The Christian life is a warfare. The believer has to contend for truth, for the honor of his Lord — yes, for his very spiritual life! He must fight all the way to Heaven. Young believers are apt to be self-confident. They think more highly of themselves, than they ought to think. To them may be applied the words of Ahab to Benhadad, "One who puts on his armor — should not boast like one who takes it off!" 1 Kings 20:11. This appears to have been a proverb in Israel, and it is a very wise one. Christian, let us look at it, and consider.
OUR WARFARE. We are the soldiers of the cross. We voluntarily enlisted into the army of the Savior.
We are sworn to do battle with SIN — all sin. With sin within us — mortifying it, crucifying it, and seeking its death. With sin without us — endeavoring to conquer or escape from it. Our motto is, "No peace with sin!"
We are in deadly conflict with SATAN, and with all who are in league with him. We must conquer — or be conquered. We must overcome — or be overcome. To resist Satan, to strive against sin — is our daily business! Another of our mottos is, "No compromise with Satan!"
We have also to overcome the WORLD. It is the enemy of God. It murdered the Savior. It is still in determined opposition to him. We must separate from it. Walk contrary to it. Be determined never to be ensnared or entangled by it. Another of our mottoes is, "Not of the world!"
Here then is work for us. Enough . . .
to call forth all our courage,
to employ all our skill, and
to engage all our strength!
Let us look at OUR AMOR AND WEAPONS.
Truth, the truth of the gospel; and sincere attachment to the Savior — is the belt that strengthens our loins.
right-heartedness in God's cause, and
the perfect obedience of the Son of God placed to our account
— defends the conscience and the heart.
The peace and pleasure which flows from the gospel, prepares us to walk in the roughest road — yes, to run in the way of God's commandments.
The hope of salvation protects the understanding, as the helmet defends the head.
With the shield of faith we catch and extinguish all the fiery darts of the devil.
With the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, we cut down all that would oppose our progress, or cause us to fall.
And using all-prayer, we draw down supplies from
above, so that we may not only conquer every foe — but Be more than
conquerors through him that loved us.
THE CAUTION. Boast not — young man, fresh recruit. In your new regimentals, and new armor, you may be tempted to do so — but remember the enemy is to be met, to be faced, to be overcome — before you will have cause for boasting. Inexperienced soldiers are apt to be vain-confident. They know not the strength, the craft, or the cruelty of the foe — or they would be humble. Satan may puff us up with a view to deceive us, for we are never in greater danger than when we have a high opinion of ourselves, and imagine that we can do wonders. Self-confidence ane self-dependence are very dangerous. It is by faith in Jesus, by keeping close to Jesus — that we conquer. Great grace is a silent warrior. It fights — but never boasts. It overcomes — but takes no credit to itself.
THE CONQUEST. When the victory is won — we shall take off the armor. This is future — but it may not be long. To the faithful soldier it is certain, for grace secures it. To the conqueror the prospect is delightful. But not until every foe is overcome, not until the last enemy is destroyed — shall we be justified in putting off our armor. No, every Christian must fight now. Our duty and the dangers of the campaign, exclude boasting. The most upright and honest need to be cautioned. The conqueror's armor will only be hung up in the hall of glory.
Reader, have you enlisted into the army of the Savior? Have you put on the whole armor of God? Have you joined the ranks of your regiment? Are you in deadly conflict with the foe? If so, fight on and do not fear! The battle may be fierce — but with Jesus for your Captain, with his strength made perfect in your weakness, with his conquering banner floating over your head — every foe shall be slain or flee — and victory, eternal victory is sure!
Soon, very soon, the victorious army will return home in triumph! Soon, very soon, war shall cease, and peace, perpetual peace shall be your portion. "and the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away!" Isaiah 35:10