Warning! Christ followers have every reason to become intellectually-engaged in a culture that seeks to undermine Christian belief. Those who fail to heed this warning risk being caught in the crossfire of the spiritual battle of ideas. We cannot afford to sleep on the job!
Every soldier on the intellectual battlefield must remain spiritually fit and ready at all times, in anticipation of the next counter strike from the opposition. Ideas have far reaching consequences. And each of us must carry our own intellectual arsenal (regardless of its level of sophistication) to join the discussion surrounding Christian truth-claims; and to help others who have been wounded by weapons of mass criticism. This translates to some important principles that we must keep in mind. Devising for ourselves, and providing “reasons for faith” to others (1 Pet. 3:15) is not simply an intellectual endeavor. We wrestle not only against the mundane ideas and influences of the natural world, we wrestle against spiritual influences that far exceed our ability to stand against, that is, with evidence and reason alone. Therefore joining the discussion is just the beginning.
We must also take steps to ensure that we remain in a state of “spiritual readiness.” How do we stay in a state of spiritual readiness? We must seek, each day, to live a life that is consistent with our profession if we are to be effective followers of Christ. Given the enormous amount of pitfalls and landmines that exist “out there,” we need to take seriously the pattern in which God has called us to walk (Ephesians 5:15) in order to navigate the cultural maze of ideas. Being a spiritual soldier involves living in both the intellectual and spiritual arena, not just one or the other. In fact, these are not mutually-exclusive terms. They are complementary of one another.
While it is true that we are saved by God’s grace and we cannot earn salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9), we are also commanded to walk in the light as He (Christ) is in the light (1 John 1:7). Obviously, we all grow at different paces. While we will not accomplish perfection in this life, each day offers a new opportunity to draw closer to the Lord (through prayer, preparation, and practice) as we surrender to His will. The more we walk closely with the Lord (staying ready), the better we may engage in the battle of ideas.
One of the best examples of exemplary Christian character is in Galatians 5:22. In it, we find the qualities that each believer should endeavor to exercise. It is known as the “fruit of the (Holy) Spirit. We need also to be prayerful (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Finally, one of the best buffers against sin in our lives is a constant diet of the word of God (Psalm 119:11), and a willingness to follow it’s instructions.
Please look up the passages above, read and reflect on them. I cannot express the importance of the need for young believers to developing a basic understanding of Scripture. Neither is there any substitute for pursuing a life of conviction and consistency with God’s word. So please make every effort to walk by faith as you grow in Christ.
May the Lord continue to develop your understanding and desire to contend for the Faith as you draw closer to Him.
Ibrahim Inuwa, Solid Rock Reasons