John 10:10 says “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”
That was this morning’s message from John Eldredge’s Daily Reading. He speaks of why Jesus would put the two concepts together in his book “Waking the Dead”, a book I heartily recommend.
My grandfather was a soldier involved in the D-Day landings in 1944. I don’t know the exact details as he never talked about it. In fact it wasn’t until after his death in 1988 that we discovered from one of his older friends from the war that he’d been involved in the landings themselves, not part of the general troop movement that followed it.
D-Day was the turning point of World War 2. With the successful invasion of the enemy territory victory became inevitable for the Allied forces.
Christianity has it’s own D-Day: Calvary’s Cross.
But like the war, the battle continues to rage fiercely around us. Jesus’s sacrifice has guaranteed our victory in this life and the next, but we must fight to hold it. In the First World War many troops lost their lives because the commanders of the troops stopped for breakfast on the beaches they had captured, giving the enemy a chance to regroup and repel the invasion.
We do the same. We accept salvation from hell – and I believe hell is a literal place as Jesus referred to it as such – but we don’t fight for the victory on this side of death.
I recently came close to losing my right foot as a result of not looking after it properly. I am affected by diabetes and as a result I don’t feel my feet any more. The shoes I’d worn were not a good fit, which I wasn’t aware of and by the time I realised my foot was badly infected. After over a month of treatment my foot is safe again, but I’ve got rid of the offending footware! Saving my foot has been a battle – one which still continues as the infection may have gone, but the wound site is still very much an open wound.
Something this episode with my foot has reminded me of is that I need to remember to actively fight to protect what is mine, whether it be my foot or anything that has been won for me spiritually by Christ’s Sacrifice – including the healing of my body from diabetes! My problem is that I don’t fight on an active level too much. I submit to God, but I don’t remember to actively resist the devil, and as a result I find myself making breakfast on the beach and getting into the position where I almost lose my foot. It wasn’t always like that.
I used to be more active in my Spiritual battles. I would fight passionately and vehemently for what God had provided, and I wouldn’t stop my pursuit until I received the prize satan was blocking me from receiving. Now I find I tire easily, and as a result I don’t push as hard as I used to. The consequence is that the enemy wins more battles in my life and the lives of my family, and I get more exhausted from the fight.
Faith is a war zone. If I remember this I fight with all my strength, resisting the lies of the enemy and pushing through until the victory promised has been secured so it can never be taken back. If I don’t, I lose ground and I lose heart.
At the moment I’m believing for a fresh start for my business. The battle has been hard, but we’ve been hugely blessed by funding coming in from very unexpected sources. We will be able to pay our bills and run for some time while the business gets its roots re-established after a time of winter where we were unable to work at all. The doors are opening, and God is moving mountains because we are submitting to Him and actively fighting against the enemy who would seek to steal this blessing from us. Every day we have the opportunity to quit. Every day something comes up which could force us to back down and give up. And every day we commit the project to God once more and tackle the issues until they yield and the door opens.
The trick is to ask for the wisdom to recognise when a door is closed because God closed it, and when it’s closed because the enemy is trying to hinder our receiving God’s Best. It’s often hard to distinguish between the two possibilities, which is why being actively engaged with God is so important.
We must remember to stay in touch with our great Commander.
This war is not one to be taken lightly. Our faith will be tested repeatedly and we will be beaten down time and again, but the key to victory is to keep getting up and fighting on.
And claiming the Victory in the War Zone we call walking by Faith.