Friday, June 15, 2012

The Boycott Battles!

Lately I have been considering Christian warfare.  And I really don't think I like what I have been seeing.  I have, for many years, wondered about certain activities, and whether they were really what a Christian should participate in.

In the very late '80s I recall being in Chicago, and while out shopping with a friend, being told we shouldn't shop at one of the big box stores (K-Mart, Target, I just can't recall!) because they sold pornography. At the time I didn't think about it, but later I started to consider this idea. Obviously, I don't want to support the porn industry.  Yet the store wasn't an adult bookstore.  If I recall, they had some paperbacks that were pornographic in their content (not pictures - but the writing within.)  That was it - nothing else.

As the years have gone by, I have noticed that the AFA and other "family friendly" organizations are pushing with significant strength the use of the boycott.  This seemed sensible at first, and especially because the culture seemed to be so hostile to my conservative and Christian values.  But then I noticed something...  The culture was being changed by this movement.  Christians were being characterized in the news as militant and angry.  And judging what I was reading, the characterizations were sometimes right on target.
Further I pondered how much of the culture could I effectively change using this method? Are we called to change the world? And if you "followed the money" far enough, isn't it likely that I would find somewhere up the chain someone, or something I disagreed with, or who disagreed with me?  And how far could I take this witch-hunt?  I recall that according to Scripture we are to live in the world but not be of it.  And how does boycotting Wal-Mart help me to not be "of the world?" 

I am beginning to think that the truth of the matter lies in the sphere of this spiritual war.  As Christians we are called to battle.  There is no question of that.  There are so many passages on warfare that anyone who would dispute that would be laughed to scorn!  But in looking at those verses we learn much about the enemy, the tools of the war trade, the place of warfare, and even training for the battlefield. 
Who is the enemy?
First off, consider the enemy.  Without dispute Satan wins that hands down.  But he also has his minions, we might call principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this age, and spiritual hosts of wickedness.  Now let me ask you a question...  Are non-believers part of the enemy's ranks?  As I thought of this it occurred to me that if they are not, this boycotting business is way out of line, since it punished those who were not even a part of the ranks of the enemy.  And plainly, this IS where I stand.  How can I take out my vengeance on someone who, though plainly ACTING like an enemy, was simply under the influence of the real Adversary, Satan?!  And isn’t vengeance the Lord’s anyway?

Where do we fight?
Next, where is this battle to be fought?  Let’s look at a few verses on the matter:
                For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:3-5)

       For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Eph. 6:12)
       When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him. (Isaiah 59:19b)
       Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands. (I Samuel 17:47)

       You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. (2 Tim. 2:3-4)
Notice that this warfare is not "according to the flesh” so the sphere is Spiritual, not earthy.  In 2 Corinthians we read that there is battle in the mind of the believer.  Language such as "casting down arguments" and “knowledge of God" make this clear enough.  In Ephesians we see it is "in the heavenly places".  In Second Timothy, Paul is advising Timothy not to "entangle" "himself with the affairs of this life" again plainly demonstrating that this soldier ought to be in the locale of the battle and that it is not in "the affairs of this life".  This culture war is a ruse.  I believe that it is part of Satan's war against the saints to keep us from being effective in the true Spiritual battle found in heavenly places and in the arena of the mind.

What kind of war is it?
Lastly, it is a Spiritual battle that, apart from God's hand we will lose!  Look at what David said to Goliath, "Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands."  David is flat out telling Goliath that he will fight this battle not in the strength of his arm, but in the power of God.  As the prophet says, "the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against" the enemy. 

We do not fight this battle in the flesh, nor by the strength of our arms or numbers (as a boycott suggests), nor in the sphere of this world, nor against the POW's of the enemy (non-believers).  Oh how much damage has been done by those well-meaning, but very misled Christian leaders?!  Ought we instead to be more interested in the equipping of the saints, teaching and admonishing them who and where and with what we wage this war according to the Scripture?  Instead we divide our influence and effectiveness by fighting in the wrong place against the wrong enemy with the wrong tools!

May God help us to be a Spiritual people who seek to get at the enemy with Prayer and Truth and Faith in the One whose battle it is to win!  Amen.

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