As a new father I have been able to get a small taste of what a picky eater is like. My son is currently 18 months old and at different times has become a picky eater (specifically towards vegetables). I am sure this is a fairly normal stage that he is going through, but it has been a time learning for my wife and me.
The most interesting observation I have been able to make is the different reactions my son has made towards different foods he doesn’t particularly want to eat. It often starts off with him half smiling and half looking skeptical at what you are about to give him (he absolutely loves to eat so he normally starts off in a good mood). This skeptical half smile soon turns to a look of absolute betrayal as he places the food in his mouth and is unsure why I would ruin such a joyous time of eating meat by giving him a green bean or a pea! The final two stages go hand in hand as he rejects the food by spitting it out and then simultaneously rejects any future portions of that food by shaking his head back and forth to indicate his immense displeasure.
What does being a picky eater have to do with being a pastor today? I assure you the attitude behind the picky eater is nearly a mirror reflection of what is seen in pastors today concerning the spiritual battles in which they engage.
Ephesians 6:10-13 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
This is familiar passage of Scripture. However, I want us to notice a couple key principles before we look at the attitude of the pastor when it comes to current spiritual battles.
The first principle I want us to notice is that the passage speaks with an assumption of spiritual warfare. It does not tell us to have the armor of God ready to put on; rather, it tells us to put it on! It speaks of wrestling as though we are actively involved against principalities, powers, rulers of darkness, and against spiritual hosts of wickedness. The passage is assuming the spiritual battles, not simply that they will happen, but that we are in the midst of them! We must realize that the battle is raging, for the Christian, it is war time!
The second principle we need to notice is that we are called to stand and to do all to stand. The clear context is that we are to stand in the battle that we are in. This is very important to realize because it is not a command to merely have an intention of standing, but to actually stand. This passage is calling all Christians – pastors included – to stand and withstand in the spiritual battles that they are clearly in.
Now, what does this have to do with the attitude of a picky eater? Pastors today are picking their battles instead of fighting what has been served to them. We all understand the idea of “pick your battles”, but this phrase is in reference to fighting what is really important as opposed to nit-picking everything. Today, we have pastors who are solid theologically, they are even good doctrinally on the issues at hand, but they have no interest in fighting the battles that are at the forefront of society and theology today. They have embraced the attitude of the picky eater and are spitting out what has been served to them.
Many of the pastors who have been willing to engage in a spiritual battle have looked at the battles that are staring at us across the trenches (Social Justice, Cultural Marxism, Critical Race Theory, Same-Sex Attraction/Revoice, and other Neo-modernist ideas) and they half-smile with a look of great skepticism. They soon look towards those fighting on the right side of the battle with a look of betrayal, not because they inherently disagree, but because it wasn’t the battle they wanted to fight. They wanted to fight the battles of the 1950’s or the 1920’s but they have no desire to fight what was put in front of them.
After getting a taste of the battle, just like my son with vegetables, they spit out the fight and shake their head vowing never to return to this arena. They would rather call up one of their seminary buddies and have a sparring match on some topic that was at the forefront of culture decades ago, all the while they have no desire to fight what is literally on the streets all across America!
I understand this mindset. After all, I would rather fight the battles of the early 1900’s, but we cannot neglect the battle that is set before us. When we become Christians, we are not starting the battle nor are we choosing what the battle is, but we realize we are in the midst of a battle. Our obligation is to stand and do all to stand! We cannot be picky about our battles, rather we must focus in on standing in the battle that is around us!
Many pastors are living by the creed of “pick your battles” all the while neglecting the battle that is before them. They have failed to realize that sometimes the battle picks you and you had better be ready to stand for the righteousness of God!