Our Spiritual and Moral D-Day
This week the world commemorated the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. On June 6, 1944, Allied forces launched a combined naval, air, and land assault involving 160,000 troops. They landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy. D-Day marked the start of a long and costly campaign to liberate northwest Europe from German occupation. The invasion strategically drained German resources and blocked access to key military sites. Securing the bridgehead in Normandy allowed the Allies to establish a viable presence in northern Europe and began the efforts through which victory was eventually achieved.
We commemorate this day, not only because of its military significance but due to the severe cost in human lives. Recent research by the US National D-Day Memorial Foundation estimated the total number of casualties that occurred during this operation, from June 6 to August 30 (when German forces retreated across the Seine) to be over 425,000 Allied and German troops. This figure includes over 209,000 Allied casualties.1 Between 15,000 and 20,000 French civilians were also killed.2
Asleep in Our Moral D-Day?
The “D” in D-Day simply stands for “day”. This is a term traditionally used for the date of any important military operation or invasion. Generally, by definition, a “D-Day” is the day on which an important operation is to begin or a change to take effect.
To be clear, our nation is on the precipice of a moral D-Day. The cultural battle lines are clear and on full display in the news everyday. This unprecedented and profoundly consequential ethical revolution is threatening the very soul of our nation. The casualties are diverse and devastating. Sadly, I believe many evangelical Christians are living in a state of apathetic slumber as the enemy advances with incessant waves of spiritual destruction.
(On a personal note, virtually every day I listen to an important podcast, The Briefing by Dr. Albert Mohler. Mohler serves as President of Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY and insightfully analyzes the news from a Christian world-view perspective. His insights are riveting, biblical, and a daily wake-up call to my soul about the countless fronts on which the spiritual battle is raging all around us. There are other sources I am sure. Yet, I am concerned that many of us in the church are largely unaware and perhaps even unconcerned about the nature of our battle and the advancements of evil in our day.)
The Nature of the Battle
The Bible is clear about the nature of our battle. In summary:
Our enemies are ultimately spiritual. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). I remember the late pastor and college president, Joe Aldrich, noting, “The unsaved are not the enemy. They are victims of the enemy.”
Our responsibility is to see, stand and be strong – In making us aware of our ominous battle, Paul writes, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10–11). He then elaborates on the powerful spiritual armor and weaponry we have in Christ (6:13-20). This echoes the strong encouragement to God’s people in the Old Testament, “Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15).
Christ’s gospel and mission are the answer – While there are various fronts of the battle and legitimate efforts we can take (some of which I will mention in a moment), we must realize that Christ and this life-changing gospel, lived and proclaimed through a spiritually-alive church, is the only solution to our cultural demise. Paul explained that we have received the gospel “so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 3:10). Jesus described our influence as that “salt” that influences and preserves and as “light” that overcomes and dispels the darkness of the world (Matthew 5:13-16).
Christ and this life-changing gospel, lived and proclaimed through a spiritually-alive church, is the only solution to our cultural demise.
Our Strategic Moment in the Spiritual Battle
I am convinced that we are in a “D-Day” moment in the moral direction of our nation. We must be cognizant, clear, and committed to the gospel victory our Lord desires for the sake of the eternal souls of children, women, and men in our nation. I see a few key areas in which we must focus and act.
I. A D-Day for Victorious Trust
While is it is natural to be fearful in the face of so many forces that threaten our children, our families, and even our churches, we must place our trust in the sufficiency and victory that is promised in God’s word and ultimately in Christ.
- “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today” (Exodus 14:13).
- “You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf . . .Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you” (2 Chronicles 20:17).
- “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
Because of the victory of the resurrected Christ, who has conquered sin and death, and will ultimately triumph over all His enemies, we can proclaim:
- “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).
II. A D-Day for Extraordinary Prayer
In initiating the world-transforming work of the gospel through the church, Christ’s first directive was to pray in eager expectation of the work of the Holy Spirit in and through His people (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4,8,14). In speaking of the spiritual battle in Ephesians 6, Paul’s capstone command was clear, “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” We are in a moment that calls for unprecedented prayer among God’s people — for our own empowerment and transformation, for the hearts and minds of our leaders, and for divine wisdom in the battles we face.
We are in a moment that calls for unprecedented prayer among God’s people – for our own empowerment, for the hearts and minds of our leaders, and for divine wisdom in the battles we face.
III. A D-Day for Spirit-Empowered Witness
Having just celebrated Pentecost Sunday, we must remember and be assured that the power of the resurrection in the person of the Holy Spirit lives in each of us to produce Christlikeness and powerful gospel witness (Romans 8:11). This was the core message of my recent book, Transforming Presence: How the Holy Spirit Changes Everything from the Inside-Out.
The early disciples were continually “filled with the Spirit” to boldly demonstrate and sacrificially proclaim the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:4, 4:8, 4:32, 6:3, 7:55, 11:24,13:52). As we think of the spiritual battles in our society, we can find great assurance in the promise, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).
Paul’s clear teaching about our ultimate weapon for spiritual battle compels us to take up “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). Spirit-empowered sound teaching and gospel proclamation are essential for our victory over the evil of the day.
Spirit-empowered, sound teaching and gospel proclamation are essential for our victory over the evil of the day.
IV. A D-Day for Strategic Action
If I could speak very practically and directly, I believe biblical Christians need a deeper clarity and conviction about our stewardship as consumers. This is illustrated in the recent announcements by companies like Netflix, Disney, Time-Warner and others in strong opposition to states like Georgia that are trying to stem the tide of radical pro-abortion forces.3 Believers have no obligation to support businesses that blatantly oppose family values and aggressively promote issues that are fueling the moral decline of our nation. I use a helpful resource, 2nd Vote, to guide my spending choices. While we cannot keep our money from supporting secular enterprises, we must be discerning and decisive about our spending choices when certain organizations have unashamedly “thrown down the gauntlet” in opposition to biblical values. Otherwise, we have no room to bemoan the advancement of godlessness in our society.
I would reiterate, however, that our primary responsibilities are spiritual and you can read what I wrote a couple months ago here: Our Only Hope for the Unborn.
V. A D-Day for Public Expression
There are many other legitimate, peaceful, gospel-compatible ways we can act as citizens. This would include voting, communicating graciously but clearly with elected officials, promoting righteous causes, supporting entertainment and business consistent with our values, and participating in public events that promote righteous concerns. I pray we will be Spirit-led but bold and resolute in taking advantage of the freedoms and opportunities we can embrace.
I am concerned that the reputation of the evangelical church in America far exceeds our spiritual reality and influence. We must “wake up” to the real war around us – repent of our apathy, prayerlessness and lack of gospel influence.
Waking Up to the War Around Us
I am often reminded of the relevance of Christ’s final words to the seven churches in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. I am especially captured by our Lord’s words to Sardis, “I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God” (Revelation 3:1–2). I am concerned that the reputation of the evangelical church in America far exceeds our spiritual reality and influence. I pray we will indeed “wake up” to the war that is being waged around us and repent of our apathy, prayerlessness, and lack of gospel influence. I long for us to live with a new Spirit-empowered witness and practical wisdom for the sake of coming generations and with a heartbroken concern for those who need to experience the life-changing freedom and victory of Jesus Christ. I pray we will not be guilty of apathy and slumber in the face of a moral and spiritual D-Day.
Copyright © 2019 Daniel Henderson. All rights reserved.