"Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, "Are you for us or for our enemies?" "Neither," he replied, "but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come." ~Joshua 5:13
For those of you that know me, you are probably thinking that I have lost my mind or my faith when I assert that God isn't on my side. Hang with me and let me explain.
A week ago, I had the opportunity to go to church with my parents at my old stompin' grounds. Wow, the memories that place brings back. Anyway, what a blessing to hear the message that I did because there aren't very many messages that I can say that I really came away with something that has left me meditating on it day after day. But here is the pastor's statement that has "messed" me up:
"God isn't on my side, I'm on His."
Seems very simple, right? I even asked George to think on that and He felt like he was completely missing it because it doesn't seem complicated. Maybe it hit me right in my gut because I was struggling with obedience in the same area that I can never seem to get it right in. An area in which I sometimes fight tooth & nail to maintain my independence in. That area will remain nameless, but everyone has an area.
The pastor's message was on Joshua 4 and how Joshua was giving a charge to the Israelites that before they take the Promised Land, they needed to decide who they were going to serve: God or the idols they had created. God then told the Israelites the battle plan for Jericho. Joshua gets to Jericho and comes across a "man" (from my understanding, it's actually Jesus...but I could be mistaken) and Joshua wants to know whose side this man is on. Is he on the Israelites side or the nations they were about to conquer? His response: NEITHER. Wouldn't you expect God's response to be the Israelites side. Of course. They were His chosen people. God didn't take a side though, even though He was very much about to deliver the Israelites' enemies into their hands.
Don't we struggle with the same thing? We want God to pick a side. This was the punch in the gut conviction that you just know comes straight from the Holy Spirit: God didn't sign up to be on my side, I signed up to be on His. And it goes beyond just signing up to be on His team, I surrendered. You know what that means? When I invited Jesus into my life, I laid down my rights to call the shots or make the rules. When you sign up for a sports team, you lay down your individual rights and submit to the coach's vision for the TEAM.
So when I get in a fight with my spouse and I want God to pick sides or convict my husband of something I think he's doing wrong, God isn't on either of our sides. I'm on His side and the Bible tells me that I am to submit (not getting into that whole topic here) or respect my husband no matter how he is acting towards me. Do you catch what I am saying?
In light of it being September 11th, whose side do you think God is on? Terrorists or the USA? Neither. "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." ~John 3:16 (emphasis mine).
God is in it all for His glory. And He has a right to be because He created it all (Genesis 1:1).
Bottom line: It doesn't revolve around me. We live in such a me-centered world that we think that God is fighting for us. No, we are fighting for Him. We are in the fight for His glory. That fight may come through respecting my husband when he hasn't earned it, being patient with my kids when all they've done is make demands of me, going across the ocean to serve people who supposedly are my enemy, sharing the gospel with my neighbor, forgiving someone who doesn't even care whether or not their actions were hurtful.
Take heart,though, if you have a relationship with Jesus Christ, you are already on the winning side. We may not have the details of His battle plan, but the Bible guarantees us that He wins in the end. And that is a victory that I definitely do not want to miss out on. If you want specifics, read the entire book of Revelation. If you are unsure if you are on God's side, I would love to share with you how you can be certain.