My Marine son has a Latin saying tattooed on his arm –
SI VIS PACEM PARA BELLUM.
“If you want peace, prepare for war.”
. . . I’ve thought long and hard about that statement.
If a country desires peace they must have an army, armed and prepared, to protect its citizens from those who desire to overtake it. Soldiers rigorously train for battles they may never face, in order to keep their country secure and safe. But what happens to a country when it’s army is ill-equipped, poorly trained and undisciplined? It is left vulnerable to attack. In order for peace to be achieved a country has to be ready for war in every way.
During my son’s 12 week Marine Basic Training an interesting thing happened. His drill sergeants wanted their platoon to be the very best at everything they did. That meant that every man had to be excellent and if one member fell behind, they all would pay the price. With each training they did – drills (marching), fighting, marksmanship – there was a competition between platoons and the final reward was to be top platoon overall!
My son’s platoon would drill 8-9 hours straight in order to achieve best platoon in drilling. They were right on track for taking first place for top platoon overall but when they got to the rifle range something happened – their shooting was off and they finished in 2nd place. Their drill sergeant lined them up in their barracks and in perfect drill sergeant fashion began to scream and yell at them for taking 2nd place. He was so mad that he took their 2nd place trophy and threw it out the window! And then he said, “There is no second place in war! You are either first or you’re dead!”
If you want peace, prepare for war. . .
As followers of Christ, we are in a war! We have an enemy that hungers for our souls and preys on our weaknesses. He seems to find all the places that we are vulnerable, or ill-equipped. One of his best tactics is to get Christians to think they are at peace when they really are at war, to catch them unprepared and untrained for battle.
Ephesians 6:10-12 in the Amplified Bible says this, “ . . . be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless MIGHT provides]. Put on God's whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil. For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents] but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.”
We need to be prepared for the battle. We cannot let down our guard, we must be strong and alert! But what does that look like in our life as a follower of Christ?
We must train just like a soldier does – we need to learn God’s Word and be ready to use it. Jesus used Scripture in defeating Satan when he was tempted. We need to not just read it but apply it to our lives. It needs to be an integral part of our everyday life!
We must develop our relationship with God! We need to know who He is so that we can place our trust in Him even when we don’t understand or can’t see the way. The Bible calls us to walk by faith. Notice that in the first part of those verses it says that we are to be strong in the Lord and that we are to draw our strength from Him. We cannot do it on our own – we need His power, His strength and His might.
So if you want peace in your life as a Christian, you MUST prepare for the battle and you MUST be ready to fight the war.