THE GREAT BATTLE
The Bible, from first to last, deals with the struggle between conflicting concepts. The battle lines are drawn between the following points:
Right and Wrong
Truth and Error
Darkness and Light
Heaven and Hell
God and Satan.
In the arena of carnality versus spirituality, the tremendous contrast makes it clear that it will not be easy to maintain integrity and honor before the eyes of our Creator. Satan has a much larger following because it takes valor and courageous character to be victorious over the schemes of the devil: "Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (Eph. 6:10,11). The "devices of Satan," as Paul puts it in 2 Cor. 2:11, are clever and cunning and most attractive to worldly people. To be a sincere disciple of Christ takes fortitude in the midst of glamorous sinfulness.
Truth Never Dies: Amos ran into a foe of heaven in the high priest which is mentioned in Amos 7. If Satan ever had a valuable servant, it was that spineless character who invited the fearless prophet to leave Israel and go elsewhere to preach. Sounds familiar, does it not? According to Ezk. 34 and Acts 20:28-32, elders over the house of God can be some of the devil's greatest contributors. How sad it is to contemplate that those who should assist the Saviour actually, at least at times, oppose His precious work.
Preachers who refuse to boldly preach the Word (Acts 14:1-3), and "Speak as the oracles of God" (1 Pet. 4:11) do not serve the Lord. Such men who should speak for Christ and are afraid to rebuke error (Phil. 1:17), serve the devil while pretending to be soldiers of Christ. When the final Day of Judgment peals forth, their compromising spirit will be exposed! Truth never dies, but those who refuse to embrace and promote the truth certainly will! Let us ever strive to serve faithfully Him Who is Truth (Jno. 14:6).
The Victory Is Ours In Christ: Let us never allow any room in our lives for the enemy of righteousness to launch his evil deeds. "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil" (Eph. 4:26,27). Rather, let us always resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (Jas. 4:7). Not only that, it will also cause his friends to tremble (Jas. 2: 19).
The fight is on, O Christian soldiers,
And face to face in stern array,
His banner streaming, the armor gleaming,
The right and wrong engage today.
Satan and his servants need to be constantly aware of the fact that they will not win. The battle is pitched, and we are ready! The apostle Paul encourages us: "Being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6). Another great passage of genuine hope is 2 Cor. 2:14, "But thanks be unto God, who always leadeth us in triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest through us the savor of his knowledge in every place."
Satan cannot win, his final defeat is certan: "And the great dragon was cast down, the old serpent, he that is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world; he was cast down to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him... And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and they love not their life even unto death" (Rev. 12:9-11). Satan may appear to be an awesom foe, but we have the Word of God and the blood of Jesus Christ to thwart the diabolical schemes of hell!
The Christian Armor: The Bible tells us: "Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil...Wherefore take up the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breast plate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; withal taking up the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God" (Eph. 6:10-17).
When we use this Christian armor properly, the devil can never win. We have the ability to resist Satan (Jas. 4:7). We are able to "fight the good fight of faith" and can "lay hold on eternal life" (1Tim. 6:12). A powerful hymn offers a challenge to be strong and valiant in battle:
Under the standard exalted and royal,
Strong in Thy strength we will battle for thee.
Over our will and affections victorious,
Freely surrendered and wholly thine own!
Yes, in Christ, we surrender to win!
In Christ, Obedience Is Not An Option: Sadly, many believe that we can serve any way we choose, and then only when it is convenient to do so. However, the Bible instructs us as to the nature of acceptable service and genuine loyalty. Jesus said, "Why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" (Lk. 6:46). As Mary told the servants at the wedding feast, "Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it" (Jno. 2:5). If we would be servants of Jesus Christ, we must "obey from the heart" (Rom. 6:17) what He tells us to do. The burning question of Rom. 4:3 is clear indeed: "What saith the Scripture?" So, how shall we serve the Lord in this life?
We Will Serve The Lord ---:
Gladly: It is a joy, not a burden (1 Jno. 5:3).
Loyally: Being true to God is the epitome of dedication (Rom. 14: 17).
Eternally: Mark 10:30 ties this life to the world beyond in serving the Savior.
Prayerfully: Rev. 8:4,5 lets us know that heaven hears our petitions and gratitude.
Scripturally: We must serve in harmony with truth and obedience 1 Jno. 5:4.
Personally: Since Judgement is individual, so is our service to God (Rom. 14:12).
Gratefully: In all we do, say or think, we should be guided by thankfulnes (Phil. 4:6).
True Service Is Based On Real Trust: Throughout the Scriptures, we can find noble principles that guide our lives successfully. These eternal truths bolster and encourage our decisions and destiny. Such powerful points strengthen our resolve and enlighten our days as pilgrims on our way through foreign territory to the beautiful home of the soul. When we learn to put our ultimate trust in the One who made all things (Prov. 3:5-7), we will have proper direction in our lives. That path that leads to glory may seem paradoxical, but it is nevertheless worth the struggle and heartache: I asked for health, that I might achieve. I was made weak, that I might do better things.
Paul prayed to the Lord about his "thorn in the flesh," and was told: "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my power is made perfect in weakness...Wherefore I take pleasure in weakness, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong" (2 Cor. 12:9,10). It has been well-stated, "Courage is fear that has said its prayers." With steadfast loyalty, we receive the necessary peace from God to see us through the darkest hour and the loneliest day (Psa. 91:15).
God's Assurance Of His Providence: One of the foremost principles of the Bible is the providence of the Almighty. The psalmist makes it clear, "They came upon me in the day of my calamity; but Jehovah was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; He delivered me, because He delighted in me" (Psa. 18:18,19). Daniel declared, "There is a God in heaven" (Dan. 2:28), and that faith guided his life. God's promise is sure, "I will in no wise fail thee, neither will I in any wise forsake thee" (Heb. 13:5). He gives us every material blessing we have (Jas. 1:17), and "in Christ" He also gives us all spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3). God grants us comfort (2 Cor. 1:3), protection (1 Cor. 10:13) and joy in believing (Rom. 15:13). Tennyson wrote: "More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.
God Is Our Refuge: "God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble...Jehovah is my light and my salvation Whom shall I fear? Jehovah is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psa. 46:1; 27:1). God will "guide us continually" (Isa. 58:11) and supply all of our needs (Phil. 4:19). May we never overlook the demands and rewards of genuine Christianity found in Deut. 3:22 and 2 Chron. 15:7, "You must not fear them, for the Lord your God Himself fights for you...But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded."
When we obey the command of 1 Pet. 5:8,9, we become dead to sin and alive unto God: "Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour, whom withstand stedfast in your faith." Though our weapons as Christians are not carnal, they "are mighty before God" (2 Cor. 10:3-5) and cause the demons in hell to tremble (Jas. 2:19). Christ entered "the strong man's house" and spoiled his goods (Mk. 3;27). Sin should never have dominion over us again, for we have "died to sin" and now "live unto righteousness" (Rom. 6:11; 1 Pet. 2:24). As the Lord emphatically declares, "We are more than conquerors" (Rom. 8:37).
By Johnny Ramsey in Gospel Minutes, Vol. 52, No. 35, August 29, 2003.
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