If you have watched any of the news media over the past month, there has been so much publicized about how President Obama does not intend to (nor does he want to) put “boots on the ground” while attempting to deal with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Rather than calling it “war,” they began to refer to it as a “very significant counterterrorism operation.” This president wants to have his legacy as the President who would end all wars, so he is reluctant to fight. One has to ask how all this plays out as far as our national security.
This idea has far reaching effects into our society than just our national security. This type of mentality plays out every day in our lives, even as Christians. This has not just national security implications, but also eternal security implications for us.
Where are we when it comes to putting “boots on the ground?” Have we committed to such action? Or do we stand by watching while Satan has his evil way with the world around. Maybe, our neighbors? Maybe, our friends? Maybe, our family members? Maybe, the complete stranger who never saw him coming? While Satan is “seeking whom he may destroy,” (1 Pet. 5:8), we are told to “be vigilant, be watchful.” What implications and questions do this verse have?
- Being “vigilant” means to be carefully observant or attentive, on the lookout for possible danger. I am to be on the lookout for possible danger. I am to observe what is going on around me being attentive to those things harmful. Does this mean that I do nothing when I see the danger? How little action is too little action? When there is a fire, how little action is too little? Do I do nothing? Am I to think, “Oh well, someone else will come along and take care of it?”
- Being “watchful” means to be engaged in or accustomed to close observation. The secondary definition according to WordWeb is “experiencing or accompanied by sleeplessness or being awake.” It is sometimes used as a synonym of vigilant. But, in this case, it encapsulates the idea of my being wide-awake, as if an insomniac, observing, watching, and carefully observing the evil around us. Again, does this mean that I only watch, or is there an implication of a responsibility inherent within my watching. How do I respond? What am I to do?
- In both words, the idea is that as Christians, we should know and be full aware that the devil is “seeking us.” In other words, he’s bringing the fight to us.
Not only does the apostle Peter remind us of our responsibility, but the apostle Paul also:
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”
Paul’s admonition in Ephesians 6:10-18 is clearly implying (v. 11-12) that we are at war with the devil whether we want it or not. As Christian, then, we must be prepared by way of the defensive armor mentioned in the above passage. But, we are also given the offensive weapon of the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” All this is made available to us so that as Paul mentions four times that we may be able “to stand…to withstand…having done all to stand.”
I pray that as Christians, we realize that not having “boots on the ground” is an ideology found in the political arena. It is not a phrase found in the Christian’s vocabulary, because our Lord commissioned us to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15-16, KJV). Christ has in fact, already, as Commander-in-Chief (Heb. 2:10; Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22-23) put “boots on the ground”; we are called disciples of Christ.