Fighting The Good Fight

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. – 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.

Matthew Green with Reuters writes, “The U.S. Marine’s rifle was pointing straight at my chest. ‘I was just about to shoot you,’ whispered the figure, suddenly realizing I was a reporter, and not an Iraqi soldier, stumbling out of the shadows of the moonlit desert. For both, it was a nerve-racking moment.” The war in Iraq has seen attacks by Iraqi forces dressed in civilian clothing and even in American and British uniforms. Allied soldiers have suffered casualties when those surrendering suddenly attack. Very little trust remains of the possibility of the enemy observing the norms of civilized warfare. The U. S. Marines have an operating maxim, which says, “Be professional, be polite, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.”

As Christians we too are in a war. In this spiritual war the enemy does not fight according to our rules but every dirty, evil, lowdown trick is in the enemies’ constantly evolving war plan. However, we are not to use the weapons of the physical world to prosecute this spiritual war. It is tempting for us to have the same operating maxim as the U.S. Marines especially when we have experienced personally some the tricks of the agents of the enemy. The enemy will sometimes appear to be our friend, or even one of us as the apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.”

So how are we as children of God to respond to this insidious and totally evil enemy? We must have the proper attitude and weapons. To prepare for our continual, daily, and nightly warfare we must begin by putting on Christ. We must be clothed with the attitude, and perspective of our Lord Jesus. We should “…put on the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14a).” We are also to put on the full armor of God as the Bible states with some detail, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:11-12).”

The armor of God includes truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. As we move forward in battle we are to be in constant prayer as Paul says, “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit (Ephesians 6:18a).” As we conduct the battle we are to remember to, “…walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy (Romans 13:13).” Because the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Spirit (Romans 5:5) we must remember that, “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).” We are to crucify the flesh and its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24) and allow the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control – Galatians 5:22-23a) to show forth in our lives through our speech and actions.

The war in which we are called upon to fight is most difficult and as a final exhortation remember the words of the apostle Paul who says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21),” and let us, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses (1 Timothy 6:12).” In the words of President Bush “let us stay on the path mile by mile…all the way to victory!”

(We are in a spiritual war and we must fight the good fight.)

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