Jesus called us to live a perfect, sinless life in righteousness. (Matthew 5:48) But often you experience that righteousness doesn’t come without a fight. And sometimes that fight is not a fight you win. It is not uncommon to experience that even though you try to be righteous, you fall. You sin. You lose the battle.
Christianity is war. But this war is unlike any war that’s been fought before. Our war is not against people but against evil spiritual powers and the rulers of darkness. It is against the very lusts and desires within us that will get us to sin. (Ephesians 6:12)
A war, you may think, is a messy affair. There’s a lot of back and forth. You win some, you lose some. You fire a shot. You fire another. You hit. You miss. You take a bullet. You give in to sin. A war, you may think, is not won without a few losses.
So you lie there in the mud and the blood as the forces of sin get the upper hand in your life. A battle lost or a battle won. You’ll win the war in the end. You close your eyes. You ask the General for His forgiveness. You wait for this battle to end so you can try your luck at the next one.
But get up, cadet. That’s not the war we’re fighting here.
Triumph in Christ
What are we called to? Has God not promised to always lead us in triumph in Christ? (2 Corinthians 2:14) Has God not promised to crush Satan under our feet shortly? (Romans 16:20) Will the God of miracles not do what He has promised and lead us in war without stumbling? Without loss? (2 Peter 1:10)
“Always leads us in triumph in Christ” means exactly what it says. You needn’t lose a battle here and there. You needn’t lie down in the mud of shame and humiliation and defeat, having given in to sin one more time. You needn’t ever think to yourself, “Oh well, there’s always next time.”
What are we called to? Are we not called to be holy as He is holy? (1 Peter 1:15-16) Are we not called to be pure and blameless, without wrinkle and spot? (Ephesians 5:27) Are we not called to be perfect? (Matthew 5:48)
Christianity is war. But this war can be fought without defeat. The ones who really understand this dominate the battlefield as conquerors on white horses; they ride about slaying and destroying the enemy, without ever taking a single blow. These are the Christians who have understood what it means to wage war. These are the Christians who know that the battle need never be lost. These are the Christians who know that Christ will lead them to perfect victory over sin.
When the devil roars, roar back
Be ruthless. Be vindictive. Pursue your enemies with a burning zeal and fire that consumes you with hatred for everything that is not of Christ. Chase down the sinful thoughts that come up in you and put them to death. (Colossians 3:5) Nail them firmly to the cross before they have a chance to strike. Before they have a chance to lead you to sin.
Swing your sword and don’t hold back. Give no quarter. Show no mercy. Never surrender. The forces of Satan can seem strong and the temptations that rise up in you are dangerous enemies. Satan himself goes about like a roaring lion, the most dangerous enemy of all. (1 Peter 5:8) But stand up, soldier. When the devil roars at you then look him in the eye and roar right back. You are a Christian. Strong as he may be, you have all the power of God on your side.
And what is the result of that? What is the result of waging a perfect war without defeat? Without giving ground? Without a single moment of hesitation or doubt in your attacks?
The result is all the promises that God gives to those who are faithful. The result of that is an abundance of peace, of joy, of all the virtues of Christ. The battlefield is not limitless. As you put to death the sin that rises up in you time and time again their corpses do not get up again. The battlefield becomes clearer. The goal becomes nearer.
And as the battlefield empties there is room for something else to come in. Love. Kindness. Patience. Goodness. Longsuffering. Mercy. Joy. Gentleness. Faithfulness. You become transformed. You become like Christ. Divine nature. (2 Peter 1:4)
That is the battle, that is the war, and that is the prize. Never lie down in the mud of shame and regret again. That is not what we are called to. We are called to be warriors. We are called to be conquerors. We are called to rule over the sin in our lives and not let it live. (Romans 6:12) We are called to get victory.
Every. Single. Time.