And Moses built an altar and called it, The LORD is my banner. (Exodus 17:15)
There are many battles that we fight as believers, and to hear God named as the ‘Battle Fighter’ is a powerful reassurance about what is truly going on. In this passage the Lord fights as Moses lifts his hands in praise, and when his arms grow weary it is his brothers who help hold them up.
The Christian community is a source of our strength and guidance, but it can often be the place of our battles as well. Some of the most hurtful and bitter battles that rage are the ones that tear us apart in our faith community. The Christian body can easily become divided over issues that work to pit us against each other, and tear at the fabric of our family of faith.
It is not wrong to fight and struggle for the truth of God to be known, recognized, and lived, but truth by itself becomes an empty law unto itself. A crusade of truth without love has given us little except a ‘Christian fundamentalist’ movement, just as the crusade of love without truth puts us on the edge of a dangerous liberalism. We cannot have one without the other. We cannot fight for anything if it is not the truth of God, but the only weapon that God has given us for the battle is love itself.
I am in prison, and my battles are many. They are battles of honesty, integrity, and faithful service. Battles of the spirit, heart, and mind. And for those on the outside the battles are the same. They are battles that are won by relying on our relationship with the Lord. They are battles where we can only stand in faith and let the Lord fight for us. And when the times are tough and we grow tired, there are times when we rely on the strength of our brothers and sisters to hold us up.
Of the Father’s love begotten, ere the worlds began to be, He is Alpha and Omega, He the source and ending He. (Hymn 82)