Challenges are nothing unusual in the life of a Christian, even though we may not like them. Therefore, do not be surprised or frightened by them. With the armor of our God, we can always be victorious!
The Bible compares the life of a Christian to a battle. Every faithful child of God who has lined up under the banner of the great King is more or less aware of this holy war which they have entered. But this spiritual battle is very different from the wars here on earth. In a battle between hostile powers of the world, there are usually casualties on both sides. But in the spiritual battle, one can remain victorious. If we obediently and faithfully follow our Great Commander, He always gives us victory. This war waged with invisible powers, of which the world knows nothing, is often an intense and serious battle.
God’s Word tells us in Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Satan uses his means with great skill and tries to influence souls. Often, he uses emotions to make us doubt. If we are not ready to fight and forget to raise the shield of faith, our enemy can easily succeed in inflicting a wound.
The Word of God tells us, “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). When by faith we walk in obedience, we can rely firmly and securely on God’s Word and claim victory. Feelings come and go like the ebb and flow of the tide, like day and night. Sometimes we feel like we are on cloud nine, and at other times it feels like God has abandoned us. The first state is generally preferred, because there it is impossible for the enemy to make us doubt. But when the tide recedes and we feel “down in the dumps,” then we need to walk by faith and not pay attention to feelings.
Temptations and trials are not sin, but giving in to temptation is sin. Jesus was tempted in all things as we are but was without sin. He was tempted by the devil of pride who offered Him all the kingdoms of the world if He would worship him. But Jesus stood firm and victorious. He remained steadfast in the greatest temptation of His life and surrendered to the will of His heavenly Father. When He wrestled with death in the Garden of Gethsemane, He said in silent surrender, “Nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will” (Mark 14:36). And when He laid down His life for us on the cross, it seemed as if even God had forsaken Him in that darkest hour, and He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:34)
Just as the holy Son of God was tempted and went through sufferings and tribulations, so must His faithful followers go through similar trials, though not as severe. “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind” (1 Peter 4:1) – namely, for the Lord’s sake, to suffer for Him. If we, as true soldiers of Christ, are resolute and determined to march forward, keeping our eyes fixed on the Lord without paying attention to feelings, it is certain that we will remain victorious.
Jesus did not suffer defeat, and so all His faithful followers can remain victorious. The stronger the temptation, the greater the grace if we cling to the Lord and obey Him in all things. No temptation will defeat the soul that trusts in the Lord. Thanks be to the Lord that He never allows more to come upon His own than we can bear! If we give in to temptation,we cannot blame God, for God has ways and means for each of His children to gain the victory.
Temptations may come in many ways. There are trials of faith, where our faith is tested; tests of patience, where our patience is tried; challenges of our faithfulness to God; humiliation, which takes us down a notch in the eyes of others. Such and similar things may affect any child of God. But nothing is able to cause the soul, trusting and wholly devoted to the Lord, to turn away from the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3). The believing soul fights for this faith and remains victorious.
God has prepared armor (Ephesians 6) for His people, and this godly gear leaves no area unprotected. Every arrow of the enemy, no matter how sharp, is repelled without causing harm.
The Word of God is the first thing we are told to be girded with. Only a portion of the Word of God? No, the whole Word of God is to surround us like a belt. Only the whole truth of the Word can shield us from all enemies. Further, Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:16, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” Oh, that every child of God would learn to use the shield of faith properly! As long as we have faith and obey, we will never lack victory.
The exhortation to pray continually is also of great importance. We must place ourselves totally under God’s care, become wholly dependent on Him, and be completely secure in Him. Then no enemy will be able to touch us. Yes, we must watch and pray at all times. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10)!