My guess is that most of us have heard of Joshua and the battle of Jericho. There’s an interesting part of the story, however, that is rarely told.
13 Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” 14 He said, “No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?” 15 The captain of the LORD’S host said to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so. Joshua 5:13-15 (NASB)
What an intense story! In all likelihood, it was an angel that stood face to face with Joshua.
So often we develop a for and against mentality. It’s all about us versus them. The angel would have nothing to do with that mindset. He was for God—period! The real issue was about approaching the Creator of the universe with humility, fully subjecting oneself to His holiness.
Over the past several months I’ve been developing a study titled, The Search for Wisdom. Through the process I am more clearly seeing that one of the keys to knowing God and His ways is to fully surrender one’s self-will to the heavenly Father, just as Jesus always did (John 5:30).
The battle of the will is the most difficult struggle any of us will ever face. Each of us is cut from the same cloth in the sense that we all want what we want.
For me, this is especially difficult when it comes to ministry. I’ve invested (and sacrificed) so much in doing what I do. I care about people and certainly believe that my ministry has noble foundations. Even still, all of my efforts need to be surrendered to the Father. In order to bear real fruit His work can only be done in His way and in His time.
Essentially I am saying that my personal opinion doesn’t really matter all that much. My heart genuinely goes out to the pain and struggle of those in the GLBT community, but I cannot with a clear conscience say that God is honored by sexual activity outside of a marriage covenant between one man and one woman. It’s not about what I want or how I feel—I simply can’t find anything in the Scriptures to the contrary.
Homosexuality is such a hyper-sensitive topic that we must exercise great care and patience in dealing with those who may disagree with our perspectives—regardless of how strongly we may feel. And certainly, God’s love calls us to treat all men and women with honor and respect. Thus, I readily applaud those who would challenge the church in these areas.
At the same time many of us feel compelled to stand for traditional marriage because we believe it stands as a holy ground without which our culture will continue to unravel. It’s not about being against homosexuality per se; most Christians have no agenda with the GLBT community in its cross hairs.
When it comes to life, I would much rather be defined by what I am for rather than against. If I had my preference, I wouldn’t be against anybody, but if being for God’s wise design for sexuality somehow puts me against the opinions of others, it must be so.
In closing this series I would challenge each of us to honestly consider a few lingering questions. Are our attitudes and actions defined by what we are for or what we are against? Are we willing to surrender all aspects of our lives in pursuit of God and His ways? And finally, I can’t help but feel that Joshua’s question is especially poignant in our day: What has our Lord to say to His servants? Do we really want to know?