No, Really. It is Backwards
From childhood, I remember a nice diagram of how the Armor of God relates to the armor of a Roman soldier: helmet, breastplate, belt, shoes, sword, shield.
So I was surprised, reading Timothy Gombis's Drama of Ephesians years later, to find that Isaiah 59 actually speaks of God as a warrior: "He put on righteousness like a breastplate,
and a helmet of salvation on his head."
Gombis says, "Just as God waged warfare in the past to vindicate his name, to rescue his people or to judge his people, so now God wages warfare against the power through the church" (158).
And this warfare is not clashing in some kind of spiritual pitched battle.
Our warfare involves resisting the corrupting influences of the power. The same pressures that produce practices of exploitation, injustice and oppression in the world are at work on church communities. The church's warfare involves resisting such influences, transforming corrupted practices and replacing them with life-giving patterns of conduct that draw on and radiate the resurrection power of God. Our warfare, then, involves purposefully growing into communities that become more faithful corporate performances of Jesus on earth (159-160).
This is intense to think about. Gombis talks at length about the ways that we are lulled into not having the mind of Christ. Maybe that looks like consumerism, or the hunt for power. Those are obvious values of the world, and it can be hard to settle into service and loving your family, in the face of friends with perfect Facebook lives.
Which is all to say: the mind of Christ is not like the world's mind. Just resisting the way the world thinks, valuing things the world doesn't value (like children) . . . this is warfare the way Christ fought. Subversive, painful, sacrificial, unexpected.
When you love your children, you advance the Kingdom of God. It's exciting to think about.
John and Sarita's oldest daughter
Homeschooling mom to five
P.S. I had no thought, when I started this series, of a way to connect it with the Sonlight missions project. None. But as I wrote, the connection came to mind. If you haven't done so already, Sign up here!.