Friday, January 30, 2009

Are You in the Battle

One of the most dramatic and critical military maneuvers in the twentieth century occurred on the beaches of Normandy during World War II. On June 6, 1944, American soldiers stormed the shoreline, machine guns armed by Nazi soldiers blazing in their faces. With buddies falling all round, bullets pinging off their helmets, it would have been easy to turn and run. But no one did, and more than three thousand soldiers of the first and twenty-ninth divisions died in the mission. Two things kept them fighting. The first probably was the fear that the commanding officer would have them shot for desertion. The greater motivation, though, was knowing that they were fighting for a worthy cause, the preservation of the free world. Many soldiers have kept their courage in the midst of battle not because they fear the punishment of desertion, but because the believed in what the war was all about. For the Christian, though, things are turned around. First, you know you will never be shot for desertion. If you lose your courage, the Spirit of God will draw you back, restore you, and strengthen you so that you eventually learn to face your foe, unafraid. Second, in spiritual warfare you're fighting not just for America or against the Nazis, but in the greatest battle in world history: against forces of darkness in heavenly places. It's a personal battle that calls for your utmost every day. It's a heroic battle, because you are engaged in performing heroic acts every day. And it's a consequential battle, for it's part of God's plan for history. Perhaps the greatest difference in a spiritual battle, however, is in the risks and the outcome. For the America soldier in World War II, the risk was great-to his life and the lives of those around him. In addition, he didn't know whether this war would end in defeat and destruction or victory and honor. For the Christian, however, these two things are already decided. No one loses his life; instead each believer gains it, even if he dies in the process. More importantly, the war has been won! Jesus won it at the Cross. (Many verses declare this victory; for example, see 1 Corinthians 15:54-57; Hebrews 2:14; Revelation 5:9-10). We're just cleaning up the mess at the moment, until He comes to right everything at the end. In that sense, the suspense is less: We still know we're part of the winning team, that our efforts are never in vain, and that ultimately our enemy, even if he fells us now, will be felled himself in the end. This makes this war utterly worth entering and fighting with all you're worth. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

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