I will confess that I am a consummate daydreamer. My mind not only drifts off into curiosity on things tangential to what is taking place or being taught, but I am also prone to rabbit trails when I am in the role of teacher. I never realized just how frustrating that must have been to my parents (who were trying to get me to do homework, etc…) until I became a parent and found that my son is prone to the same thing—the apple does not fall too far from the tree. One of the phrases that my parents used to use commonly was, “Come on, Win, get with the program.” What they meant by this was to get focused and to be a part of the task (the program) that was at hand.
Our Lord also gives a “program” to the church. After Peter’s confession that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, Jesus utters the following words:
“And now I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
This is one of those passages that contains a tremendous amount of theology, but essentially Jesus is saying that the confession of Jesus as the Christ and Son of God—the confession of the Gospel—is the rock upon which the church will be built. So, what is the church’s “program”? The program is to take this confession of Christ and use it to batter down the gates of hell—essentially to use the gospel of Jesus Christ as a tool by which the fortifications of the Devil that exist on this earth are destroyed. To use military terminology, the church is being portrayed as an army on the march in enemy territory.
Now, there are many things that the church does, we are called in the Great commission to make disciples by baptizing and teaching all that Christ has taught (Matthew 28:19-20), we are called to care for the widows and orphans and to keep ourselves unstained by the sinful things of this world (James 1:27), we are to be ready with a reasonable defense of the Truth that God has given us (1 Peter 3:15-16), and we gather to worship (Hebrews 12:28-29). Yet, all of these things fall under the heading of engaging the enemy’s strongholds and battering in their gates (the primary place where an invading army would focus their attack).
Yet, as I look at the church today, I wonder whether we have allowed ourselves to daydream. For some it may be about the busyness of life; for others it may be their comfort or reputation. Some spend so much time thinking about the world to come that they are distracted from the task at hand. Regardless of the reason, a soldier who is distracted during a time of war usually becomes a casualty (and others are often wounded or killed because of the soldier’s distraction).
The question we must ask of ourselves is whether or not we have “gotten with the program” and are a part of the task. My concern is that there are too many confessing Christians who are watching the program as if it is on television, seeing church as entertainment or a social club, not as an army at war in enemy territory, besieging the fortifications of the Devil. How the church needs to “get with the program” and stop trying to watch it from their easy chair.
“No one who serves as a soldier becomes entangled in the affairs of life in order that he might please the one who has enlisted them.”
(2 Timothy 2:4)