Amongst Jesus’ modern day disciples, it seems that our understanding of discipline has somewhat given in to the ease of Western living, so as soon as a storm hits, some of us aren’t quite sure what to make of it. Then there are those who realise they are in a battle but they have done all they know to do, so perseverance is the only option left.
Men who sit in the trenches of war understand that they are indeed in a battle. They have many hours to feel the cramping in their legs as they sit for hours on end with the cold and wet reality that war can occur at any time, even in the middle of winter and when it comes, who knows when it will end? They are surrounded by death, brothers who have fallen in battle and even some who couldn’t take it any longer and took their own life.
What kind of soldier are you? There is no doubt that we are in a war. The apostle Paul instructs Christians to wage war against the sin in themselves (Romans 6) and to wage war against the evil one (Ephesians 6:10-18).
Ephesians 6:10-12 declares, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
This text teaches some crucial truths: we can only be strong in the Lord’s power, it is God’s armour that protects us, and our battle is against spiritual forces of evil in the world.
Ephesians 6:13-18 gives a description of the spiritual armour God gives us. We are to stand firm with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, and by praying in the Spirit. What do these pieces of spiritual armour represent in spiritual warfare? We are to speak the truth against Satan’s lies. We are to rest in the fact that we are declared righteous because of Christ’s sacrifice for us. We are to proclaim the gospel no matter how much resistance we receive. We are not to waver in our faith, no matter how strongly we are attacked. Our ultimate defence is the assurance we have of our salvation, an assurance that no spiritual force can take away. Our offensive weapon is the Word of God, not our own opinions and feelings. We are to follow Jesus’ example in recognising that some spiritual victories are only possible through prayer.
We must also discipline our mind. Casting down imaginations and opinions – even our own (2 Corinthians 10:5) and ‘whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.’ Philippians 4:8
The Lord Jesus will help us to persevere through trials and tribulations, for His strength is made perfect in weakness. He is the One who gives grace to the humble.
James 1:12 ‘Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.’
Romans 5:3-5 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
1 Chronicles 16:11 ‘Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!’
Revelation 3:11 ‘I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.’
Brothers and sisters, cast your cares upon Him. Jesus has warned that it will be tough and that we will need to persevere until the end. He will give us the grace that we need to make it to the end. Let us remain humble before Him, seeking Him in every way; through prayer, reading His Word, praising Him through trials and never growing weary of doing good.
Lord, any time that we forget, remind us that we are in a war and that we must do all we know to do, then stand.
— By Judah Ayling