Week of Monday, December 6 ­– Sunday, December 12
Greater Love – Man as Defender

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:12-13 ESV
On December 7, 1941, Japanese forces launched a surprise attack on the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, which brought America into World War II. Five American battleships and three destroyers were sunk, some 400 planes were damaged or destroyed, and nearly 3,000 sailors, soldiers, military personnel, and civilians were killed. It was the deadliest attack ever against America. 

The following evening, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed the assembled Congress and a grief stricken and anxious American people:

“Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan… The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu… No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory... With confidence in our armed forces—with the unbounding determination of our people—we will gain the inevitable triumph—so help us God.”

Even in such a devastating defeat, God’s providence was evident in many ways. One of them was the fact that our aircraft carriers were not at Pearl Harbor during the attack. Had they been sunk, there would have been no victories at Coral Sea and Midway and the outcome of the war would have been in doubt. The attack also had the opposite effect from what the Japanese had hoped. Indeed, the Japanese Admiral who planned the attack, Isoroku Yamamoto wrote: “A military man can scarcely pride himself on having ‘smitten a sleeping enemy’… since it is certain that, angered and outraged, he will soon launch a determined counterattack.” The movie version of that statement was even more dramatic: “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”  

The attack on Pearl Harbor became a rally point 80 years ago for multiplied thousands of American men to step up and become Defenders. My dad was one of those men. Many of you have dads, granddads, or uncles who did the same. Some went to war and didn’t make it back home. During the course of World War II, many men laid down their lives, not merely because they hated the enemy but because they loved their families, their country, and their freedom. In fact, G.K. Chesterton captured this sentiment in his now famous quip: “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”  These men showed a “greater love.” 

During my time in the military, I had the incredible privilege of serving alongside such men who made the ultimate sacrifice as Defenders. I also had the honor of serving with many men who would willingly do so. We still need men to be Defenders like that today, and not only in the context of the military.  

By now you are aware of the spiritual war taking place and the reality that the future of America hangs in the balance. The Judeo-Christian principles that made America great are under savage attack and our survival as a free nation is in question. Satanic deception in our culture, disseminated through social media, indoctrination camps masquerading as “schools,” etc., bombards our children daily and threatens to turn them into enemies of all we hold dear. Yet the church in America is like a “sleeping giant.” We need men like you to step up in your church and “awaken” that group to get engaged. We need you to become that Defender who is willing to lay down your life for your family, your friends, and our freedom—men who will show that “greater love.”

  • Compare the “greatest generation” of World War II with the current generation of Americans. Would this current generation be willing to make the sacrifices they made to defeat a determined enemy? Where are you in that assessment?
  • In what way is the church today a “sleeping giant” that needs to be awakened? How can you be a part of awakening your church to the spiritual assaults that are occurring and developing a battle plan to counterattack with truth?
  • Ask God to help you to step up and become the Defender. Ask him to give you that “greater love.”