For most of us, we’ve read of wars in books or in the news and seen the havoc it wreaks, through documentaries and movies. People live in terror with no food and no water. Lives are on the line, and death is imminent. At the front, engaging in a fierce battle, soldiers strive to protect its nation’s citizens, at the same time, inflicting maximum casualties upon the other.
The battle may be for wealth, power, manpower or terrain, but there’s always the prospect of seizing something from one nation, for the benefit of the other. A country that cannot defend itself against its enemies will soon see its borders encroached and citizens harmed. The country must defend itself!
However, since most of us do not see war on a daily basis, we don’t realize its pains or the fight that it calls for. If we did, we would constantly be on guard.
This is true of our spiritual life. We do not realize that an intense conflict between the spiritual forces of Heaven and Hell takes place. Because we do not see this battle, we live in a false sense of security, and not armed.
We live like this until our forts are attacked and we realize we can no longer defend ourselves against the infernal enemy.
How do we a become a soldier of Christ and defend ourselves?
1. Arm yourselves:
Don’t this part lightly – one ought to arm himself fully!
‘Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes’ – Ephesians 6:11
Recognize that your battle is real, and arm yourself fully when you’re meeting your enemy. Protect your borders through the Word of God and prayer.
2. Assess your weakness:
Every nation has its weak points – a wide coastal area that allows the possibility for an attack from sea or a mountainous terrain that makes it difficult to spot insurgents. Such a nation ought to take added precaution on protecting these areas that are more vulnerable to attacks.
Likewise, our spirits too have flaws and the devil knows it. We have frailties through our addictions and our concupiscence. There are activities and situations where we find ourselves most vulnerable. Avoid these occasions of sin.
Are you an alcoholic? Then refrain from going to a pub. Are you addicted to the Internet? Then resist your urge to spend time on social media. Are you subjecting your senses to unspeakable vices? Walk away from those fleshly desires henceforth.
3. Strengthen from within:
Many a nation, though its protected from the outside, have fallen because of civil wars. A nation that’s divided against itself, can never stand.
We strengthen ourselves, through the Grace of Jesus Christ. Most people stop at just protecting their borders – that is, they just do the basics – “Worship on Sundays, Vices on other days”. Rather, grow in Grace and do this more and more.
‘…make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For it you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ – 2 Peter 1: 5-8
How can be lax, where we are exhorted to ‘make every effort’ and ‘possess these qualities in increasing measure’? We receive Grace through faith and we grow in that Grace when we submit to God’s power – that is, when we decrease and when He increases, when we surrender to His will and when we die to our own.
And last, fan into flame your precious faith!
Lukewarm souls grieve our Lord, because they do not trust in His mercies. They do not strive for the prize of Heaven but settle for the false pleasures of the flesh. They do not yearn for perfection, purity and holiness, but are pleased with mediocrity.
If God says that we ought to love Him without our whole heart, mind, strength and soul, we should not spare ourselves at all, but give everything for love of Him. Let’s do this more and more…remembering that we are fighting not a battle in this world, but to protect our souls, as a good soldier of Christ!