…Let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us... 1 Thessalonians 5:8a-9b
Going to Iraq? Not sure what to pack? A fellow offered some very helpful suggestions on the Internet last week as to the things you might want to take. He thought that if you wanted your trip to be successful, you need to have a pocket Koran, night-vision goggles, shackles for use in abductions, a global-positioning system, and a video camera for checking out your intended targets.
According to the Jamestown Foundation’s weekly Terrorism Focus, which keeps a watchful eye on such Internet conversations, those are just some of the things that a would-be terrorist might find indispensable in performing his mission.
The Foundation says that there are hundreds of websites and forums that are acting like training classrooms to assure that the steady supply of terrorism won’t ever find itself in short supply.
As I looked at some of those sites, I was appalled to read some Internet lessons that told jihadists that they should think of themselves as “multitype combat businessmen.” Most of you would be shocked to hear how after they arrive in Iraq, the up-and-coming terrorists are told to develop easy plans which focus on easy targets which (or who) have weak security.
This made me wonder. Does the Bible have any instructions for Christians on how they should respond to such venom? It does. Saint Paul told the church in Thessalonica, “let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us.”
Did you get that? God’s people are to be trained the weaponry of faith, love, and salvation. Those who have been redeemed by the Lord Jesus are instructed to avoid being hotheaded. Instead, we are to be protected by faith in Him who died for us.
Quite a difference, isn’t it? One group pushes terror while the other proclaims their trust in the Savior. One side is filled with wrath while the other overflows with the wonder of God’s great Gift of grace.
Quite a contrast, isn’t it? If I ever go to Iraq, I give thanks that it will be as a soldier armed with faith, love, and a commitment to the Christ who died for us.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, in a world of terror and trouble, gird your people with the armor of faith and love. Always keep us as your saved soldiers who will boldly go anywhere, sharing the story of Your death and resurrection. In Your name, Amen.