November 30, 2011

Never-ending War

When I became a Christian, I did not realize that I also enlisted in an army. There is a war going on, unseen yet nevertheless real and totally brutal. It started in heaven between God’s angelic beings and those others who fell into rebellion. It is now centered here on earth and all who align themselves with Jesus Christ are in the middle of it.
Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. (Revelation 12:7–9)
Spurgeon says that war always will rage because peace between good and evil is an impossibility. Even the very pretense of peace would be a triumph for the powers of darkness because this enemy delights in falsehood and anything fake.

I know that God’s angels are determined to fight evil. Jesus is also the dragon’s foe, active and vigorous to exterminate all ungodliness. But what about me? I was reborn to be a warrior, yet at times wonder if I recognize the battle or the enemy’s schemes. How often do I do things that are more on the side of the enemy than on the side of righteousness?

At the cross of Jesus Christ, my life changed. In my heart, I desire no truce with evil, yet the enemy is not only incessant, he spares no weapon, fair or foul. The well-know book, Screwtape Letters, describes how Satan and his demonic servant plot against Christians. Some of his plans are devious. If he can dupe us into selfish contentment (as opposed to the real kind), he has us. If he can make us think he is not active and leaving us alone, he has us. One of his most effective lies is to get people thinking that God doesn’t love us.

I am foolish to think I could serve God without opposition. Spurgeon says that the more zealous I am, the more certain I will be assailed by the myrmidons of hell. I can be lazy and apathetic, but my antagonist will never call a truce. He hates Jesus and His Body, the church. He would destroy all of us if he could. His servants are active to accuse, deceive and foil anything that God’s servants do to increase the kingdom of God and glorify His Son.

I once was puzzled that many senior Christians seem to retire from service and lose their zeal for God. It grieved me that some become sour, fearful, joyless or without enthusiasm for Christian ministry. However, now I understand. The relentless enemy takes advantage of aging. So easily he turns our focus from serving God to caring for our fading faculties. Again, he spares no weapon. Whatever he can use, he will use it to get God’s people to stop praying, stop sharing, stop doing anything in the name of the Lord.

Lord, the past few days have been particularly difficult. This time the enemy took advantage of my fatigue and magnified every problem to the point that I could not see You or even think You were at work. This is war, and I am not a strong soldier.

However, I do know the outcome. Your Word says that the great dragon will be cast out and forever destroyed. Jesus and all who serve Him will be victorious. This battle is more important than any physical war ever fought. Help me sharpen my sword and always wear the spiritual armor You gave me. May I stand guard, taking my place in this battle, well-protected by the shield of faith and all You provide, remembering that You have promised Satan will be trampled under my feet.

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