Our Struggle Is Not Against Flesh And Blood

How are followers of Jesus to love our neighbors in the sin-filled and divisive world that we find ourselves in? Is the answer found in a political ideology? Is the answer based on moral objectives and righteous living? I’ve been seeking a clear answer to this question because it seems to me that Christians all around are answering (and living out) this question differently.

I have seen many use language that pits us against one another. Some are using “warfare” and “conquest” language that places people on different sides, and creates a “we must win at all costs” mentality. The problem is, I just don’t see that mentality in the Scriptures.

Andy Stanley writes in his book Not In It To Win It:

Jesus was not at war with anyone. The church is His body. So it stands to reason that the church is not at war with anyone. As Jesus followers, we shouldn’t be or pretend to be at war with anyone either. We have no business borrowing, importing, or continuing to use language or metaphors that leave an impression to the contrary. The Apostle Paul made the point. The same Apostle Paul whose religious liberty and life were literally threatened every day following his decision to follow Jesus. He wrote, Our struggle is not against flesh and blood (Eph. 6:12).

While living in a sin-filled world, followers of Jesus must remember that our struggle isn’t against other people but against the schemes of the evil one. This is a paradigm-changing truth in regards to how we view and treat one another!

If Jesus was correct –and of course I believe He was—if someone considers you his enemy, you’re not required to believe the same of him. Someone can go to war with you while you refuse to go to war with them. It may seem unnatural to maintain a peaceful posture in the face of hostility, but it can be done. And if we are truly trying to follow Jesus, it must be done.

Maintaining a posture of peace in a hostile, sin-filled world is a foundational principle of the Kingdom. It’s one of the very things that sets followers of Jesus apart from the rest of the world. Loving our enemies isn’t something Jesus suggested: It is something He commanded.

This means followers of Jesus don’t have arguments and agendas we must win; instead we have people we must love.

Not only did Jesus not go to war with people, he did the opposite: while we were still sinners, Christ Jesus died for us (Rom. 5:8). Jesus understood the war was against the spiritual forces of evil and not against people. Jesus modeled for us the way to live in this sin-filled world; by laying down His very life for the sake of others.