I was talking with some buddies the other day about one of them is inviting his son into the “larger story” by passing along to him “3 eternal truths”. I wrote last time about “Truth #1 – Things are not what they seem“. Today I’m offering some thoughts on Truth #2 — You were born into a world at war.
Truth #2: You were born into a world at war
We can look around and see just how true this is. There are wars raging around the globe. People are oppressed and victimized in every space on earth. And closer to home, marriages are falling apart all around us. Good, deep friendships are hard to come by. And , addiction of all kinds eat away at our souls.
Somehow we forget. Even with all we see around us, somehow we forget it when it comes to our daily lives. We forget this — we have an enemy. (1 Pet 5:8; 2 Cor 11:14; John 10:10; Luke 10:18; 2 Cor 4:4; Rev 12:9; and on and on.) And, I’m not talking about a mythical being or fairy tale. I’m also not talking about a metaphorical idea of evil encountered in our struggles with our addictions or problems. No, I’m talking about a real entity. The bible calls him, “satan”, the “devil”. We have a very real, very cunning enemy who actively, intentionally, decisively, purposefully, vindictively, and cruelly hunts us down.
To forget this leaves us blaming everything bad in our lives on ourselves… or on God.
To deny this leaves us constantly bewildered at the barrage of problems, pain, loss, guilt, and shame.
But…To remember this, empowers us. It strengthens our efforts to fight back (James 4:7) and in doing so we can be victorious.
I’ll never forget a lesson I learned from the TV series, “Star Trek Next Generation”. The BORG (an evil race hell-bent on “assimilating” all of humanity) had begun to ravage the known universe, destroying everything in their path. And at each encounter they would repeat their ominous, infamous line, “Resistance if futile!” Oh how our enemy would like us to believe this is true. But it is a lie — resistance is possible. It is critical. And if we will resist, we will win!
Know this — every time you resist, you take ground back from the enemy.
When you’re discouraged that life isn’t how it ‘should’ be, or not how you want it to be, when you’re not ‘far enough along’, when things aren’t going right — resist the urge to give up. Resist hopelessness. Resist defeat. Resist loss of heart. Resist fear. Resist discouragement. Stand your ground (1 Cor 16:13)
If we would endeavor, like men of courage, to stand in the battle, surely we would feel the favorable assistance of God from heaven. For he who giveth us occasion to fight, to the end we may get the victory, is ready to succor those that fight manfully, and do trust his grace. ~ Thomas A Kempis 1380
So, we resist bitterness – and that action invites forgiveness. We resist gossip – and it invites a fresh start. We resist the urge for revenge – and it leaves the door open for reconciliation. We resist depression – and we invite hope. We resist the lies that come into our heads – and we leave room for the truth. Even when you feel like you’re not moving forward, when you feel you have no strength to resist — to simply stand and hold your ground keeps the enemy at bay. And by that simple act, generations will feel its effect.
Know your enemy.
In all the hassles and struggles and arguments and confusion, we remember this — we have an enemy — it is not our spouse, not the friend who said hurtful things, not our coworkers, not some institution, not ourselves. Our true enemy is the one who lives to put his evil spin on the hurt in order to harden us… puts his spin on the pain in order to distance us from our hearts… has a hand in our disappointments in order to kill our desires… whispers in our ear to fan the flames of blame and shame in order to distance us from each other. And so we must resist not each other, but the source of our struggle. We resist… and we take back the stolen ground.
And, most importantly, remember this — there is a hero!
As in all great stories where there is an enemy and a plot to destroy… and when all seems hopeless… there is a rescue… and there is a rescuer. It is true of our story, too. We have a rescuer — a Hero. Jesus has come to stand by us, to help us, to reclaim the ground taken from us (Joel 2:25; Jer 29:11; Jn 10:10, 1 Cor 15:57). Everything hinges on this — He is our rescue — He is our source of Life. He is our source of strength.
Of all things le us avoid the false refuge of a weary collapse, a hopeless yielding to things as they are… he has the victory who, in the midst of pain and weakness, cries out… for strength to fight; for more power; more consciousness of being; more God in him. ~George MacDonald – 1886
Is this truth new to you, or does this serve as a timely reminder?
Is there something you’ve read today that you might need to ponder a few minutes more?
Where might you change how you’re approaching life or struggles or relationships based on what you’ve just read?
Fighting the good fight,
Jesus, help me remember this truth. Strengthen me to stand my ground. Really, I just give in too often, I give up too quickly and I give way to the enemy — I give in to despair and worry and fear and (as MacDonald says) “a hopeless yielding to things as they are.” Remind me often of your involvement in my life. Surround me with men who will fight alongside me. Men who are willing to stand beside me, encourage each other, and walk through the crap, together, reminding each other to stand strong — that we are not alone! Help me to take the fight to the right people and places. Help me discern where the attacks are coming from so I don’t just erupt at the people around me. Instead, help me focus my resistance in the right places – at the true enemy. Thank you. You are my best ally. I’m so grateful for your strength. And so, I take my stand against my enemies. I refuse to believe hopeless, fearful, timid, depressing thoughts. Instead, I believe my Father has just the opposite in His heart for me. I resist the urge to let the opinions of others and my tendency toward comparison to control me, diminish me, and dishearten me. Instead, I choose to believe my value in Jesus and I will get my validation from Him. I bring the full work of Jesus over my heart, my life, my mind, and everything and everyone in my kingdom and domain.