We would live differently if we realized that we lived in a war zone. It is socially acceptable to complain about the amount of foam in our coffee when the sun is shining and flowers are blooming. But soldiers know how to appreciate even lukewarm coffee. It is also socially acceptable to complain about the price of memory foam mattresses when Christmas lights are blinking and carolers are singing. But soldiers know how to appreciate a tarp over their heads.
Do you live in a war zone? Rather, do you know that you live in a war zone? All Christians are called to fight the good fight. Enemies within and without try to convince us to exchange the blessings of God for the fleeting pleasures of sin. Be not deceived! The devil is not an idiot. He did not tempt Eve with a maggot-filled apple core, and he does not tempt us with promises of sickness, heartache, and bankruptcy. No, this roaring lion masquerades as an angel of light, a beautiful angel of light. For this reason, we must remain vigilant at all hours of the day, dressed in the whole armor of God. We must keep watch and pray.
The battle begins as soon as we open our eyes in the morning – and maybe even sooner than that. If we were vacationing in Hawaii, we could afford to hit snooze a few times. But we are on a pilgrimage, not a vacation. We must wake up and make it our first priority to clothe ourselves with truth, peace, and faith. We must train ourselves to instinctively reach for our sword, the Word of God. We must also pursue the mind of Christ with our whole hearts so that we are not distracted by inconveniences that try to entangle us and draw us away from a single-minded devotion to Christ. This is the life of a soldier; this is the life of Christian.
The life of a soldier is exhausting. If we believe that we are strong enough, tough enough, mature enough to fight this battle alone, we are deceiving ourselves. We may be pilgrims, but we are not pioneers. We are not blazing new trails but merely following in the footsteps of our Savior who has not only saved us from the penalty of sin, but is saving us from the power of sin. He is calling us to live in His victory with His strength in our hands, His love in our hearts, and the sound of His victory cry in our ears: It is finished!