In today’s sermon text, God gives the instructions for the priests’ garments. One of the things to notice is that God wants Israel to view the priest as a sort of warrior. His garments are like armor. He wears a breastplate, shoulder guards, and a robe like a coat of mail. To be near to God, to serve God on behalf of others, to guard God’s presence necessarily means warfare, struggle, fighting. Priests busy in the tabernacle would frequently be splattered with blood, the blood of sacrifice.
But lots of Christians spend their time walking or running away from struggle, away from the fight. Many Christians are at least functional pacifists when it comes to their priestly duties. It’s easier not to speak up, easier not to comment on the silly Facebook post, easier not to get off the couch and correct your child, easier not to go to someone who has offended you. But the Christian life is not all about just keeping the peace, making sure everyone is just floating merrily down the lazy river of life.
Paul insists that we have been enlisted in the army of Jesus: put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. At the end of his life, Paul describes his whole ministry as having “fought the good fight.”
So the question should not be whether you are struggling, whether you are wrestling, whether you are fighting and waging war in your life. The question is only where are you fighting? Where are you struggling against the devil? Where are you throwing down, entering the fray, confronting sin, speaking the truth?
And here’s the thing: the reason people don’t want to fight is because they are afraid: afraid of being misunderstood, afraid of being lied about, afraid of not being thought well of. And frankly, it’s hard to fight, it can be stressful, feel overwhelming, seem daunting. But Jesus said to expect it, if you’re following Him. It should not come as a surprise. Jesus has summonsed you to the battle. You must look for the giants, look for the dragons in your life, and then go to work. Otherwise, you’re just getting in the way.
You are the priesthood of God, God’s holy house, and therefore you are called to war. Where do you see unbelief, unfaithfulness, hypocrisy? Starting with your own heart, get out your sword and get bloody.