If I have victory in Christ, why do I still feel like I’m in a war?
One of the darkest periods in our country’s history was when we divided over the issue of slavery. The Civil War divided us as a nation, divided families, and cost 620,000 lives. It ended when Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865. The Union walked away with victory.
But the war wasn’t over.
General Edmund Kirby Smith led the Confederate forces west of the Mississippi River. For eight more weeks, he led his troops in minor skirmishes, raids, and guerrilla tactics. Federal troops knew the war was over, but those out west continued to face attack from Smith and his troops. It wasn’t until June 2, 1865 that General Smith finally surrendered to Major General Edward Canby of the United States.
Now the war was over.
I picture a bunch of young men in blue uniforms, barely out of adolescence. When word came from the east that Lee surrendered, surely they were elated. They weren’t regular army, so the end of the war meant going home to mom … to girlfriends … to rest. Only problem is a bunch of pesky Confederates who keep firing at them. These guys were trying to pack their gear for the trek home, but they had to stay on the alert, occasionally fire back, and shout, “ENOUGH ALREADY! THE WAR IS OVER!”
There are days I feel like shouting to Satan, “ENOUGH ALREADY! THE WAR IS OVER!”
As a follower of Christ, I know my sin problem was dealt with at the cross. I am no longer a slave to sin; I have been set free by the love and grace of Christ. My victory is secure.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:35-39).
How’s that for a picture of complete victory? Christ has won for me, and I am secure in Him, but Satan still keeps taking shots at me. He knows Christ has won my victory, but he doesn’t want to admit defeat. So using guerrilla tactics, he tries to catch me unaware. He hides, then surprises me. He catches me off guard with a temptation.
The war is over, but I still face battles.
Thankfully, I don’t face those battles alone.
- God walks with me.“Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Gal. 5:16).
- God equips me. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Eph. 6:10-11).
- God provides a way out. Every time. “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13).
God provides His presence, power, and strength, but it still falls on me to be vigilant.
- Walk in the faith God has given me. “Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:4-5).
- Stay surrendered to the lordship of Christ. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (Jas. 4:7).
- Stay alert and watchful. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (1 Pet. 5:8-9).
One day, every knee will bow before Christ acknowledging He is the victorious Lord, but until then …
Keep fighting. In Christ, we’ve got this.
You know others who need this word of encouragement. Would you help me share this truth with them?