PREPARE FOR WAR! By Barr. E.T.C. Ogbusu, KSC

The word of the Lord came to Joel the prophet saying to the nations, “Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near, let them come up!” (Joel 3:9).

I hear the drums of war! The more I cover my ears with my hands, the more I hear the beats. Everywhere I go to, the beats of the drums come louder and louder. So, are we going to run away? No way! We must fight this war. Only the weak will be afraid to prepare for this war!

Certainly, many people will see this caption and think I am calling them out for physical confrontation with the Boko Haram. That is not the type of war I have in mind. That type of war is only but carnal. I am talking of spiritual battles we must fight against principalities and powers, the agents of death and destruction, the rulers of darkness and the underworld, the wicked and the evil! But we can talk about the physical or carnal wars, or wars of the muscles a little!

No one goes into any physical “war” or battle, be it of the guns or of the fists without some preparations. If you watch, you will see that no football side goes into any contest without preparations. No boxer enters the ring without extensive practice. Also, no nation goes to war against another nation without adequate training for her soldiers. This is the way it is with spiritual battles. No one can fight any spiritual battle without first preparing for such battle.

We, the children of God who are called by His name, must prepare for war! There are many wars to be fought, wars against sin. We must bring down all the altars of baal, which we are continually building to the annoyance of God. We must fight against corruption, injustice, idolatory, adultery, fornication, greed, stealing, cheating, slander and their kindred brothers and sisters. We must prove our faith. So, you can see that these wars are not wars against flesh and blood!

Like I said earlier, it is not all about taking up bows and arrows, and slaughtering people like cows. Surely, it is not by building bombs factories and bombing people out of this life that we can prove our faith. We would rather fight the wars, which Elijah, Daniel, Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego fought. We must prove to the world that our God is the best.

Elijah went to war against the prophets of Baal, who had been busy deceiving the people. He did not need to engage them in a physical fight, no, that was no use! It was sufficient for him that each side should call upon the one in whom they believed, for the people to know which one of them was the true God. The prophets of baal called and called but he did not answer. Elijah called on his God and He answered by fire.

Brethren, we must begin to call upon our God, and truly believe He would answer us. Our God is faithful. He would rise up and make a name for Himself if we call Him from our heart of hearts.

Daniel refused to bow down to idol. He was thrown into the Lion’s den. The things happening in our world today have continued to be a threat to our faith. Some of us are caving in like packs of cards. Not many can stand hardship. All they need to hear is that solution is somewhere. Once they hear that, they would not ask how. They plunge into such places and often do not find their ways out when they want to get out.

I say to us that, we must start this war with ourselves. Everyone must prepare to fight himself or herself. You know, outside God, you are the one who knows yourself most. If you are a criminal, you know it, even when people do not know it. Only you knows all those things you do in the secret which people do not see or know, and only you can stop yourself from doing them. Tell yourself that the wrong thing you do is not right. That is how best to start the battle against yourself. When you do so, then you must proceed deeper into the battle by saying to yourself, “I must not do this wrong thing again”. If you do, then pray to God to help you out of it.

Brethren, it is only when you have fought yourself and overcome yourself that you can be said to be ready to fight others. Yes, the Bible says so. It says that you cannot ask others to remove the speck of sawdust in their eyes without first removing the plank in your eyes (Mt. 7:3). It also says that a blind man cannot lead another blindman. If he does, both of them would fall into the ditch. (Mt. 15:14). In other words, every physician must heal himself or herself before healing others.

Everyone, for instance, shouts corruption! If we are all clean, then who are these corrupt ones? If we all say we have never been involved in it, why are we then shouting adultery? So, it becomes absolutely necessary that we should ask ourselves questions before pointing a finger on anyone, lest the other four fingers turn around in anger and point at us. That is what I am saying!

We must carry the war to all places, starting from the church of God. Truth has died in the church. Good leadership has also died. People have chased away the Holy Spirit from some Churches. All the traders who ran away when Jesus Christ turned their tables in the temple have returned (John 2:13-16). There are children of Sceva all over the place. Even Elymas the sorcerer has returned (Acts 13:6-12). Many have mistaken position for power to do what pleases them. Some claim to be super heroes who must be worshipped in place of God. Must we sit down and watch the Church of God converted into another cult?

The wars we have to fight include chasing out the traders or marketers out of the Church, not with sticks, but by preaching unadulterated word of God to them. We must look every Elymas the sorcerer in the face and tell them to stop perverting the ways of the Lord. All those who want to take the glory of God to themselves must be reminded of how Herod died (Acts 12:19-23).

We have wars to fight in all Government offices. Crazy people are all over government offices, handling the affairs of sane people. They make democracy sound like “demon-crazy”. We have to stop them. We must pray God to conscript them and make them useful instruments for the good of the society. We must pray God to remove from their sights all those things that lead them into the temptation of thinking that every opportunity to serve in government implies opportunity to loot the treasury and grab whatever is available. We must pray until they learn that we all belong to one big constituency. We must pray until they are overwhelmed by the fear of God.

In our families, we also have wars to fight. We must inculcate into members of our families the joy which discipline and peace bring. We must show love to members of our families, speak the truth when it matters most and seek every member of our family who is lost, until we find them.

Christ actually wants us to go for him, to all nooks and cranies of this world, spreading the good news and converting souls. He did not tell us to carry weapons and convert souls by force. He taught brotherly love. He taught forgiveness. He taught us to overcome evil with good. These are the weapons we must take along as we prepare to go into these wars.

More than anything else, the Bible bids us to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. It bids us to put on the whole armor of God so that we might be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. According to it, we must gird our waist with truth, put on the breastplate of righteousness, take the shield of faith, take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God (Eph. 6:10-18). So, when did you read your Bible last? No one can actually participate in these wars who has not prepared himself or herself through the word of God, which can only be found in the Bible.

God is looking for those who will go for Him, people who would go and tell the world to desist from evil and resist the devil. He is looking for people who would not first count the costs of discipleship before going for Him. The harvest is plenty but the labourers are few (Lk. 10:2). Isaiah heard Him ask who would go for us and he volunteered himself to go (Isa. 6:8).

Are you willing to go to war against all those things that make us commit sin against God?. If your answer is yes, then you are the soldier that God wants. It is possible you have not made up your mind! I say to you this day, as God said to the men of Israel who were with Gideon, “Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him turn and depart”. (Judges 7:3).

The walls of Jericho became a problem to the children of Israel, just like kidnapping, armed robbery, stealing, adultery and other vices have become a problem to us today. But by the shouts of the children of Israel, done with great faith, the walls of Jericho fell down (Josh. 6).

We must prepare to shout afresh, not empty shouts but shouts with faith, and all the vices that are our own walls of Jericho must fall down.

Paul and Silas were thrown into prison without justification, just like many people are languishing in jail today for things they did not do. They prayed and sang and the prison gates quaked, and opened. The chains on their legs got broken. We must sing again with faith. Whatever is holding us captive in this nation must give way (Acts 16:16-40).

Peter was also imprisoned. The children of God fervently prayed to God over him. As a result, God sent His angel to bring him out of prison (Acts 12). This same God lives. He hears the prayers of His children. He will hear us again as we prepare to make our sincere prayers to Him.

In the final analysis, I say to you, “Onward Christian Soldiers, marching as to war, with the Cross of Jesus, Going on before, Christ the Royal Master, leads against the foes, forward into battle, see His banner go! Onward christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the Cross of Jesus, going on before” (A & M 627). Let this be our battle song, let it be our poem, our motto and our guide as we prepare for this war.

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Christian Voice