By Jeff Keaton
Most of us have heard the phrase “the fog of war.” In the fog of war, sometimes chaos and confusion cause decisions to be made that result in the devastation of armies, civilians, and nations. If there was ever a day when American Christians are living in the fog of war, it’s today. From COVID-19 to the outright push to destroy America’s best ideals and implement a socialistic agenda, to the attack on truth in areas of sexuality, gender, and more, our nation is spinning nearly out of control.
Some of you have more years behind you than ahead of you. You spent many years fighting against the falsehood that now dominates our culture. You might be tempted to throw your hands up and say all is lost. Before you do, let me give you a word of hope and caution.
First, let me thank you for investing your most vigorous years in the battle for truth! The reason Renewanation is now standing in the heat of the battle is because of the truth you passed down to those of us who now lead Renewanation.
You built God’s kingdom on earth by giving your best to your church, mission organizations, and Christian education. Some of you helped launch crisis pregnancy centers and worked hard to run for office or elect candidates who possessed a biblical understanding of life. Many of you ran your businesses in a way that glorified Christ and bent creation back toward God’s original design.
From the time I was a little boy, I watched my father and many others stand in the gap and fight for truth in our culture. I’ll never forget the first day I attended the Christian school that my dad and our church leaders started. I was only in the third grade, but I knew this school was totally different from the non-Christian school I had attended. As my Dad observed the lives of his nine children, he knew he would need to prepare us to stand against the lies we would face so that we would shine light and truth into this darkened world. His belief has proven true as there are nearly 100 of his descendants serving Jesus Christ today.
I want to pause right here and express my sincere gratitude for all you have done. Because of you, there are millions of younger men and women who know, embrace, and stand for truth in this darkened world we now live in. Only eternity will be able to reveal the fruit of your labor. Do not allow Satan to lie to you and tell you that all of your efforts were in vain. They were not! I and so many others are carrying on the battle today because of you.
As we contemplate the fog of war we find ourselves immersed in, I want to share a few concerns about what can happen to us.
Lest you think the word war is too strong, let me remind you of the words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:10-12: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
Satan has more power and a greater army than any physical force on earth. He is attacking everything and everyone working against him and for Christ. I believe he knows his time is short, and he is out to create as much havoc as he possibly can before Christ casts him forever into a lake of fire. This is why the battle is so fierce. Despite this, there are several things we should understand about this war and the fog it produces.
In the fog of war, we often experience unjustified fear.
War is loud, unpredictable, and frightening. When so many bad things are happening around us, we can quickly develop a fatalistic view and assume there is no hope. Our fear sometimes reaches unjustified levels because we simply cannot control everything going on around us. Thankfully, as Christians, we know that God gave us the breath of life, and He is the only one who can allow it to be taken away.
In the fog of war, we misidentify the size and position of the enemy.
Often, when we don’t have a good understanding of the enemy’s size and position, we assume it’s larger than it is, and we lack a good understanding of how to attack and defeat it. In our current culture war in America, it seems like the enemy of all that is good and true is everywhere. It’s like playing whack-a-mole to keep up with all that’s happening so rapidly. This can also produce fear and paralysis among God’s people. Though the enemy is everywhere, we have a powerful hope, and that is Jesus Christ. Since we are often not able to identify and defeat the enemy, we must learn to rely on God, who knows everything and has the power to turn our circumstances around. We repeatedly see in the Scriptures how God can come through when all seems lost.
In the fog of war, we often attack our allies rather than our enemies.
When Satan is attacking as he is today, it gets harder to determine who is on our side. Often we hunker down in a foxhole and shoot at anyone who gets close. If there was ever a time when Christians need to agree upon the essentials of the faith and be charitable in areas that are not as important to core doctrine, today is that day. We must learn to work with those who may not share our exact theological understanding on some issues but who are committed to Jesus and the authority and sufficiency of Scripture as best they understand it. I am finding a kindred spirit among brothers and sisters in Christ who come from very different backgrounds. In our local churches and schools, we should stand firm in our doctrinal distinctives. However, in the larger culture war, we must unite with like-minded Christians and work together in every way we can to take God’s truth and light into the darkness that threatens to overwhelm us.
In the fog of war, we often forget about the power we are connected to.
Right after telling us that our primary battle is not with flesh and blood but with powerful, evil, spiritual forces, Paul gives us these very encouraging words in Ephesians 6:13: “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”
Paul reminds us that with Christ, we can stand no matter how intense the battle might be. As Christians, we must never forget the lesson the prophet Elisha had to teach his servant when Syria’s armies surrounded him. In 2 Kings 6:16-17, he spoke these powerful words: “‘Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ Then Elisha prayed and said, ‘O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.’ So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
It feels like we are outnumbered in this world. Evil is everywhere! But there are more with us than there are with them; we are on the winning side. For as long as Christ allows us to be on earth, we must live fearless lives, showing the world that our best days are yet to come as believers. We must serve Christ and people with loving and sacrificial hearts, knowing that there will come a day when Christ will plant His feet firmly back on this planet. He will create a new earth that the heavenly city will rest on for all eternity. All of us who know Him as Savior will reign with Him forever in a world that is hard for us even to imagine. Our best day on earth is only a shadow of every day in eternity with Christ.
In light of this powerful reality, let’s take the fight to the enemy. We must not give up. We cannot just hunker down and try to hold on until Jesus returns. There is great work to do on earth, and with God’s help, we will expose the darkness and set the captives free for as long as God grants us the ability to do so.
Jeff Keaton has been a successful pastor, church and school planter, and ministry entrepreneur. As the founder and CEO of Renewanation, Jeff works across the United States and Canada to help awaken the church to the great need to give every child a biblical worldview. Jeff is married to his high school sweetheart, Michele, and they have two daughters, two sons-in-law, and a grandson. He is the author of The Life of Radical Faith.