Our God works in strange and wonderful ways. Way back when, he spoke to a prophet named Balaam by making the poor man’s donkey run him into a wall. When Balaam smacked the animal in retaliation, God gave the donkey voice and it spoke to Balaam. Imagine that.
Why bring this up? Because the LORD has recently spoken to me in a very odd way. And he seems to be suggesting that we Christians are fighting the wrong battle. Allow me to explain. And as you read, don’t get distracted by God’s chosen methodology. Pay attention to the message itself.
A Clone Wars Reality
I have been a Star Wars fan since the release of the first film when I was 12 years old. More than a year ago, I began watching the Clone Wars animated series. If you don’t know much about the Star Wars universe, the Clone Wars begin in the franchise’s second film and conclude with the third film. They are the precursor to Darth Vader’s rise to power.
In the last few episodes of Clone Wars season 6, Yoda undergoes the next level of his Jedi training in hopes of maintaining eternal consciousness within the Force after his death. I remember the final episode well. Yoda’s last training session leaves him shocked, bewildered, and greatly saddened. Why? Because he learns the Jedi have lost their way. He has lost his way, too.
Anyone who knows Star Wars cannon understands that the Jedi’s moral authority and integrity are in question throughout the entire story. It turns out critics were right when they claimed the modern Jedi had abandoned its original principles to become a war machine no different from the Empire and First Order. Yoda learned that during his training, and it troubled him greatly.
No One Was Supposed to Win
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when I was watching the Star Wars Rebels animated series. In one particular episode, Jedi-in-training Ezra Bridger observes a battle to the death between a retired clone and a left over battle droid from the Clone Wars. Through observation and asking questions, he concluded that the Clone Wars were orchestrated by someone who never intended for there to be a winner.
If you know the whole story, you know Bridger was correct. Darth Sidious — a.k.a. Emperor Palapatine — was the driving force behind the original trade war, the Clone Wars, and the rebellion. He never intended for either side to win. His sole intention was to destroy the Jedi and take complete control of the galaxy. He almost succeeded for one simple reason: the Jedi were fighting the wrong battle and didn’t even know it.
Their battle was never against the Separatists or the clone army. Nor was it against the Empire or First Order. Their battle was a battle of good versus evil. Rather than fighting evil, they fought people. They fought armies and politicians. And as they did, the evil that was Darth Sidious was allowed to grow stronger and stronger.
A Disturbing Revelation of the Church
I admit that when I saw the Yoda episode, I literally broke down in tears. I sat on the couch and cried my eyes out. I was overwhelmed by the realization that the Church has lost its way. Like the fictional Jedi, we have slowly but surely rejected the faith of our fathers and replaced it with a modern religious practice that barely resembles anything found in Scripture.
My wife can tell you I was upset by that episode for weeks. Then came the Rebels episode. It just compounded my distress. That episode had me in tears all over again. It made me realize the Church is fighting a battle it should not be fighting. Meanwhile, evil is prevailing all around us.
The World Won’t Be a Better Place
For as long as I can remember, the Church has been fighting a political battle in hopes of making the world a better place. We Christians are very patriotic people. We vote religiously. We make a point of knowing where the candidates stand and making our choices accordingly. We make a point of calling our representatives, writing letters, and passing important information online.
All of that is good and necessary. But it does not constitute the Church’s battle. Moreover, the battle we fight is not to make the world a better place. It is a battle for souls — our own as well as those of our children, grandchildren, etc. And it’s a battle that is not going to be won in the political arena.
A Battle of the Mind
The Bible tells us that we are fighting against principalities and powers that are far superior to mere mortals. We are fighting wickedness in high places. We are fighting Satan and his armies, as well as our own flesh and the world. And where does the battle take place? In the mind.
The battlefield on which this war rages is the mind of each individual Christian. It spills over into the collective mind of the Church. The enemies of God don’t necessarily have to kill us to win the battle. In fact, they prefer not to. Why? Because killing Christians generally leads to revival. That’s the last thing the enemies want.
Instead of physically attacking, they attack our minds. They attack us with pop culture, education, New Age thinking, psychology, and on and on. They use the same tactics that Balaam recommended when he could not curse Israel.
Let Them Defeat Themselves
Balaam was forbidden from cursing Israel by God himself. He told Balak (the Moabite king) as much. But he did offer Balak a way to defeat Israel: all he had to do was instruct his people to cozy up to Israel and intermarry with them and victory would be his. So that’s what Balak did.
Israel allowed herself to be intertwined with the Moabites. Over many years, they ended up adopting Moabite ways — including their idolatry. Israel eventually destroyed herself from within by turning her back on Jehovah and entertaining pagan gods instead.
Friends, this is the same battle we face today. Our enemies have largely succeeded in convincing us to adopt their ways. We think like them; we speak like them; we behave like them; we educate our children the same way they do; the list goes on and on.
Ultimately, Satan doesn’t want a winner in the battle between us and the world. He wants us to continue fighting until we destroy ourselves. That makes him the final winner, at least in his mind.
The Faith of Our Fathers
Friends, we have lost our way like the Jedi. We have abandoned the faith of our fathers and replaced it with political conservatism. This has led us to fight the battle on the political field, against human enemies that don’t really stand a chance of overthrowing a church that is truly serving God. Instead, we should be fighting the battle for our minds against more powerful enemies who would seek to cause us to destroy ourselves.
So how do we win this battle? By taking back our minds and then turning them over to the LORD. By once again being students of Godly things. By rejecting worldly thinking on everything from culture to education to coronavirus. God himself is the only source of truth. Mankind does nothing but lie. The only way to win this battle is to submerge ourselves in the truth and never go back to the lie.
We must return to the faith of our fathers and give our minds back to the LORD. Otherwise, we are fighting a battle that has no winner but the devil.