The Trouble with Warriors

The Trouble with Warriors June 7, 2018

I’ve often seen grown men and women announcing that they are “soldiers for Jesus” and getting into all kinds of trouble because of it. In my experience, the warrior, soldier or knight set give the worst example of what it is to be a Christian. They are the ones who randomly label everything that seems strange to them as “demonic;” they are quite susceptible to swallowing the lies of nationalism and white supremacy along with their Christianity; they’re deeply misogynistic; they never approach a non-Christian or a Christian with a bad idea in the spirit of Christian admonishment but draw their metaphorical swords and attack that person. They view the Works of Mercy as liberal propaganda instead of intrinsic to what it is to be a Christian and the main battle we’re supposed to be fighting. They miss the whole point.

And if they see you trying to be a Christian without being aggressive and bossy, they’ll call you a heretic and attack you as well. If you tell them that some of the fruits of the Holy Ghost are love, peace, patience and benignity, they’ll call you a snowflake and make fun of how fat you are. I’ve been dealing with these people quite a bit lately, and they’re starting to grate on my nerves– though I do thank them for helping me develop that fruit of patience. It’s not a strong suit of mine.

I’m not going to say there are no good Christians who obsess over warrior imagery, but in my experience: those Christians who think of themselves primarily as warriors give the absolute worst witness.

Maybe it’s because they feel themselves sufficient.

You see, the enemy we fight is not of flesh and blood. It’s not the the heretics or the pagans or people who sin differently than we do. The enemy is the Evil One, the liar from the beginning. The Evil One is a fallen angel, and as such is stronger and smarter than we are. If we flatter ourselves with exciting warrior imagery and go charging headlong into our idea of a battle because we’re sure we’re sufficient to the task, the Evil One will easily win. He is better at violence than we are. Violence belongs to him. He’s also much better at feeling sufficient. He will take that pride which is so painfully twisted into our fallen human souls and inflate it until we resemble him, instead of Christ. He will convince us that he is not the enemy; the enemy is the child of God who is different than we are– the one we can see and easily hurt. And if he can convince us of that, we are lost.

If, on the other hand, we don’t feel ourselves sufficient– if we realize that we are not chiefly warriors but children, sheep, nestling chicks, dough in need of leaven, good creatures fearfully and wonderfully made but tragically weakened by sin– then we might stand a chance. We are the sons and daughters of God; His servants and, yes, His army after a fashion, and our value is infinite. But we are not strong. We are not powerful or exciting. He has given us wondrous weapons and armor through our baptism and confirmation, but none of us is very good at wielding them. If we can accept this, we might see our fellow children of God as what they are: children of God, fallen and in need of healing like us, rather than manifestations of the Evil One. We’ll realize they’re struggling people in need of mercy just like us. We will cling to Christ Who is meek and humble of Heart, and let Him conform us to His own image.

When we conform ourselves to Christ, we can begin to do things. We can be chicks, lambs, shepherds, farmers, mother hens, bakers, teachers, nurturers, consolers and healers as Christ is. And we can also find ourselves doing battle with the Evil One and conquering him, because he knows nothing of these things. They are weapons he cannot stand against. We will have our exciting battles; we will conquer and win, but only when we conform ourselves to Christ. And we must begin to do that, by realizing that we are not sufficient. We are not sufficient to take up the kingship; we are not sufficient to take up the sword; we are not even sufficient to undo the Lord’s sandal strap.

Christ alone is sufficient. In Him and by following His example, we might defeat the enemy.

But we’ll never defeat the enemy if we presume we are sufficient to be warriors.

(image via Pixabay) 




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