“all is fair in love and war“.
Love and war…
It’s an unusual combination…
And it got me thinking…
What is the greatest act of love?
I’m with Jesus on his answer:
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13 NIV)
It is one thing to declare your undying love… but to (willingly) lay down your life, you need to be 100% committed!
Jesus laid down his life – to redeem the world – and in doing so, he began a community of redeemed people known as “the church”. “No greater love” came to us and drew us to himself.
Awesome! This is “love with all the dials turned up to 10”!
But here’s where love a curious turn – where love and war collide. Jesus said this about his church:
“I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18 ESV)
– On one hand, Jesus came to enact the greatest act of love for all mankind…
– On the other hand, Jesus started a war!
Building his church declared war between heaven and hell. Jesus began to rescue people from the dominion of the devil. This was the greatest hostage rescue operation ever initiated! The church leader Paul put it like this:
“…he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son…” (Colossians 1:13 NIV)
A war between heaven and hell has been raging ever since.
What that means is that when you and I ask Jesus to rescue us from the dominion of the devil, we find love and peace, but the spiritual war escalates. Another hostage has been rescued. More ground has been lost.
So we are a people of love… but we are also a people at war!
This could explain some of Jesus’ unapologetically confrontational statements and conversations – like:
“Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:51-53 NIVUK)
Why am I telling you this?
Because, if “all hell breaks loose” around you, you should not be amazed! But some believers panic… they thought Jesus was rescuing them and placing them into a first-class departures lounge while they wait for their trip to heaven. When things go wrong, they have a crisis of faith – something seems to have gone horribly wrong!
A church leader called Peter reassured some panicking believers 2000 years ago:
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” (1 Peter 4:12 NIVUK)
If you have been rescued by Jesus, you are now at peace with God, but you still live in a “war zone”. You are on the winning side, but the conflict still rages. Bad things may still happen to you… but know that you are safe in Jesus’ hands.
I close with two statements from Jesus to encourage you in your zone:
“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:28 NIVUK)
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIVUK)