For although we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh, since the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.
One of the first skills we were taught in basic training was marksmanship. The M16A2 rifle is an extension of the soldier. It is the soldier’s responsibility to become proficient with his weapon. Drill Sergeants aid in this by teaching the basics: How many rounds does the M16 hold? 30. What’s the maximum effective range? 3,600 meters. What do you do if the weapon jams? S.P.O.R.T.S[i]. The most important thing they taught us was the importance of safety. Safety? That word doesn’t seem to fit. Something about placing your head near a bullet being fired at 3,000 feet per second doesn’t seem safe.
Sharing the message of Jesus has the same feel. Like a soldier’s M16, a Christian’s testimony or come-to-faith moment is an extension of himself or herself. Preachers play the role of Drill Sergeants and prepare Christians to share their faith. They teach Bible verses as if it were ammunition: How much does God love you? So much that He gave is one and only begotten son(John 3:16). Of what importance is it that Jesus rose from the dead? If Christ has not been raised then our preaching is without foundation, and so is your faith(1 Corinthians 15:14)? Who did Jesus come to save? Whoever calls on His name (Acts 2:21).
Christianity doesn’t always feel safe; it quite often feels the opposite.
C.S. Lewis is a famous atheist turned Christian apologist. What really impresses me about Lewis is his ability to write effectively in an array of genres. Lewis covered everything from fantasy literature in “The Chronicles of Narnia” to a transcribed radio series in “Mere Christianity” to Dream Vision (Romanticism of Medieval era) in “The Great Divorce”. All of these works were penned with the excellence of a Cambridge professor. In one of his books, “The Screwtape Letters”, Lewis writes from the perspective of a senior demon (Screwtape) writing to a young apprentice (Wormwood). Screwtape explains the methods and tactics that demons use to thwart the plans of “the enemy” (God).
Screwtape writes, “For as things are, your man has now discovered the dangerous truth that these attacks don’t last forever; consequently you cannot use again what is, after all, our best weapon – the belief of ignorant humans, that there is no hope of getting rid of us except by yielding.”
Wormwood is attempting to shake the faith of a Christian. Screwtape identifies that the target is beginning to recognize his power of resistance.
We often march to the cadence of 1 Timothy 3:15, scouring through our favorite apologetics webpages like Reasonable Faith with William Lane Craig, Stand to Reason with Greg Koukl, Cold Case Christianity by J. Warner Walace, or Rob Johnson’s Apologetics 105. We go in search of the support and defense of our faith so that we can provide it to others with gentleness and respect. But in doing so, we miss the power of the personal testimony.
Paul writes in Romans 6:13a, “And do not offer any parts of [yourself] to sin as weapons for unrighteousness.” When Jesus called you to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength” he was saying the whole of your identity belongs to God.
My good friend Tony Vance recently wrote, “I would actually argue that apologetics is a field all believers should be practicing, even if only once in a while.” I agree wholeheartedly, and I’ll offer one more element to that! The greatest weapon in the Christian arsenal is the evidence of Jesus in the life of the believer, a changed heart. Get to know your weapon. Know it inside and out and don’t shy from sharing. For as it is written, “those who are alive from the dead, offer yourselves to God, and all the parts of yourselves to God as weapons for righteousness.” (Rom 6:13b)