Scripture often talks about the battle that Christians will engage in while on this Earth. Perhaps the most well-known passage is in Ephesians 6:10-20 when Paul writes about putting on the armor of God in order to stand strong in God. However, this is not the only place where wartime analogies are used. In I Timothy 6:12, Timothy (and by extension, us) is exhorted to “fight the good fight.” Scripture also makes it clear that there is an enemy (Eph. 6:12, I Peter 5:8), and that this enemy seeks to destroy (John 10:10). The Christian life is far from an easy one; there is ongoing engagement as we fight to bring glory to the Lord.
All of this battle talk can leave one feeling exhausted, as can engaging in the front-line offense. While we may know that we are commanded to not grow weary of doing good (Gal. 6:9), we may wonder how long we can keep up the fight. How long can we resist the temptations of the flesh (See Mt. 6:41, Ja. 1:12)? How long can we choose to repay evil with good (I Thess. 5:15)? The battle can seem long and relentless, and we may wonder whether we can last until the end.
As we ponder this though there are at least two things that should give us encouragement. The first is that God has equipped us to do the things that He has called us to do (Eph. 2:10, 2 Tim. 3:17). In other words, if God has called us to fight, He has given us what we need in order to successfully do so. The battle may be hard and it may be long, but we do not fight alone. It is His power at work within us that enables us to be “more than conquerors” (Rom. 8:37). If we are fighting in our own strength, we are likely to fail. If we are fighting in His, we can have confidence of the victory that awaits.
Secondly, we must engage in the fight with the knowledge that a cease fire is coming. There will be no enemy in Heaven (See Rev. 12:12) , just like there will be no pain and no tears (See Rev. 21:4). The fight will be over. We will no longer struggle with the things of this world, but our entire lives will be focused on that which they were created for – bringing glory to our God and King. In addition, we can, and should, engage vigorously in the battle now, because we know that one day the fight will cease – and the whole Earth will be surrendered to its Creator.
Therefore, the question that penetrates our hearts shouldn’t be “how long will the battle last?” as we know that war will no longer be waged. Instead, it should be “will I fight faithfully today?; will I persevere knowing that one day that battle will be over?”
May we resolve in our hearts to daily answer “yes.”