Over the last week as I have been thinking about the warrior image and the imagery and language of fighting. I was reminded of an illustration that I came across a few years ago that fits me where I am at today. Where I am at today is not where I was 20years ago. Let me take you on a trip back to "memory lane".
Yes, that was Petra and that was them live in 1988 doing the song, "This Means War". I absolutely loved Petra as a teenager and I thought their music was good and I enjoyed their concers. I even attened a This Means War Tour. The warrior image stuck for a few years. I even organized a 429 Warriors club that was based on Ephesians 4:29.
Today, I am not a fan of the warrior image and the fighting language. It does nothing for me. Of course there are still groups out there that love it and portray it as "successful". Ron Luce and his team from Aquire The Fire (ATF) love the imagery that it provokes.
However, I think that there is a better imagery that shapes the gospel more in its correct context. The image is that of a garden and a gardener. Thus, the tile of the post. I will take a look at the difference of the two and explaine why I like the gardener better.
1. I believe I have the truth and need to proclaim it to others.
2. Because I am at odds with the world, I need to take territory for Jesus and see light triumph over darkness.
3. Because time is limited, I need to hurry and help people make a decision.
1. I believe I need to live out the truth before people without forcing it on others.
2. Because I have a lot in common with people, I can care for them and be "present" with them no matter what their worldview.
3. Because I believe in seasons, I can be patient with people and trust God to
change their hearts.
I fully understand that the warrior image has biblical roots and foundations. A lot of that comes Paul and his time in prision. He was seeing "warriors" on a daily basis as he was writing the letters to churches thus he used what was in front of him.
I also like to back up from Paul and look at who Paul is pointing to ... Jesus. Jesus was not a person that was into power and he was not a person that painted with war images and he definitely was not building a group of warriors to take over the evils of the day or the goverments.
I remember hearing Spencer speak. When he was speaking, he was talking about how difficult it is to put aside the warrior image. It is what we have been use to for so long. It may be easier to "train" a warrior than "training" a gardener. For a long time, we have pushed evangelism. We have turned it into a sales pitch. We are out there selling our product and our product is Jesus.
I am not sure if we have this Kingdom of God HERE figured out. I think that we place all the eggs in the basket of salvation and saving them from Hell.
The reason that I like the gardener is that it is a process. The gardeners are out there planting and fertilizing. The warriors go into the same territory and they try to take it by force. The warriors go 100% all the time. They steamroll the individual because they need to attack BECAUSE that person may die without hearing the message. The gardener on the ther hand gets dirty. They know that things come in seasons. They understand the importance of rest and they are faithful as they out their trust in the Holy Spirit and know that God is responsible for the "crop" (the person).
So much more to process .....