Parade or Battle

November 16, 2021

…the whole world lies under the power of the evil one. 1 John 5:19 NRSV

All the gun issues in the news from the last few years came to my mind when I recently watched a parade with hundreds of military personnel participating. Some were career, some ROTC. But there were many guns carried in the parade.. A possible scenario crossed my mind. What if the city or the area where they were marching was suddenly under attack? Would the soldiers spring into action and use their guns? So, I looked it up. For parades and ceremonial events, the guns are either not real rifles or they are deactivated. Some may have blanks that could be fired, but no ammunition is issued, and none is allowed. All rifles are inspected, and no magazines are inserted.

Being a soldier in a parade is significantly different than being a soldier in battle. In a parade, all you have to do is keep in step, walk in straight lines, and look good. The guns aren’t loaded, you are in no danger, and there’s no enemy in sight. People are cheering for you. The mood of the day is very upbeat. When the marching is done, you can take off your uniform, lay down the gun, and go home and relax.

But in a battle everything changes. The guns are loaded. Your ears are tuned for both the enemy and your commander’s instructions. You are concerned about how you look; no one is cheering from the sidelines. You are in the fight of your life, and you are intent on doing all you can to get through the battle alive, protect your comrades, and win the battle.

As Christians, we often live as if we are in a parade instead of a battle. We’re very concerned about who is watching us, how we look, and we basically perform and keep things looking good. We smile and wave and dress up nice, but we often don’t even think much about what our commander may be trying to communicate.

But the truth is, we are in a battle right now. John said the whole world lies under the power of our Enemy. There are many casualties and prisoners of war. We are here to do more than just survive. We are here to save and rescue people from his control and clutches. We can’t do anything effectively if we are concerned about keeping our uniforms clean and marching in straight lines, keeping step with everyone else.

The Word tells us that God created humankind to rule the world and be victorious over Satan and his forces. Satan has an agenda, which is to keep the world of unsaved people under his control and render Christians ineffective in spiritual warfare, defeating us daily. We must be alert and battle ready, listening to our Commander, not simply performing and looking good.

  • Am I too casual about the battle? Where do I need to be more alert and on the offensive?