The Christian is enlisted to fight in the cause of God, to be a soldier of Jesus Christ. Jesus fought all our battles during his life upon earth, and in that He was tempted, He knows how to succor those who shall be tempted. We have no power to war with principalities, and powers, and spiritual wickedness in high places (Revelation 6:12), except as we draw strength from Christ. Jesus calls upon you to behold the confederacy of evil, to behold the conflict through which you must pass. He bids us count the cost of standing under the blood-stained banner; He does not flatter us that we shall have no difficulties in this life; but although we shall be tried and tempted in meeting the confederacy of evil, yet we are assured that all the heavenly intelligences will be enlisted on our side in every battle. But the ministry of angels will not ensure us against sorrow and trial. Angels ministered to Jesus; yet their presence did not make his life one of ease, nor free Him from conflict and temptation. While we are engaged in the work which the Master has appointed us to do, though trials and perplexities and temptations press upon us, we should not be discouraged; for we know that One has endured all these temptations before us.
We each have a battle to fight with the fallen foe. We should begin the conflict in the light of the Bible, gaining victories over self, giving no place to the evil one. We should not sin against God by indulging sinful thoughts or speaking murmuring words. We should not let the enemy control our powers in the least, but throw all the weight of our influence on the side of Christ. God has pledged his word that his grace will be sufficient for us in our greatest necessity, in our sorest distress (II Corinthians 12:9). Appropriating this grace, Christ will be found to be a very present help in time of trouble (Psalm 46:1).
The Lord expects his servants to excel the lovers of the world in life and character. That they may do this, He has placed at their command unlimited resources. The Christian is a spectacle unto the world, to angels, and to men. He is looked upon as one who is striving for the mastery, running the race set before him that he may obtain the prize, even an immortal crown. His motives are to be above the motives of those who love the world. He is to feel that in the great contest in which he is engaged, there is everything to win, and everything to lose. He is to realize that he must make use of every entrusted power to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Grace has been abundantly provided that he may not fail nor be discouraged, but be complete in Christ, accepted in the Beloved.
Those who would be victors should contemplate the cost of salvation, that they may be subdued by the love of Christ, that their strong human passions may be conquered, and their will brought into captivity to their Redeemer. The Christian is to realize that he is not his own, but that he has been bought with a price (I Corinthians 6:20). His strongest temptations will come from within; for he must battle against the inclinations of the natural heart. The Lord knows our weaknesses; yet He has valued man, even though finite and incapable of any good in and of himself, at an infinite price. “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” [John 3:16]. Every struggle against sin, every effort to conform to the law of God, is Christ working through his appointed agencies upon the human heart. Oh, if we could comprehend what Jesus is to us and what we are to Him, murmuring would be forever silenced, unbelief would be swept away, the value of the soul would appear, and we would believe that God has loved us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).
You who are tempted and tried and discouraged, look up. Let no weary, halting, sin-oppressed soul become faint-hearted, and lose hope. The promises of God come sounding down along the lines to us, assuring us that we may reach heaven if we will abide in Christ. Look up; it is fatal to look down. Looking down, the earth reels and sways beneath you, and nothing is sure. A divine hand is reached toward you. The hand of the Infinite is stretched over the battlements of heaven to grasp your hand in its embrace. The mighty Helper is nigh to help the most erring, the most sinful and despairing. Look up by faith, and the light of the glory of God will shine upon you. Do not be discouraged because you see that your character is defective. The closer you come to Jesus, the more faulty you will appear in your own eyes; for your vision will be clearer, and your imperfections will be seen in distinct contrast with his perfect character. Be not discouraged; this is an evidence that Satan’s delusions are losing their power, that the vivifying influence of the Spirit of God is arousing you, and that your indifference and ignorance are passing away.
Whatever may have been your past experience, however discouraging may be your present circumstances, if you will come to Jesus just as you are, weak, helpless, and despairing, our compassionate Saviour will meet you a great way off, and will throw about you his arms of love and his robe of righteousness. Do not continue to talk of your weakness; Jesus came to bring moral power to combine with human effort, that we might advance step by step in the heavenward way. Let your faith lay hold of the precious promises of God, and if clouds have encompassed you, the mists will roll back; for the angels of God are ever ready to help in every trial and emergency. We are not left to battle unaided against the prince of darkness. As we realize the attacks of the enemy, we shall feel the need of fleeing to the stronghold, we shall learn to lean upon the Mighty One. He will be to us as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land, as a covert from the tempest (Isaiah 32:2). Deep and fervent will be the gratitude of him who experiences the help of God in times of temptation and trial.
The whole army of heaven is enlisted to fight our battles for us, to work out for us a glorious victory, and Jesus is the Captain of our salvation. But let no one think that we shall not be called upon to endure tribulation. John says, “I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God, which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God forever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these that are arrayed in white robes, and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in his temple, and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes [Revelation 7:9–17].”
The Bible Echo, December 1, 1892.