By Elizabeth Prata
Are you battle weary? Our daily battle as Christians is tiring, isn’t it? We battle our sin. We battle intrusion of other peoples’ sin. We battle false doctrine. We do this daily. There are some bigger battles that crop up, like the one happening at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention on June 15-16. There, a host of like-minded representatives sent from the member churches, called “messengers,” will voice their opposition to Critical Race Theory and Egalitarianism (and its result, women preaching) to the mass who have gathered. The intention is to thwart the liberal drift. A previous battle like this had occurred in 1979-1980, called the Conservative Resurgence. It was an attempt, like the one coming up next week, to re-steer the Convention away from creeping liberalism and toward conservative, more biblical waters.
And that is what the Messengers this time will try to do. Everything old is new again…similar liberal issues had unfortunately become embedded in the Convention’s many seminaries in 1979, and different but similar liberal ideas have occurred this time too. Just like then, these ideas introduced in the Convention spread to the seminaries, then to the pastors the seminaries teach, and then to congregations these newly minted pastors begin to shepherd. Dispersion of liberal ideas never stops, and we must battle them.
All these battles are tiring. You may be feeling battle weariness. The US Military calls it combat stress reaction-
Combat stress reaction is an acute reaction that includes a range of behaviors resulting from the stress of battle that decrease the combatant's fighting efficiency. The most common symptoms are fatigue, slower reaction times, indecision, disconnection from one's surroundings, and the inability to prioritize.
People are weary. Just when we got over one set of disasters or near disasters, struggles and near struggles, another one occurs that is worse.
What is happening in the world is a battle. It always has been a fight since the fall, but because we are close to the end the battle is more furious, more visible, and more potent against the humans who dwell on the earth. How do I know we are near the end? Well, I don’t know when the end of all struggles and battles will be, but I know we are 2000 years closer than we were when the Bible’s writers penned the words that promised permanent peace…
Christians know we’re in a spiritual battle. Secular people don’t, but we do. Satan rages against God and against His children. God is angry at sin and is angry at sinners. The Christian battles his own personal sin, and each of us suffers from the effects of it and from the effect of others’ sins. It is a fight all the time. We must be constantly vigilant, (James 4:7) on guard (1 Peter 5:8) and wearing our armor. (Ephesians 6:10-17). Even having the Holy Spirit in us to energize us, it is a weary thing to always be on guard against a relentless and intelligent enemy bent on our destruction. Ask any soldier. (Illustration: artist unknown, Illustrator of Henry Davenport Northrop’s ‘Treasures of the Bible’, 1894)
The Bible warns us against growing tired and losing heart.
“Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9)
Notice the word IF. This says to me that it is possible to lose heart. The verse is talking about not getting tired of being kind and patient and loving. We become appalled at obstacles, disheartened at betrayals, grief-stricken over sin, and sometimes we just plain tire of the battle.
Jeremiah battled all his life, since the moment God called him to be His Prophet. He knew about battles. He said,
“You said, ‘Woe to me! The LORD has added sorrow to my pain; I am worn out with groaning and find no rest.'” (Jeremiah 45:3)
We are told that the end time is like a woman giving birth. (Matthew 24:8). The End Time is the period between the first coming of Jesus in His Incarnation when He ascended, (Acts 1:11) and His Second Coming in the clouds. (Revelation 19:11-16). The long gestation began when Jesus ascended and will end when He returns in glory and the Kingdom descends from heaven to earth. (Revelation 21).
As the pregnancy nears its bloody conclusion, the discomfort grows because the pressure increases to unbearable levels. And when the labor pangs begin, the pain only increases in frequency and intensity. The brief periods of respite between the pangs grow shorter in duration and before one can catch one’s breath the next pang comes crashing down.
And the Tribulation will be so much worse. We need more than ever to carry each other’s burdens as the world hurtles toward that time of wrath. (Galatians 6:2).
Without the Lord, I don’t know how people even cope. Perhaps they are not coping. (Romans 1:28-32). That is why we must not lose heart or flag in our energy, to show that the power of the Holy Spirit in us is enough to sustain us through anything!
Satan brings disorder into our physical world by afflicting humans (Job 1-2; 2 Corinthians 12:7; Hebrews 2:14). The disorder is not just external but internal also.
The underlying root cause of all these different battles is a spiritual battle over the deed to the earth. (Satan has already lost and our Savior owns the earth and everything in it (Revelation 5:5; Psalm 24:1), but satan refuses to believe that, so he presses on, and God lets Him, until the time is right for us to be taken up and the times to end.)
“Fret not yourself because of evildoers, and be not envious of the wicked, for the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out.” (Proverbs 24:19-20)
Gill's Exposition explains that verse so well: "For their calamity shall rise suddenly,.... And come upon those that fear not God, and rebel against the king and the state, and innovate in matters of religion; and especially that bring in damnable heresies, and, while they cry Peace, peace, and are pleasing themselves with their new schemes and prosperous success, swift and sudden destruction comes upon them."
We rejoice in our Holy Savior who does these holy things. There will be much singing in heaven over His conquering of sin. But we are battle weary on earth until then. Be aware that the spiritual battle of this world is taking its very real and physical toll on people. Brethren, do not grow weary. The writer of Hebrews said,
“not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25).
“but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)