we have been learning to discern, we have learned what true, biblical Christianity is; we have learned how biblical Christianity is being corrupted; we have learned the importance of using scripture to give us a biblical paradigm; and we have learned that we must never follow man over the Word of God.
Today we are going to focus on the importance of acknowledging that there is a spiritual war going on. Just like the holocaust existed whether someone chooses to believe it or chooses not to believe it, so, too, does a spiritual war. Denying or ignoring it doesn’t change the fact that there is one.
Years ago, we Christians would sing songs like Onward, Christian Soldiers—
Onward, Christian soldiers,
marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus
going on before!
Christ, the royal Master,
leads against the foe;
Forward into battle,
see his banner go!
and Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus—
Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
Ye soldiers of the cross;
Lift high his royal banner,
It must not suffer loss.
From victory unto victory
His army shall he lead,
Till every foe is vanquished,
And Christ is Lord indeed.
But as the church started to change, we stopped singing songs like these. There was no longer a desire to focus on anything negative or unhappy. Instead of being focused on all truth found in scripture, it became a religion that was focused on personal purpose and happiness. All negativity was pushed to the side, while the church changed its focus to bringing happiness and goodness to the world.
Now don’t get me wrong–there is nothing wrong with doing good things, particularly if we are also sharing the unadulterated Gospel or encouraging a fellow believer! But when we become focused only on this, we are ignoring much of of the Bible. Hell (Mark 9:43; Matthew 25:41), prophecy (all of Revelation; Matthew 24), self-denial (Matthew 16:24; Romans 12:1), separating from the world (Romans 12:2, James 1:27)–all of these have been, by and large, ignored. And so, too, has the reality that there is a spiritual war that we are fighting every day of our lives.
Against the world (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
Against ourselves (Galatians 5:17).
And against Satan and his minions (Ephesians 6:10-20).
What does this have to do with discernment, you may ask? The answer to this is simple:
If we don’t recognize that there is a war going on, we will not see the need to discern.
And it is easy to ignore this spiritual war. Oh, so easy.
First, as I have already mentioned–most of us never hear anything about it. Out of sight, out of mind.
Second, we are too busy and distracted to be concerned. We fill our schedules with the mundane and declare ourselves too busy to be in the Word, which is the only place to get a full understanding of the war we are in. Yes, some of you are most definitely overwhelmed in an incredibly busy time of life. I’ve been there! But all of us have little pockets of time we find for what is important. Is scripture on your short list of priorities?
And, third, we just don’t want to think about it. Life is full of enough unpleasantries–things like stress at work, broken relationships, our own sinful habits–who needs to think about an over-arching spiritual war on top of all of these things? We want to be entertained. We want to think on happy things. We want to be comforted and coddled. We certainly don’t want to spend time thinking about a war we are fighting.
But, whether we think about it or not, it is there. In the spiritual realm. Every single minute of every single day.
Being aware of this war changes how we view almost everything, quite honestly.
If we recognize that the latest and greatest book may be a tool being used by Satan to harden our conscience or to change how we view God, we will do our research before just picking it up to read it.
If we know that the latest children’s movie may well be full of ungodly philosophies, we will keep our eyes open and discuss these things with our kids, using the scriptures (if we even allow them to watch it at all).
If we understand that Satan hates the true church and is doing everything in his power to infiltrate it in his goal to bring about a one-world religion, we will be much more apt to notice the red flags of human wisdom and mysticism that warn of its coming.
When we understand there is a deadly, spiritual war going on, all things will be carefully examined before we allow ourselves or those we love to just blindly ingest or indulge in them.
Many people don’t like those who discern. They think it is an unnecessary evil. But if we recognize the war, how can we help but to discern??
We don’t discern because we are unpleasant and unhappy people. It isn’t that we hate entertainment in and of itself. It isn’t that we desire to be negative. And it certainly isn’t that we hate the church and its dear people.
We discern because we understand there is a war going on. A deadly war that is taking many casualties. This war is keeping many from hearing the true Gospel and it is de-sensitizing true believers, rendering them completely ineffective for the cause of Christ.
And we are fighting in this war with the only weapon we have–the holy and perfect Word of God (Ephesians 6:17).
Dear readers, please be aware of this war. For it is only with this awareness, that we can be effective and godly discerners.
Please Note: If you are truly interested in knowing more about this war and who your enemy, Satan, really is, I highly, highly recommend this series on YouTube. This is, by far, the best resource I have ever found to explain how Satan has worked throughout history. It is made up of 77 short videos (4-7 minutes long). Don’t miss it!
You can find all the Learn to Discern posts here on this page.