Summary: How should we live each day as Chritaisn Citizens?
The bloodiest day in US history was Sept. 17, 1862 when 4,700 Union & Confederate soldiers died in the Civil War battle of Antietam. That was until Sept. 11, 2001, when over 3,000 people were killed in a well planned terrorist attack. By comparison, 2,388 Americans were killed at Pearl Harbor, and 1,465 Americans were killed on the first day of the Normandy invasion.
As a result of 9/11, our nation has been involved in a "war on terror" for 15+ years. This was the focus of our president during his recent trip to the middle east. It's a war unlike any our nation has known. It's been a long, drawn out affair. Not only are our armed forces in harm's way, but civilians have also been targets of the enemy in this war. What's our responsibility as Christian citizens in times like this? Let's to see what Paul says in Ephesians 6:10-20. (READ TEXT)
Our military has a system of terrorist condition indicators. It's the Threat-Con (threat conditions) system. Posted at entrances and key locations on military bases are Threat-Con signs. Most of the time they read "normal". That means standard operating procedures are in order. Do your job; go to class; put in your time. Normal Alert conditions are INWARD focused. It's all about the base - graduations, classes, degrees, promotions, inspections.
But since 9/11 we have moved beyond "Threat-Con normal." You see, the Threat-con system has multiple levels.
Next is Threat-Con Alpha. This is when there is an unpredictable general threat of possible terrorist activity. Personnel are reminded to be on the look out for anything suspicious. Next is Threat-Con Bravo. This leads to measures like barricading streets and setting up barriers. After that comes Threat-Con-Charlie. This applies when an incident occurs against a military base or installation.
Finally, we come to Threat-Con Delta. This applies when there has been an actual terrorist attack and the community needs to be warned about the possibility of other attacks. On September 11th, 2001, our country went from Threat-Con Normal to Threat-Con Delta overnight. Threat-Con Delta is a state of "high alert."
In a state of high alert everything changes. There's an OUTWARD focus. The normal things may still happen but they aren't what is focused on. The focus is on what is going on in the world, and what our military's
responsibilities are in light of what is happening.
In verse 12, Paul says there are spiritual realities at the root of every physical reality. This is illustrated well by the war on terror. This is perhaps one of the most unique things about it. The physical realities of this war have their root in spiritual realities.
The terrorists are involved in a jihad - a holy war. Their motives are based on an empty religious system calling its followers to contend for their faith by bringing death to others. Christ, on the other hand, calls on His followers to contend for their faith by bringing life to others. While terrorists use methods of death and destruction, we are to share a message of life and deliverance!
Certainly, as American citizens, we have an obligation to involve ourselves in whatever way is necessary to deal with the physical realities of this war. But we who have been made spiritually alive through faith in Christ cannot be content with contributing to our nation's well-being on that level alone. We must commit ourselves to living in a state of "high alert" spiritually! But does that look like?
1. There is a visible change in activity - vs. 10-11
When a nation is in a state of "high alert," daily life is no longer standard operating procedure. People are armed and ready. Troops are being moved. Routines are changed. Everything is focused on the war.
Over the last several years, thousands of reservists have been called to active service. Though trained, they weren't actively involved in the military on a day to day basis. But in a time of "high alert," such people are activated to full time status.
Likewise, Paul says believers can't go on with business as usual. We must be armed and ready to obey when our "commander in chief" calls on us. This will result in a visible change in our activity.
How? Well, for one thing, if we are living in a state of high alert, we'll be on our knees more. Not only as part of public gatherings, but we will be spending time with God more on a daily basis - verse 18.
Also, those of us who have been living on reserve status will report for active duty! When believers are living in a state of high alert, they'll go from being "Sunday only'' Christians to "seven day a week" Christians.
During Desert Storm some reserves were interviewed. They said they didn't want to go to war. They had signed up for the benefits, the sign up bonus, the college education - but one weekend a month and 2 weeks a summer was all they had planned on giving.