The Battle doesn’t need us,
but we need the Battle.
There is no place in Scripture that illustrates the truth of Lorne’s words more than those which are found in II Samuel 11:1-4. “In the spring, at the time when Kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, ‘Isn’t this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?’ Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him and he slept with her.” Because of this sin the sword never left David’s house. David’s place was in the battle, not wandering around at night on the roof of his palace. Involvement in the battle would have prevented succumbing to the attacks of the world, the flesh and the evil one. The very activity and involvement in the work of the Lord acts as a barrier to sin in our lives. Leroy Eims asks the question, “When is the last time you were tempted to sin while you were talking to someone about Christ?, or when you were praying with another individual whom you were discipling?” It does not occur when we are on our knees in prayer for others. When we are actively serving the Lord in His ministry to others our thoughts and hearts are aligned with His will, and less vulnerable to the world, the flesh and the evil one. The battle may not need us, but we need the battle.
We not only need the battle as a guard for our lives, we also need it to prevent the only alternative to the battle, which is a life involved in civilian affairs. Our walk with Christ is likened to warfare in II Timothy 2:3-4. “Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs-he wants to please his commanding officer.” What does a life look like that is involved in civilian affairs? It is a life that adapts and blends into the world around us. Rather than being “transformed” (Romans 12:2) it “conforms” to the culture. It is a life that no longer holds forth salt and light, but loses any distinctive features of a follower of Christ. Others looking at such a life might regard it as a “moral” life but there are no hallmarks that would point others to Christ in their life. They are accepted by the world because they have become one with the world. The battle is but a dim memory. They may give it some thought from time to time, but “civilian affairs” occupy their thinking, such as “what shall we eat,” or “what shall we drink,” or “what shall we wear?” (Matthew 6:31) A life with these concerns has fallen in love with the world. It is a life characterized by “Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.” II Timothy 4:10. The battle didn’t need Demas, but Demas needed the battle.
There is yet a third reason that we need the battle. Our entire being, spirit, soul, and body was made for activity and for a meaningful purpose that outlives us. Furthermore, we are creatures who are in the process of being prepared for our eternal purpose. Our life here, James tells us, is but a breath. We were designed for meaningful work and activity in the countless ages of eternity that stretch before us. It is in concert with the Lord and in His work that His Spirit develops and performs that in our lives which is needed for our eternal work. This journey begins with denial of self and taking up our cross (Luke 9:23), and continues with following Him. (Matthew 4:19) It is in the battle that we are hardened and made fit for our eternal roles. It is in submission to His throne that His work is perfected in our lives.
Someone may say, like David, I have forsaken the battle and became involved in sin. Other, like Demas, may look back on a past which consists of worldly pursuits. Still others may look at their lives and realize that God’s design for their lives has not taken place because of a failure to be involved with Him in His battle as His disciple. In all of these, there is the sense of the vessel being marred by the the lack of submission to the Potter’s hand. If that is our story then we need to consider the following words from a sermon given by G. Campbell Morgan. Westminster Pulpit. 1954-55 Volume 1. Pages 56-57.
“They bought the potter’s field with the price of Him Whom they priced, and they called it, little thinking how deep the significance of their calling might be, the field of blood. Are there some wrecks in the potter’s field in this house tonight, men and women who are saying, I have been spoiled and flung away. I am waste in God’s universe. The potter’s field has been purchased with blood. I come back to Jeremiah, and I read that when the vessel was marred in the hands of the potter he made it again another vessel.
Blessed be God, He came to the potter’s field, and He gathered up the wrecks to make them again. There is another chance for you, my brother. By the mystery of His betrayal, by the mystery of His denial, by the mystery of His being sold for the price of a slave, the potter’s field is bought, and though you have missed your purpose by disobeying your principle, the Person, the Potter Himself, has come down to the midst of the wreckage, and by the price of His own mysterious life has bought it, and the wreck can be remade. But you must begin with the Person and submit to the principle, and find the purpose.” In His Infinite Grace, there is yet a battle in which He would have you join with Him in His Work. The battle may not need you, but you need the battle.
In Christ, Richard Spann