Today marks the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. It’s hard to believe that it’s been so long. What I remember about that day was sitting in my 7th grade science class and hearing about it over the intercom. Later that day we watched the news on a TV wheeled into another class (at least I think this is what happened since I have no journal entry from this time). After school, I went down to the lobby and grabbed a newspaper which displayed the Twin Towers in smoke. Once my family and I returned home, we watched more of what happened on the news.
It was all so shocking. “This happened here, in America?” Such a thought was not intended to be arrogant but just sheer disbelief since I had never witnessed anything like this. Then the nation found out that such acts were intentional. Terrorism. A word that the government no longer desires to mention, but it’s still here and around the world. And it’s growing.
It can be overwhelming to read about all that’s going on in the world. It’s beyond disturbing what humans will do to other humans. So much innocence has been destroyed. Will all of this end? I daresay, no. There may be lulls of peace, but there will be no end until Christ’s return because we live in a fallen world. God does not cause evil things to happen; rather, sin does. We are not born into goodness, but into sin:
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.” ~ Romans 5:12-14 (NASB)
Paul continues his discussion by talking about God’s grace, but the key point in the verses above is that sin came into the world through Adam. We are then born inherently evil, not inherently good. We all have to make a conscious effort to act righteously. We can act sinfully without trying. This is the war the enemy wages with us. Our flesh against our spirit. Will we continue to walk with God, or will we be deserters by giving in to the world, and essentially, to the enemy?
I have very little military knowledge, but I know that soldiers train for battle. To be sent out too soon would be a mistake that could cost lives. Military leaders also don’t send their soldiers out into the battlefield without a plan of attack. The only way to make such a plan is to study the enemy, to know how he acts and thinks. But at the same time, the enemy is doing the same thing.
Our enemy is quite clever. He is not to be underestimated especially since he has been with God, and he has also departed from God. We are to constantly be in spiritual training so that we know the truth we hold onto and not fall into temptation. While we train and do our best to act out the knowledge we have, the enemy looks to exploits our weaknesses. And we all have them. But instead of being overcome by the enemy, the Lord has given us a way to be victorious in our weaknesses:
”And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NASB)
We can be overcomers in our weaknesses! We cannot work through weakness on our own; rather, we must rely on Jesus. When we can do nothing on our own accord, it is God who is magnified, not us. And when God is magnified, the enemy does not stand a chance. For the enemy’s weakness is arrogance. When we put our complete trust in God and place Him first in our lives, there is nothing for the enemy to exploit. Also, when we encourage one another and build each other up, the enemy is faced with the body of Christ and not just one member. He is thwarted easily when we work as a unit.
He also will not succeed if we know truth. Part of the training process is testing everything we have been taught against the Word of God. If something does not add up, it must be examined further. It is important to distinguish between man’s teaching and God’s teaching because the two are not always the same. In a time when political correctness tries to keep us from challenging anything, this is exactly what we must do. Challenge everything! If we don’t, we can easily fall into the enemy’s snare. This is especially important for leaders in the church because if you send soldiers into battle unprepared and ill-informed, there will be casualties. I’m not talking about a shortage in church attendance, but a shortage in the kingdom of God.
We are in a constant battle, and the world keeps pressing in. Are we prepared? Do we have a solid foundation? Are we ready to have our faith tested with fire?
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.” ~ 1 Peter 1:3-9 (NASB)
What’s wonderful about having Christ as our Savior is knowing that He has already won this war. If we continue to hold onto this hope of our salvation, we will have no issue thwarting the enemy because our eyes will constantly be on Christ. Is it hard at times? Absolutely! But that’s why we are the body of Christ. When one member starts to fall, the others are there to pick him or her up. The overall victory has already been won, but the smaller victories leading to the end are up to us (with God’s help, of course). Whom will we follow? How will we act? Will we listen to God’s voice? Will we obey His will? Will we be instruments for His glory so that more people may come to Christ?
Soldiers, put on your armor and let’s go!
© Lauren Heiligenthal