By James Wilson
(Author Note: A Warfare by Honor conference will be presented at Revival Barn in Elk Grove, California, November 1-2; there is no charge although love offerings will be taken. To learn how to bring this teaching to your region contact Jim at email@example.com or call him at 530 941 3470.)
When a judge cut Sacramento Delta water to farmers in order to save a fish called the snail darter many Californians were up in arms. Dedicated attorneys argued persistently in courts against this wrong on multiple levels. Meanwhile a few hundred Christians who practice warfare by honor prayed blessings on all concerned and repented of the tendency to rage at injustice rather than seek God’s solution to it. We prayed for eighteen months, asking God to forgive as well, blessing also those who argued while asking God to reframe the conversation to give Himself the last word. The judge eventually reversed himself, saying the so-called science presented to rationalize the water cutoff no longer impressed him. Delta water flow returned to parched fields. God did have the last word and it was good.
Warfare by honor is God’s way to fight for His people and His plans; He never loses a conflict and we never have cause to regret it when we fight His battles using His methods. When, for example, Moses goes to Pharaoh, commanding in the Name of Yahweh that his people be freed, he always begins by asking God for long life for Pharaoh and wisdom for his rule. He is not wimpy in his demands, but he recognizes and acknowledges Pharaoh was made and loved by the same God who made the Israelites. Honor simply acknowledges God parting the sea for those who honor Him.
When Daniel must defy King Nebuchadnezzar over the issue of praying to God rather than to the king he does it with courtesy and prayer for the king’s well being. The fruit is – after a night among the lions – he is eventually enabled to lead the king to faith in God, just as Elijah earlier led King Ahab. When Paul defends his faith before the detestable Herod Antipas he first honors the king with confidence the king is quite able to see the truth Paul speaks; it was no different when Peter and John spoke before the Sanhedrin, telling leaders what they did not want to hear after honoring them as leaders of the Jews.
Jesus Himself honors Pontius Pilate and washes Judas’ feet before sharing the Supper with him, just as he does with the other disciples. This is how important God holds this thing we call warfare by honor. But what is this warfare that is so effective and yet so counter-intuitive to human methods?
It is simply walking out Paul’s teaching that we struggle not against flesh and blood – people are not the enemy – but against principalities and powers. We are called to engage one another rather than these powers themselves, using only the weapons with which Christ Himself engages us. There are three weapons, each expressing a dimension of repentance.
The first is blessing. Romans 12:14 is clear: We are to bless and curse not. That does not mean endorsing or accepting evil; it includes and requires confrontation of evil, but in terms of a loving God who hates nothing He has made. When Christian legal foundations take on judges who favor fish over farmers they do it in the knowledge God loves that judge as much as He loved kings like Ahab and Nebuchadnezzar. When we bless we simply pray for and affirm the best God intends even for His adversaries. We say in word, deed and – especially – prayer – that they are better than their behavior indicates and we seek that betterness. It requires repentance – re-focus on God – to bless those whom we abhor.
The second is forgiveness. John 20:19-23 is just as clear: Those sins we forgive are forgiven and those we retain are retained – by any who refuse God’s command to forgive as He forgives. Shannon Grove was a member of California’s Assembly known as a fiery voice for conservative and biblical values and hated by her opponents. That ended when she heard God calling her to pray for her enemies – for their blessing – even as she opposed their policies. It required her to repent of unforgiveness before she could so bless. Today she is the minority leader in the California State Senate and known as the one who prays for everyone in that body.
The third is engagement through the Lord’s Supper – however we express that act of ultimate worship. It takes a heap-load of repentance to feed our enemies and – perhaps – even more to relax into the necessarily unself-conscious worship via the sacred meal in the middle of a crisis. Yet when I was asked to lead a prayer team into a community called Forest Ranch that is exactly what we did.
Witches and warlocks were practicing their foul faith on a stone slab near the town’s northerly edge. We found the location, blessed them as children for whom Christ died, forgave them in His Name, and celebrated the Supper on the slab. This kind of thing is effective beyond argument – although consistent witness is crucial – it literally changes the atmospherics to alignment with the Lord’s powerful love. This change is impacting whether or not people know what has been done. Within days they had ceased operations and car crashes in the area had nearly stopped altogether. This is the power of the Lord released through repentance and reiteration of His ways; I have witnessed it many times. The world witnessed this power when it felled the Berlin Wall and set Eastern Europe free.
This is waging warfare by honor.
James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the EndTimes, Kingdom in Pursuit, and his first novel, Generation – available at Bounty Books, or at firstname.lastname@example.org