Keith was having a religious discussion with someone once, a brother as I remember, but one he disagreed with. I had come upon a pertinent scripture in my own study a few days earlier and gave him the passage. “Here’s some more ammunition,” I said.
That word came naturally to me. Keith was a certified firearms instructor for the state. He taught probation officers, and prison guards how to shoot. As a probation officer he carried his own weapon, having to qualify every year. He taught me how to shoot well enough to dispose of a dozen poisonous snakes over the years and he taught the boys, too. So the word “ammunition” just came out.
However, it nagged at me enough that over the next few days I began wondering if we don’t have that mindset much too often, Yes, we are in a battle. Yes, the scriptures talk about our “weapons,” weapons God Himself supplied for our warfare. And yes, our fight is not just with Satan, but with his ministers as well. But look at this passage:
As for me, I have not hastened from being a shepherd after you; neither have I desired the woeful day; you know: that which came out of my lips was before your face, Jer 17:16
Jeremiah was NOT happy about Judah’s coming destruction—he did not “desire” the evil day.
There’s an old story about a man who was converted after thirty years of different preachers telling him he was lost.
“Why now?” someone asked him. “Why listen to this preacher?”
“Because,” the old man said, “he really sounded like he was sad about it.”
Is that our problem? Do we get too much pleasure out of the fight? Are we just a bunch of gung-ho cowboys in our zeal? Are we more interested in winning arguments than in winning souls?
God gave Jeremiah plenty of ammunition, and he used it well enough that he was thrown into prison for it. But he never enjoyed the job. In fact, a good many of the prophets disliked their mission. “I went in the bitterness of soul,” Ezekiel said. In his confrontation with the priest of Bethel, Amos as much as said, “This wasn’t my idea.”
That’s a far different attitude than I have seen in some brethren, who delight in slinging bandoliers over their shoulders and spraying automatic fire in a drive-by.
We’re supposed to be saving souls, not murdering them with spiritual handguns and especially not with cannons. Let’s take stock of our attitudes when we go out to battle today.
Give glory to the LORD your God before he brings darkness, before your feet stumble on the twilight mountains, and while you look for light he turns it into gloom and makes it deep darkness. But if you will not listen, my soul will weep in secret for your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears, because the LORD's flock has been taken captive, Jer 13:16-17.