As we have already seen in this devotion series, a spiritual battle is being waged in our world between good and evil, between right and wrong, between God and Satan. The Bible often uses the metaphors of military battle, fighting, and warfare to describe the real life journey of a Christian. Our call to be engaged in "Spiritual Warfare" is not optional – we must choose which side we are to fight on. Like with the War on Terror that has been valiantly waged following the evil attacks upon America on 9/11, believers must understand clearly that “no choice” (i.e. a decision to sit idle / disengaged on the sideline) is a choice that only aids our enemy, Satan and his Kingdom of Darkness! As a true child of God (Christian), we are - by God’s appointment - a soldier in the Lord’s Army of Righteousness. The Apostle Paul wrote, “As a good soldier of Christ Jesus you must endure your share of suffering (“hardship” NKJV).” (2 Timothy 2:3, CEV) Like soldiers throughout history, our orders are not always easy to follow and they often lead us directly into the crossfire of our enemy’s fiery bullets (“darts” Ephesians 6:16) which often entails suffering and at times, great hardship. Pastor / Teacher Dr. Ed Young shares that as a genuine follower of Christ, “You are under spiritual attack…in an all out spiritual war… as Satan does all he can to cause you spiritual defeat. Whether you realize it or not, you live in a spiritual war zone. It's a battle for your heart and soul. The Bible teaches that every Christian is under spiritual attack ... and Satan, as the ruler of this world, is constantly seeking the spiritual demise of every Christian.” The Apostle Paul shares that Christians need to take close heed to the spiritual battles of our time and courageously engage in this faith-fought war, “…fight well in the Lord’s battles. Cling to your faith in Christ” (1 Timothy 1:18b-19a, NLT) Do you sense the call of honor to bravely serve in the Lord’s Army? Some of you do – and you have likely experienced many victories as a result of your obedience to our Spiritual Commander-in-Chief. Others are hiding in their self-made foxholes of fear – so frozen that they can neither fight nor run, so they just sit motionless - hoping for some type of ceasefire so that they could retreat farther away from the battlefields. The reality is this - the enemy's fiery darts won’t stop trying to connect to their intended target (YOU and I); there will not be any ceasefire on this side of heaven, and the spiritual war will only continue to escalate in intensity and cost (i.e. sacrifice) until the enemy is dealt his final prophetic blow of defeat (Revelation 20:1-15). Pastor and Evangelist Greg Laurie shares the only option for a good Christian soldier, “It's time (for Christians) to get out of those foxholes. It's time to dust off your clothes, shine up your armor, and sharpen your sword. Because, like it or not, you have been drafted into God's service.” (“Ready for Battle,” 3.21.2009) There will surely be times in this on-going spiritual war when we will feel battle weary, lonely and even a sense of abandonment when many of our fellow comrades in arms choose to retreat. Despite these battle effects, we can still take comfort in knowing that there will always be the One that will be standing by our side, never abandoning nor leaving us to fight these battles alone. Hear the encouraging words of promise and strength shared with us in Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them (your enemies), for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you." 1 Samuel 12:22 similarly declares, “God, simply because of who He is, is not going to walk off and leave His people.” (The Message) As soldiers of Christ, we can rest assured that our Spiritual Commander-in-Chief is with us in every battle to which He calls to engage in, “For the LORD your God is the One who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory." (Deuteronomy 20:4) A quick assessment of the spiritual battlefield conditions today find sporadic victories for the God’s Kingdom, yet there are mounting losses / casualties which have been inflicted by the enemy and his demonic forces as they continue their advance into territory once firmly held by God’s Church (His Soldiers of Light). But take comfort in His Words that the battle is far from over, and that victories lie ahead for those who endure as good soldiers, “You are my chosen servant. I haven't forgotten you. Don't be afraid. I am with you. Don't tremble with fear. I am your God. I will make you strong, as I protect you with My arm and give you victories.” (Isaiah 41:9b-10) Now for our Lord, and for the hearts and souls of families in our community and throughout the world, let us choose to enter into this Spiritual Battle with the promise of God’s power, presence and peace! Let's go and "fight the good fight of faith!" (1 Timothy 6:12) …Selah!
Today's Spirit-led video by CCM artist Matt Redman can be viewed by clicking on his song, "You Never Let Go."
Following the Lord's leading, I have once again added the lyrics below to today's CCM song, "You Never Let Go" sung by Matt Redman ... nJoy & allow Christ to encourage you for the battles ahead!
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death / Your perfect love is casting out fear / And even when I'm caught in the middle of the storms of this life / I won't turn back I know you are near / And I will fear no evil / For my God is with me / And if my God is with me / Whom then shall I fear? / Whom then shall I fear? / (Chorus:) Oh no, You never let go / Through the calm and through the storm / Oh no, You never let go / In every high and every low / Oh no, You never let go / Lord, You never let go of me / And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on / A glorious light beyond all compare / And there will be an end to these troubles / But until that day comes / We'll live to know You here on the earth / (Chorus) Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on / And there will be an end to these troubles / But until that day comes / Still I will praise You, still I will praise You"