We are at war. 

We are soldiers at war. 

This war is not like the other wars happening over the world currently, not like the wars happening in Ukraine or Yemen. This war goes beyond our physical bodies; it is a deadly war on our souls. This war is not only between man, but it is God’s war against darkness and sin—against the very gates of hell. 

This is not a war to underestimate. It is a daily battle that we must fight at every moment until we die. 

Where we stand

Every single day, Satan schemes and tempts us in hopes of dragging us down with him into the depths of sin. We fight against our own desires, our tendency to sin. The war doesn’t stop, and so we must always be alert and awake. 

It is vital that we know the state of this war, so that we do not underestimate the seriousness of this war. Let us not be soldiers sleeping in the middle of the battlefield. 

Being a true Christian, a follower of Christ, is a fight. Just as Paul mentions a few times, we are split into our flesh and spirit—as he writes in Galatians 5:17, “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”. Let us not forget that this battle is internal, as well as external. 

A soldier’s daily bread

First things first, we need God’s mercy. Without His grace, without His mercy, we are dead. The fact we can even be aware of this spiritual warfare in the first place, is only because God has opened our eyes and revealed it to us. By His grace alone, we are where we are now. So why do we even imagine that we can go without His mercy and His word?

God is not obligated to show us mercy, and it is not certain that He will give us His grace.

We must beg for His mercy. We can read the Bible ten times over, but if God doesn’t show us mercy, we will still be dead. So, we must beg. 

Truly, we do not deserve it in any way. We don’t deserve to follow Christ. Yet He still lets us live another day, and He still lets us listen to His word. But do we take it seriously? 

Each day, as we begin our devotions and start our day, we must start in prayer, pleading for His mercy and for His guidance throughout the day to help us fight and kill sin. We will not be able to make it otherwise. 

Do not be prideful, thinking we will be fine without God’s grace. We desperately need His Word every day. We are made from both dust and God’s breath of life, from both flesh and spirit. We are bound to both, so we cannot simply neglect the needs of one. Just as we cannot survive without food, we are spiritually dead without God’s word. 

May we all ask for a heart that yearns for God, that we may realise—if we don’t find God’s Word, we will surely die. So the cry of our hearts will be like the Psalmist in Psalm 42, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.”. 

How do we fight?

We are given a new life in Christ, whicht means we leave our old ways of sin behind. Going onwards, we are called to live in obedience and self-denial. 

No longer do we set ourselves for what we want to do, but what God wants us to do. We are to set our mind on the spirit, “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6)

We must go against the world to obey God in everything we do, in all aspects of our lives. Obedience doesn’t just become relevant in big decisions, but it is obedience in everyday mundane things. He has called us to be faithful in the small things. Take each step with obedience; each little choice to be made in obedience to God. 

Putting out our sin, killing our sin, is part of our lifelong fight. As John Owen puts it, “Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you”. Let it slide, leave it be, and sin will be working out your destruction. Do not be tolerant of sin, for we are fighting against it. Do not underestimate the enemy. 

In Romans 8:12-13, it is written, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”. So clearly, we are told that the only end to following the flesh is death. We know the result of sin, so let us take heed in what we have been told. 

Prayer is a crucial part of this war. Satan does not mind us going to church, serving even, but He will strive to keep us from kneeling on our knees in prayer. 

We are prayer warriors. 

So always pray - learn to live in prayer and plead with God each new morning. 

By His strength

Of course, all this is impossible by ourselves. We fight not by our own strength but are dependant on His strength. As we fight, remember that God has already won this battle and that his victory is sure. Truly, in the end, He will be victorious and His name will be glorified among the nations. It is because Christ has died and risen from the dead, Satan has already lost. But he keeps scheming so do not stop fighting. 

We are fighting under, with and for Christ. He fights alongside us, and has promised never to leave us. If we are truly His people, nothing can separate us from God’s love. Romans 8:38-39 says, “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.”

So do not be intimidated by the battle, do not stop, but keep fighting in Christ. Always. 

Stand tall my fellow man; rise up, rise up for Christ! March onwards, all ye Christ’s soldiers; follow on the banner of the cross!

Rise Up For Christ (Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong)