Celebration of Strength: Joy in Battle - 30 May 2019

Louise Gevers

“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:4-6

I love and celebrate the strength and incongruity of the Christian faith: amazingly, God, the Creator of the world, willingly became the sacrifice to save the world. His followers must die to live, are strong when they’re weak, love their enemies and humble themselves to be lifted up. God’s laws and the nature of the enemy dictate that the Christian shield himself against evil using truth, righteousness, and the readiness to share the Gospel, and take up the invisible weapons of faith, salvation, the Word and prayer. (Ephesians 6:14-18)

Working together in spreading the good news of salvation is essential for the mission to succeed, and brings joy and growth. Christians are prime targets for the devil’s attacks. Loving and supporting one another as we stand firm in the faith during hard times is how we resist, and put up a united front against the enemy who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8-9) and so witness to the world.

When Jesus was on earth He prayed for the people who would believe in Him through the message of the disciples. What a delight to read this and realise that He was praying for us. “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may become one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:20-21) All success is an answer to His prayer.

Daily, we fight the battle of faith as joyfully as King Jehoshaphat did going into battle - without a single visible weapon - but with thanks and praise on our lips as we worship God. (2 Chronicles 20:12,22). We know what the outcome of that battle was, and what the outcome of our battle will be: Jesus has already conquered death and will beat the devil at the end of time. (Revelation 20:10)

But till then, we have to manoevre our way through trials and hardships, as the devil mobilizes his minions to do their utmost to drag us down and devastate our faith through whatever means possible. Like soldiers in battle, or Comrades Marathon runners on the road, we have to help each other: there is always someone limping, wounded or considering giving up. Can you think of people who have been there for you at crucial times, who encouraged you and helped your faith?

Although the battle is fierce, we can trust God “to bring to completion” the work He started in us, because we’re still a work in progress.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

Prayer: Lord, we rejoice and celebrate that the battle belongs to You who alone are almighty, trustworthy and true; and that our part is to continually thank and praise You for Your goodness. Amen

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