by Tad Lindley
The atheist confronted the Christian, “Do you carry a gun with you when you are in bear country?”
“Why of course, wouldn’t you,” answered the brother.
“Isn’t that hypocritical,” asked the atheist, “since you believe that when it’s God’s time for you to die, then it is time for you to die and there is nothing you can do to stop it?”
“I suppose that’s true…”
Then atheist interrupted him, “And isn’t it also true that if a bear does attack you, and God doesn’t want you to die, because it’s not your time to die, that he would ‘miraculously’ save you?”
“That’s also true,” said the Christian man, “you see I carry a gun when I’m out there, because I got to thinking, “What if God has decided that it’s the bear’s time to die?”
(Heard this joke on the radio, but can’t remember who said it.)
Weapons of our welfare
We live in one of the most heavily armed regions of our nation. Most local homes have multiple firearms on hand, and those who can afford it usually have a healthy cache of ammunition as well. I would add that our men know how to use their weapons. The coastal villages here probably have the highest per capita bird harvest of any place on planet earth. The same for seal the seal harvest. This may be hard for someone who lives in a large city and eats exclusively from the grocery store to understand, but here weapons are a way of life. Weapons are our welfare (not welfare in the food stamp sense of the word, but welfare in the original meaning of the word. We fare well or live better, because of guns).
Weapons of our warfare
Although in ancient times, the Hebrews advanced the cause of the kingdom through warfare (please read Joshua to verify this), the New Testament is quite clear that our guns are not to be used for the advancement of the kingdom of God. In spiritual warfare, we have entirely different weaponry. (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ… (II Corinthians 10:4-5)
What are our weapons?
The most common shotgun judging by ammunition sales, is definitely the 12 gauge. For rifles, the .223 is very popular, as is the .308, and the .30-06, as well as numerous other cartridges. And some still hunt with bow and arrow, although this takes tremendous patience and skill. But in the spiritual realm we all have a common set of weapons: prayer, fasting, reading/hearing, and worship. It is upon these weapons that I will focus.
This is the time when we commune with God. We are calling out needs in prayer, we are bringing the sick, the lost, the grieving before God. We are calling for the downfall of the strongholds of addiction, perversion, and mental illness, not in our strength, but in the might of God. Prayer is so important that when God was manifest in the flesh as Jesus Christ, he prayed often. Notice that with the likely exception of mealtimes, Jesus did not use pre-recorded prayers. Nor did the disciples. They prayed from the heart.
In Matthew 6:16, Jesus said, When ye fast… He did not say if you fast, he said when, which means that he expects his followers to fast. Some strongholds in the spirit realm cannot be broken by prayer alone. Consider the demon possessed boy of Mark 9:17-29. Prayer alone was not enough: And Jesus said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting. (Mark 9:29)
Reading and hearing
We need to be constantly exposed to the word of God. It builds our faith. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17) We hear the word when we are in a Bible believing and Bible teaching church. When we read the word, it sharpens our skills so that we can be battle ready. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (II Timothy 2:15)
In John 4:24 Jesus told the woman, God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in Spirit and in Truth. Worship is a powerful weapon against defeat. Look at what Job did (and it must have just about destroyed the devil, who thought he had Job against the ropes). After losing everything he owned and learning of the simultaneous deaths of his 10 children, Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped. (Job 1:20)
Whether we are struggling with our own fears, or trying to come against the issues bringing another down, we do it with prayer, fasting, studying, and worship.
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, AK.