Article of the week: Keep fighting!
7 November 2020
ECCLESIASTES 3:8 says there is ‘a time for war and a time for peace’. Unfortunately, there always seems to be too much time for the former. War stories and films are as popular now as they ever were and new ones are readily available to read and view.
There are those who suggest that The Salvation Army should tone down its use of warlike terms. But why? Some of William Booth’s final, often quoted, words are: ‘While women weep as they do now, I’ll fight. While children go hungry, as they do now, I’ll fight. While men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight. While there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the street, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight, I’ll fight to the very end.’
More than a hundred years later, what’s changed? The fighting has to go on, there cannot be any conscientious objectors in our war.
Of course, this is a holy war – a war against sin. The apostle Paul recognises that in Ephesians 6 where he spiritualises the armour of his day for protection in the Christian fight. He writes: ‘For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms’ (v12).
The Devil is still around. Just as modern warfare has become more deadly and sophisticated, so he has adapted his methods to suit today. He is not often mentioned but is still as dangerous as ever. We have a fight on our hands and we are still the Army of Salvation. As 991 in our songbook says: ‘We’re in God’s Army and we fight/ Wherever wrong is found;/ A lowly cot or stately home/ May be our battleground.’
This is a time for war if we are to bring about God’s peace in the lives of all those who need relieving of worldly stress and strain. If we don’t, the Devil will win more victories. He is as wily as ever and has already convinced some folk he doesn’t exist.
Let’s follow Booth’s example and keep fighting. If that means using warlike language to let others hear how serious and determined we are to conquer the forces of evil in this world, then so be it. We must win this holy war.
‘Fight the good fight with all thy might,/ Christ is thy strength, and Christ thy right’ (SASB 952).
We’re in God’s Army and we fight
Wherever wrong is found;
A lowly cot or stately home
May be our battleground.
We own no man as enemy,
Sin is our challenged foe;
We follow Jesus, Son of God,
As to the war we go.
We shall not lose the fight of faith,
For Jesus is our Lord,
We lay all carnal weapons down
To take his shining sword.