Life is a Battle
1459 words, read time approx 4-5 min
It seems like I’ve unintentionally started to write a new series of articles on what life is all about. The first article “The Brevity of Life” stemmed from the deaths of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett. This article discussed some of the ways we need to live in light of the fact that life is so short. Then two weeks ago, I wrote “The Bittersweet Nature of Life” which spoke of how life on this side of heaven has its ups and downs, seasons of blessing and times of frustration and pain.
Since my last writing, I have come across several people who are struggling emotionally and spiritually. I recently met two government co-workers in an airport who were returning from an assignment of rescuing a children out of a dangerous home life. They confessed they felt weary and discouraged. A friend of mine sent me a text message that said he was “fighting some personal demons”. I myself have had some challenges of feeling discouraged and downcast in my spirit. These incidents have inspired me to write a third article to teach yet another biblical explanation and understanding of this life. Life is a battle!
It would be difficult for any Bible student to dismiss the fact that life is a battle. The battle starts in book of Genesis in the Garden of Eden where Satan connives and deceives Eve to take and eat of the forbidden fruit. The battle ends in the book of Revelation with Jesus returning from heaven to conquer and defeat Satan and his foes. In between these two earth-shattering battles one can’t help but notice the constant battle that takes place in the lives of God’s people both in the Old and New Testaments.
Life is a battle.
I believe the clearest explanation of this battle comes from the Apostle Paul when he wrote to the church in Ephesus. So in this article, I’d like to break down some key principles from this passage to not only confirm that life is a battle, but teach you how to find victory in your own personal struggles.
The ability to win the battle can only be found “in the Lord”
“ Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” (Ephesians 6:10) The strength and power we need to win the battle of this life can only be found “in the Lord”. Our victory is not found in the power of positive thinking or any other humanistic endeavor of our own. We are completely dependent upon Christ to have the victory we need in the battle of life.
God has equipped us to win the battle
Trying to win the battle we face without putting on the appropriate equipment would be like trying to play football without a helmet or shoulder pads. We will not only face defeat, will get hurt and bruised along the way. Paul instructs us to put on God’s equipment, the whole armor of God, so that we may be able to stand victorious. “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11)
The battle we face is against spiritual forces
In a society that reeks with materialism (the idea everything that exists is material) and naturalism (the philosophy that teaches everything is a result of nature causes), it is countercultural to believe that this world is governed and subject to spiritual forces of good and evil. Ignoring the spiritual dynamics around us, our society wants us to believe that the solution to every problem can be found in by changing humanity (Humanism). But the Bible presents a different reality. The battle we face is not one of people, but ultimately one of spiritual forces of evil. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
I would venture to say that anyone who denies the spiritual reality of evil has been tricked and duped by the forces of evil they deny! Satan would love for us to believe that he’s just a fairytale with red horns and a pitch fork or worse yet a figment of our imagination. Satan and his cohorts, fallen angels, yes demons are very real and powerful beings. Secondly we must realize that our battle is not against people, but our battle is for people. God’s mission is to save all mankind while the enemy seeks to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10)
The battle belongs to God, not us
“Therefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13) We are required to put on God’s armor through prayer, but we are not required to win the battle ourselves. The battle is the Lord’s. He is our conquering king, our defender and our strongtower. We simply need to stand behind Him and upon His Word knowing that He will bring about the victory. The concept of standing to see God’s victory was also present in the Old Testament. “And Moses said unto the people, Fear not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you today: for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you shall see them again no more forever.” (Exodus 14:13) “You shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand you still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.” (2 Chronicles 20:17)
We have been given spiritual weapons of warfare
“Stand therefore, having your loins girded about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:14-17)
I’ve heard more than one sermon and read more than one book that has tried to explain the different pieces of armor we are to put on in fighting this battle. Some of these explanations have been better than others, but none of them have been identical. I don’t want to try and explain exactly what the breastplate of righteousness or the helmet of salvation are although I have my own suspicions. Instead, I’d like to simply urge you to daily put each piece of the armor on through prayer.
We must always stay connected to our commanding officer through prayer
We have an enemy who desires to discourage and defeat us on every level through lies and deception. Much of the battle we face takes place in the thoughts and feelings of our minds and hearts. I like the way Bruce Wilkinson describes the emotional turmoil we feel when under a “spiritual attack” of Satan.
You’ll feel overwhelmed, unworthy, confused, distracted, and full of doubt; you’ll want to quit; you’ll feel like you’re the wrong person for the job; you may even find yourself saying, “I’d rather just die.”1
Our enemy wants to keep us disconnected from God, the source of our victory. That is why it is essential to keep the lines of communication open with our commanding officer throughout the day. We can continually lift up our hearts to the Lord “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thus with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:18)
We must go on the offensive by doing the work of the Lord, spreading His Word
“And (pray) for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that in this I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” (Ephesians 6:19-20)
We must remember that the distractions and deception the enemy throws our way is for the ultimate purpose of hindering the advancement of the gospel. We are not to shrink back and live our lives in a cave of unbelief and fear. Instead we are to move forward in the advancement of the gospel spreading God’s word to a lost and dying generation of people around us and praying for those who are doing great work for the Lord, knowing they are on the front lines of a very real battle. Amen.