Thursday, February 7, 2013

Battle Ready

But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm. Exodus 14:13-14

Be strong and courageous! Don’t be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria or his mighty army, for there is a power far greater on our side! He may have a great army, but they are merely men. We have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles for us! 2 Chron 32:7-8
I love these verses because they present a view of God we seldom consider. He is our rescuer and our knight in shining armor. He promises to fight for us in the battles we face. I’ve been asked, “What does that mean, He will fight for you? My friend has incurable cancer-will God heal him?” I believe that God is capable of resurrecting the dead, so healing from cancer is clearly within His purview. However, I think this expectation does not consider life from an eternal perspective. God is more concerned with our character than our comfort. He is more concerned about making our eternal life beautiful than making this short exile we have in this world easy.

God is indeed fighting for you. Our battle is not against physical opponents but against the evil authorities and powers of the unseen. Satan is our enemy and he prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. His goal is twofold: to prevent people from knowing Jesus and to render ineffective those who already know Him. Jesus has already defeated Satan by the power of the cross. But Satan is still able to deceive and to harass.

I think one of Satan’s favorite strategies is to steal our contentment. It seems like inconsequential, but it is not. When we are discontent, it dims our joy, our strength and our witness. The Bible has a lot to say on the subject. We are told to do everything without complaining and arguing so that no one can criticize us and so that we shine like a bright light in this dark world. (Phil 2:14-15) Paul says that he learned how to be content with whatever his condition. The word translated “content” in this verse means “self-sufficient” but I would translate it “God is sufficient.” (Phil 4:11-12) His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3)

So we are engaged in a battle with Satan for contentment. Do not give up; do not give in. Sometimes it feels like we are all alone in our struggle and the odds are against us. This is where faith steps in. God has provided us with everything we need to wage this war. We will fill our minds with truth and reject Satan’s lies. We will put our trust in the effectiveness of Christ to make us righteous. As far as it depends on us, we will live in peace. We will have faith, even when we cannot see the outcome. And we will take up the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. (Eph 6:10-17) As if that was not enough, consider this description of spiritual warfare intermingling with physical.


When the servant of the man of God got up early the next morning and went outside, there were troops, horses, and chariots everywhere. “Oh, sir, what will we do now?” the young man cried to Elisha.
“Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.  2 Kings 6:15-17