This is My Crowd

This is My Crowd
Picture by: Photography by Vicky Campos

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Misapplication of Military Metaphors

First, I would like to confess I love alliteration and, as you will soon discover, repetition.  Oh... and just a touch of rhyming, when possible.
That, however, is not the topic of my post. 
I wanted to share a verse which rings through my head more often than I'd like, yet less often than I need.
Teacher, which kind of commandment is great and important (the principal kind) in the Law? [Some commandments are light—which are heavy?]  And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect).  This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment.   And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.  These two commandments sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 22:36-40 AMP)
However, when I hear it, this is what it sounds like:
Love God.  Love people.
Love God.  Love people.
Love God.  Love people.
Maybe you're the good son and God doesn't have to repeat Himself with you, but I am not.  I am the stubborn kid who has to be told time and again. 
Love God. Love people.
What God never tells me is:
Love God.  Conquer People.
Love God.  Dominate People.
Love God.  Battle People.
Love God.  Triumph over People.
Nope He says:
Love God.  Love People. 
There are some things, as Christians, where a militaristic tone is appropriate, but those things cannot be found bound in flesh and sustained by blood.  Epheshians 6:12 says "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."  Ephesians even goes on to instruct us to prepare for battle against such things.  According to verse 12, those preparations are not made to battle people.
Love God.  Love People.
If Ephesians 6 is a great picture of the method by which we should battle the unseen forces in this earth working against us, then I submit to you John 13 as a picture of how a life spent loving people should look.
Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power, and that He had come from God and was returning to God; so He got up from the meal, took off His outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around His waist. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him. (John 13:3-5 AMP)
He was stripped down, totally vulnerable, hands in the mud, uncomfortable, humble (possibly perceived as humiliated) and about as UN-self-serving as one can be.  There was nothing that Jesus could have possibly gained from this (or the cross), except filthy hands and hearts that, hopefully, better understood His. 
What you don't see (anywhere in the Gospels) is Jesus gearing up in armor and going to battle with people, because that would be ridiculous.  Battling people is ridiculous. 
Yet, we do it all the time.
Love God.  Love People.
I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. (John 13:15 AMP)
We cannot argue people to Jesus. 
We cannot force people to Jesus.
We cannot intimidate people to Jesus.
We cannot guilt people to Jesus.
We cannot strong-arm people to Jesus.
We can only love people to Jesus.  Because that's what He did, and it wasn't through empty words or a silent heart, but rather a life of service.
Love God.  Love People.
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (1 John 4:7-8 NLT)


  1. This is really great. Love you MOM

  2. Great Post Brina. Thanks for sharing it. Its so simple yet everything boils down to those 2 things. My mind gets overwhelmed when anything gets so complicated so this has always been refreshing to me. I just gotta remember it...

  3. "Love God, Love People!
    Serve God, Serve People!"

    Hit me like a ton of bricks!!! Love you Baby!

    We are on the same page!