“This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.” (Ephesians 6:12, The Message)
The old hymn asks, “Must I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease while others fight to win the prize and sail o’er (over) bloody seas?” Then it bravely answers, “Sure! I must fight if I would reign. Increase my courage, Lord! I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain, supported by Thy word.”
Hymnologist, Amos R. Wells, reports, “Isaac Watts (1674–1748), who wrote this hymn, was the father of hymn-writing in the English language. Isaac’s own father was not a member of the state church, and was twice thrown into jail for opposing it. When Isaac was a baby his mother often carried him in her arms to visit his father in prison.”
Like his father, Isaac Watts chose to stay in the fight for the kingdom of God. Writing new hymns got him in trouble with the established Christian church. Still, Watts pressed on, in spite of the opposition, to write over 200 popular hymns!
In Jesus’ day, John the Baptist was locked up in prison for taking a stand for moral righteousness against the local governor. About John’s suffering, and anyone else that seeks to serve the Lord, Jesus asserts, “The kingdom of heaven suffers violence and violent people take it by force.” (Matthew 11:12)
In others words, if you are a true believer, plan on doing battle! Our earth-bound side believes the glories of modern advertising and longs for those promised “flowery beds of ease.” Our born of God, heaven-bound side responds, “I must fight if I would reign. Increase my courage, Lord!”
Paul, the apostle, makes it clear that the fight will come to us if we seek to do good and serve the Lord. He writes, “So I find this law at work: when I would do good, evil is right there with me.” (Romans 7:21)
Just so, David, the Goliath-slayer, returned with his army to the village where they camped, found it burned to the ground with all their wives and children kidnapped. “David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God” winning the battle in his heart first, then leading his men to rescue everyone! (1 Samuel 30)
Our battle is not with people or circumstances, but against false imaginations, worries, fears and negative thoughts that try to separate us from trusting God. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5) Our battle is against spiritual wickedness, this present darkness, and spiritual forces of evil in the invisible heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12) Discouragement, Depression and Death-Thinking are chief adversaries against God’s love, grace and peace.
Are you discouraged? Run to Jesus! Receive your gift* of righteousness which he bought for you on the cross! Then take refuge in him and his name.
“The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous (*the gift openers) run to it and are safe.” (Proverbs 18:10) Run, Believer, Run!
“Giv’m heaven!”—John Parker
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