This isn’t a post about “just war theory” or pacificism. It is about a far more important war.
Peter describes it as the war that is waged against our very lives as believers (1 Peter 2:11, CEB).
We are good at waging real war. We are good at waging virtual war. This week we’re REALLY good at waging cultural war.
But here is this sober call from Peter. This is a place where I really like the Common English Bible. In this verse believers are described as “immigrants and strangers” in this world.
Immigrants. All of us who are believers.
And… there is war. The war to be waged is not physical in the sense of military. It is not virtual. It is not even cultural. It is spiritual. It is against a world that will simply be at odds with the allegiance of the Kingdom. Those allegiances will get tested.
So.. how do we “wage” this war?
v. 12 (CEB): by living honorably. Live such a good life in front of unbelievers that if they defame you, it is only for doing what is good.
v. 13 — We wage war by honoring human institutions. In Paul’s day it was to the emperor. The call was to submit to an oppressive government. Even in that day, even in that government, there was a place for what government did as a function of society.
v. 15 — We wage war by quiet submission.
v. 17 — We wage war by honoring everyone. We wage war by loving the family of believers. We wage war by fearing God.
Funny way to wage a war.
This passage has quieted my spirit this week. While we’re in an uproar over the symbolism of a chicken sandwich… along comes this passage that reminds us we have a different war to wage. In all honesty, I do not like this passage. It calls me to examine something beyond what is visible. It is a call to carefully examine what wages war within me. I’d rather stand in line for a chicken sandwich.
Christianity is not for the weak of heart. It is not for those who want pat answers in their lives. Following Christ has its consequences. It has its battles. We follow Christ, we are engaged by an enemy who wants to take us down. It’s serious stuff. Waging that war is far more vital… far more important…
Living honorably among people in our culture takes true power in the Holy Spirit. This culture won’t always like it. But we are called to stay faithful. This is war.