Battles Within, Battles Without, and the Ultimate Victory
By Alan Parks
Write this on a beautiful day: blue skies, warm weather, and a peaceful atmosphere. However, for many, life at this moment is anything but easy and peaceful. The world’s attention has been riveted on a war in Eastern Europe, termed by many as a “David versus Goliath” conflict. Throughout history, all wars have been horrible for those involved. Human suffering tugs at our heartstrings.
At least 220 verses in our Bible contain the word war. Anyone familiar with Israel’s history can name numerous wars involving that nation. Students study wars in school, some of which defined a nation’s history.
Several New Testament verses describe the spiritual warfare that all believers know. While the battles aren’t marked by physical weaponry or armies in uniforms, they’re no less real. We cannot see our ultimate enemy, yet we feel his attacks. We often remember Peter’s words: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” (1 Peter 5:8–9)
Christians have long taken comfort in verses of promise, such as: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds [and] casting down arguments.” (2 Corinthians 10:3–4) We also read of the power contained within us: “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
Many wars and battles pit a powerful army against a much weaker party. The war in which we’re engaged is no different. In and of ourselves, we’re no match for our enemy. If not for that last clause above—“because He who is in you is greater”—we would possess no hope in this fight.
What comfort this brings. We belong to a God who arms us, fights alongside of us, and is assured the ultimate victory. Moses tells us this in Deuteronomy 3:22: “You must not fear them, for the Lord your God Himself fights for you.”
As the war in Europe rages, we all have seen the horrific images and heard refugees’ heart-wrenching stories. Many nights, I’ve gone to sleep with a heavy heart—grateful to sleep in peace
yet deeply saddened about the suffering of others.
At the same time, I have been equally thrilled and filled with awe as I’ve read reports on social media from missionaries and national believers directly in harm’s way. I’ve read no desperation, sensed no fear, nor have I seen any despair. From their example, I’ve learned about living when danger surrounds me, peace amid explosions, living well above circumstances, and the sense of true victory regardless of personal outcome. I’ve watched the church respond in the best of ways: in fervent prayer and through tangible support, flooding needed supplies to the region. Indeed, you and I are watching true Christianity in action.
The war in Eastern Europe is revealing timeless truths with lessons for all of us, all of the time, whether our battles are physical or spiritual. Because the God of peace came near, we have “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding [and] will guard [our] hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)
No matter what battles we face today—spiritual, physical, economic, health—take heart, dear saint, for we are not in them alone. Above us is a Father who pities His children, alongside us is the Friend who sticks closer than any earthly brother, underneath us are everlasting arms, and indwelling us is the Holy Spirit Himself (Psalm 103:13; Proverbs 18:24; Deuteronomy 33:27; 1 Corinthians 3:16).
Best of all, God has foretold us that, in the end, we win because of Him: “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57)
Alan Parks is a commended worker based in South Carolina.
Originally published in Missions magazine, July 2022. For more content, sign up for a free subscription (US) to Missions at CMML.us/magazine/subscribe.