Suppose a family decided to go on vacation to a nice cabin on a beautiful shore in a distant country. This vacationing family naturally wanted to tune out the problems of the world, indulge themselves, relax and enjoy life and each other as much as possible. This is simply what families do on vacation.
Now imagine that the place this family chose to vacation was Normandy Beach in France and the date their vacation began was June 5, 1944. They would not have known that this spot would be center stage to the most important and one of the most ferocious battles found during the second World War and that it was about to begin the very next day.
Imagine this family waking the next morning to the sounds of guns and bombs all around them. Suddenly a captain of the U.S. forces knocks on the door and informs them of their situation, and then he explains how their cabin and their assistance is needed to give shelter and care for wounded soldiers. The family responds by explaining how they are on vacation and that they need to rest and relax so that they can enjoy their time away. They want to tune out the problems of the world, indulge themselves, and enjoy life. While this attitude was perfectly acceptable on June 5, 1944, would it not be completely unacceptable on June 6? The attitude that is appropriate when one is on vacation is utterly inappropriate when one is caught in the crossfire of a war.
This analogy applies to those of us who live in America and who have committed our lives to following Jesus as our Lord. Most in our culture have bought into a vacation mindset with a vengeance. It’s called “the American Dream.” We are conditioned to believe we have a right to pursue and enjoy as much of the “good life” as we possibly can. We are indoctrinated to crave as much comfort as possible, to acquire as many possessions as possible, and to avoid unnecessary inconveniences as much as possible. In short, we’re socialized into viewing our life as though we are on vacation.
But we’re not! As followers of Jesus, we are to understand that the earth has become the Normandy Beach of a vast cosmic conflict, and we are each called to play an important role in how it unfolds. We each have a domain of “say-so” that our Lord calls us to use to advance the wartime effort by aligning our will with his. We are called to set aside our vacation attitude and embrace the mindset of a soldier who understands that our sole call is to please our commanding officer. As Paul wrote, “No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.” (2 Tim. 2:4).
Satan is an ever-present thief who continually tries to kill, steal, and destroy all the good God wants for us (Jn. 10:10). Or, in the words of Peter, he’s an ever-present hungry lion who seizes every opportunity to prey on us (1 Pet. 5:8-9).
Do we ignore this biblical teaching because it upsets our Western vacation mindset, or perhaps because our secular outlook has trouble taking things like Satan, angels, and demons seriously? Either way, the fact of the matter is those who take following Jesus seriously must also deal with the fact that “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” (Eph 6:12).