We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body... Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. ~2 Corinthians 4:8-11,16-18
The Battle Won
I had a book review for today, but as Good Friday drew closer and closer, my heart felt burdened with a different message. So today, for the first time, the only book I will refer to is the Book of Books--the most important one we could ever read. Today, a little less than 2,000 years ago, a Man died. He died for you, he died for me.
And the minute that Jesus died, the fight for truth became that much more brutal, because his act made truth invincible.
Think about it: when a wild animal receives its death wound, does it willingly concede the fight and slink away? More than likely, it turns and furiously attacks the one who dealt the blow. And since this is the case in the spiritual realm as well, we Christians have been fighting against the roaring lion, Satan, for century upon century. Many of us are receiving grievous wounds from a beast that is already conquered, but not yet dead.
We grow steadily more weary of the fray.
Even we, fellow bibliophiles, are fighting for truth and the Kingdom of Jesus Christ with every page we read. With every book review, with every piece of correction tape or every paper knife to remove pages, we are fighting for the truth and the Lordship of our precious Savior to prevail. But I am growing ever more aware that only the grace of God keeps us in the battle.
Think of this: if a soldier knows beforehand that his army will be victorious in the battle, will he turn away in fear and weariness? If the runner knows that his head will receive the laurel wreath of victory, will he fall back in the race? And yet Christians are calling truce, and fleeing in despair from a foe that is already conquered. He has no sting. He cannot, for Christ is Lord and Master. Why should we fear the foe that has power only over our mortal bodies, which we cannot keep? Why not fear more the sweet Lord Jesus, who holds in his hands our very souls?
Never turn away my friends. As we fight for biblical manhood and womanhood, biblical patriarchy and economy, as the light separates ever more from the darkness in our world today, do not look upon the growing darkness, but look ever to the Light of Christ. Our fight is not in vain, for Christ himself promised that he did not come for peace, but for division. We should rejoice when the darkness fights harder and more brutally against us, for this means that we grow ever closer to the Image of our Lord.
And in the pain, we should take joy.
I wish that today I could see every one of you in person to give this message. I have seen both sides of this issue, even in my limited existence. I have seen the soldier who thirsts and the runner who stumbles, and I have seen some stand even amidst the pain and disgrace and suffering. Throughout the years, I have also seen some turn away needlessly. Are we so alone that we forsake the battle already won to join the battle already lost?
Take joy today in remembering the agony of Christ, for He won the victory that we would never have had the strength or righteousness to win. And if you are thirsty, if you are weary, if you are suffering from the death wounds of the roaring lion who seeks to devour, think not upon your suffering. Think not upon the darkness that you are fighting against or the pain of our disgrace in the eyes of the world. Think rather upon the One who was willing to bear sweat drops of blood, who was willing to spend one agonizing night looking to the future, who was willing to have others strip the earthly body of the heavenly Son, and who was willing to go through the rejection of the Father Himself. Think upon his victory for your sake, and cry out to the One who possessed such strength to reach down and touch your weary feet, your stinging wound, your thirsty tongue. For He has won, my friends, and throughout the rest of our lives, we can overflow with the joy of his victory.
"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God."
"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death."
"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it."
"To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations—
‘He will rule them with an iron scepter;
he will dash them to pieces like pottery’
just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give him the morning star."
-Revelation 2: 26-28
"He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels."
"Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name."
"To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne."
Never give up. Never lose heart. Never break faith. All praise and glory to Him who is able to keep us from falling and present us spotless before the throne of God.