THE BATTLE FOR LIFE by Pastor Ken Damstrom
“WHENEVER YOU FIND YOURSELF DOUBTING HOW FAR YOU CAN GO, JUST REMEMBER HOW FAR YOU HAVE COME. REMEMBER EVERYTHING YOU HAVE FACED, ALL THE BATTLES YOU HAVE WON, AND ALL THE FEARS YOU HAVE OVERCOME.” -Unknown
Is there anyone who thinks that life is easy, simple, just a breeze? If you should think that way, your experience is very limited! Life is a battle. Christians are engaged in spiritual warfare, to say the least. There is no demilitarized zone or area. We learn from history, that in warfare there are always casualties. In the New Testament we find the language of battle. Paul exclaimed in 2 Timothy 2:7, in encouraging Timothy, that he had “fought a good fight”, and he wanted Timothy (I Timothy 6:12) to, “fight the good fight of faith.” He went on to say to Timothy, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life: that he may please him who has chosen him to be a soldier (2 Timothy 2:3,4).
Life is a battle. The Christian life is a battle. The direction of the warfare in battle is always uphill. It is a constant wrestling match against the powers of the enemy, the evil surroundings, and the darkness that prevails in our society today. (I Thes 5:6) It is a real challenge in spiritual warfare for every born-again believer who is endeavoring to live a life of victory. We cannot retreat, we must advance and follow the Captain of our salvation. Our hope is in Jesus Christ. We fear no evil, no enemy tactic when our eye is on the Master!
The Apostle John in Revelation 12:9 has forewarned us about the “Old Serpent” who started his attacks in the Garden of Eden and continues to besiege us today. People come into the church, show activity, and then all of a sudden cool off, and just vanish. Although not forsaking the Savior, a person becomes missing or AWOL and loses his or usefulness to God’s work. It takes perseverance to continue this battle, and retreat is not an option for victory to prevail. The old hymn proclaimed, “Onward Christian, Soldiers!”, and says marching as to war. The Lord God Almighty has our backs, and He also goes before us! 2 Kings 6:17, tells us that Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see. ” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. “With the power of prayer and our eyes wide open we shall see how our God fights our battles.
We must look to The Word of God for our resource material. Note what is said in Hebrews 11:32, when it gives us examples of how followers approach this battle called life: “…I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; WHOSE WEAKNESS WAS TURNEDTO STRENGTH; AND WHO BECAME POWERFUL IN BATTLE AND ROUTED FOREIGN ARMIES.” Both Old and New Testaments provide us with clear examples of those who kept the faith and fought their uphill battles through their struggles and pains and hardships. All of this is for our encouragement to “keep on keeping on” in Jesus! When we put our hand into the HAND of the Lord, we are guided to safety. It is good to remember, that when life becomes too hard, too confusing, and too challenging, we can realize that our enemy is too often raising a storm in our lives. It is then that we read and hold tightly to ISAIAH 59:19, where it says, ” SO SHALL THEY FEAR THE NAME OF THE LORD FROM THE WEST AND HIS GLORY FROM THE RISING OF THE SUN. WHEN THE ENEMY SHALL COME IN LIKE A FLOOD, THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD SHALL LIFT UP A STANDARD AGAINST HIM “. We know that Jesus is our standard bearer! I know from personal military experience that a weary, discouraged, depressed soldier (or Marine) is not much good, no matter how good his weapons are. However, when we put on the “whole armor” of God, we are able to stand fully against the “wiles of the devil,” even if he is telling us to “wait a while!” (Ephesians 6:12-20)
“GOD NEVER ASKS ABOUT OUR ABILITY, NOR OUR INABILITY, BUT ABOUT OUR AVAILABILITY!”
If we can manage to take our eyes off of our problems, pressures, heartaches, and fasten them upon Christ’s dwelling in us, we can press on through to higher heights and deeper depths in our battle for life. Some grow stronger under adversity and some grow weaker! What is the difference? Why? The way we respond makes all the difference. If our spiritual house is built on a strong foundation we will stand. If we endeavor to follow Jesus each day, no matter what comes our way, our Christianity will hold. It does depend upon our “walk of faith”. One song of the past said it quite clear; “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His Wonderful Face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His Glory and Grace.!”
Our society has been leaning in the “way of the world.” Pride and covetousness have begun to predominate. The creation attempts again, to take the place of the Creator! Paul calls it “idolatry” in Colossians 3:5 Men must be set free by Jesus Christ, the One Whose Kingdom is not of this world, in order to be free from PRIDE and COVETOUSNESS AND SELF-CENTEREDNESS. Turning to Jesus ushers in His Kingdom. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36)
We may not think it, but the battle is over! Theologians tell a story to illustrate how Christ’s triumph presently benefits our lives: Imagine a city under siege. The enemy that surrounds the city will not let anyone or anything leave. Supplies are running low, and the citizens are fearful. But in the dark of the night, a spy sneaks through the enemy lines. He has rushed to the city to tell the people that in another place the main enemy force has been defeated; the leaders have already surrendered. The people do not need to be afraid. It is only a matter of time until the besieging troops receive the news and lay down their weapons. Similarly, we may seem not to be surrounded by the forces of evil– disease, injustice, oppression, death. But the enemy has actually been defeated at Calvary. Things are not the way they seem to be. It is only a matter of time until it becomes clear to all that the battle is really over. (Mouw, Richard J. Uncommon Decency, pp.149-150).
I Peter 5:8 rings the alarm for us, when it says, “Your enemy the devil (evil) prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” It says, earlier in verse 8, be self-controlled and alert. What is happening in our nation today is a wake-up call for every serious believer, to stand strong, pray hard and without ceasing, and to stop the prowler in his tracks!
We need the Holy Spirit to be our Director, in all that we do! Spirit-filled believers need to make the difference in winning or losing the battle for life. Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:18. “Be filled with the Spirit”…meaning that we are to be “continuously filled”, or from the Greek original meaning, “be repeatedly filled.” A glass that is called filled when it is just up to the top is a misunderstanding of being filled. We know a glass of liquid is really filled when it overflows. Partial filling will not suffice when it comes to the power of the Holy Spirit. After our conversion to Jesus, we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit again and again for worship, service, and witness. (Acts 4:31-33). Pentecostals refer to this experience as being baptized in the Holy Spirit. We believe in being fully immersed in the waters of baptism to signify our acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. We also move on to be filled or immersed in the Holy Spirit in order to be prepared for our spiritual battle for life. Praising God in an unknown tongue, giving thanks and singing unto the Lord, being saturated with God’s Word, serving others, and doing what the Holy Spirit leads us to do, are all results, along with others, of being filled with the Spirit of God to overflowing! This dimension puts a song of praise in our hearts, as we speak to God with Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. (vs.19 Ephesians 5)
Be alert! Stand your ground! Remember the enemy’s remarks to Eve in Genesis 3:1, “has God indeed said”…as temptation overwhelmed her. The battle for life calls us back to Acts 2:42, where we find the early followers of Jesus, where it says, “and they continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
In this battle of life, we listen to Paul in Thessalonians 2:15, where clearly guides us; “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were once taught, whether by word or our epistle.”
2 Timothy 1:13: “Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.”
“If we want to win the battles for life, we must cling to what we know is true, and the one and only thing we know to be true, is what God says. The truth won’t always look true, won’t always feel true, won’t always seem true, but the truth will always be true.”(Faithlife)
AS WE MOVE FORWARD IN THIS BATTLE FOR LIFE, LET US KEEP IN MIND WE ARE SERVING SOMEONE WHO LOVES US!
KEEP IN MIND: GOD NEVER SAID THE WEAPONS WOULDN’T FORM, HE SAID THEY WOULDN’T PROSPER! –Spiritual Instagram
Be Prepared, Spiritual Warfare Surrounds us: