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Monday, April 28, 2008

Are you in the Battle? (Part 1)

[Followup: May 1: After reading this post, my dad recommended I look up an 1836 hymn by Charlotte Elliott (author of "Just as I am"). The words, written more than 170 years ago, are powerful. Click "Read More..." at the bottom of this post to read it.]

A phrase that has come back to me again and again recently is "in the battle."

Viewing the Christian life as a battle is not original; it comes from the Bible. It is also not a battle against people. On the contrary, it is a battle for people. In fact, it is a battle in which we fight for our enemies (!) - in love.

Can you imagine fighting in a battle for your enemies and your comrades at the same time? So who is there left to fight? The answer lies in Epehesians 6:12. It says, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [i.e., people], 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." - Ephesians 6:12

This verse--Ephesians 6:12--is framed by the following passage:
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. (11) Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. ... (13) Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (14) Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, (15) and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. (16) In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (17) Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (18) And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." - Ephesians 6:10;12-18
Here are some more verses about the battle we have been called to fight.
"The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies." - Psalm 18:2

"The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them." - Psalm 34:7

"The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace." Exodus 14:14
A prayer: Lord, thank you for winning the battle at the cross. Thank you for winning the battle for everyone - for paying for the sin of the whole world. And although the war has been won, we know that you have called us to fight in the battle for people and for your glory. Give us grace, truth, love and wisdom. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Christian, seek not yet repose
A Hymn by Charlotte Elliott, 1836

Christian! seek not yet repose,
Cast thy dreams of ease away
thou art in the midst of foes;
watch and pray.

Principalities and powers,
mustering their unseen array,
wait for thy unguarded hours;
watch and pray.

Gird thy heavenly armor on,
wear it ever night and day;
ambushed lies the evil one;
watch and pray.

Hear the victors who o'ercame;
still they mark each warrior's way;
all with one clear voice exclaim,
watch and pray.

Hear, above all, hear thy Lord,
him thou lovest to obey;
hide within thy heart his word,
watch and pray.

Watch, as if on that alone
hung the issue of the day;
pray that help may be sent down;
watch and pray.

Words: Charlotte Elliott, 1836; Music: Morgenglanz der Ewigkeit, Sentinel, Vigilate; Meter: 77 73
Additional to the below, click the following link for *non-Blogger* Comments:

Plus, 1 *Blogger* Comments:

Blogger Laurel Kriegler said...

I find this an extremely interesting perspective (have never thought of it quite that way before) - that we are standing alongside all other people in this world and fighting FOR and WITH them for victory, through Jesus.

That Hymn to is very challenging, and thanks for looking it up and sharing it. I need to come back here often, just to read that hymn and be reminded of it.

1:59 PM  

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