When we become Christians, we go to war. We get peace with God (Rom. 5:1), along with joy and peace in believing the gospel (15:13). But we are at war with the world, the flesh, and the devil (1 John 2:16). In a word, we are at war with sin. We strive against sin and for holiness. Our weeks are filled with war. So, as we find ourselves at another weekend, many of us ask, “How do I keep going when I’m battle weary?”
The Worth of the Prize of the War
When we’re tired of the fight, when we want to give up, God encourages us to keep going because of what is at stake, namely, everlasting life (Gal. 6:9; 2 Tim. 2:12; Heb. 3:14). Saving faith is the gift of God’s grace alone (Eph. 2:8–10), and saving faith is a faith that endures.
One of the ways God strengthens us when we are tempted to give up is to remind us that we are not fighting for land or money or reputation. The prize is everlasting life with God. In other words, when we’re ready to lie down and die on the battlefield, God says, “It is worth it!”
But just what is this everlasting life? It is being with God forever. It is gazing on His beauty (Ps. 27:4). It is knowing God and gaining Christ (John 17:3; Phil. 3:8). But Jesus also tells us that we experience this eternal life in the present (John 5:24). Therefore, we fight not simply for what is promised (all the joys of heaven), but for Him who is promised to us (Christ Himself).
The Worth of the One for Whom We Fight
In sum, Jesus is worthy of our warfare to gain Him. The Christian life is hard. Earlier generations of Christians recognized how hard it is to be a Christian much more than we recognize today. Samuel Rutherford, one of the Puritans, said, “When I am in the cellar of affliction, there I found my Lord’s choicest wine.” Our forefathers did not entertain notions of a feel-good Christianity. Praise God, they were realists about the difficulty of the war in which we find ourselves.
Why did they persevere? Why should we? Because Jesus is worthy. “Worthy is the Lamb,” sing the hosts of heaven (Rev. 5:12). He is worthy because He is God the Son (John 1:1; Col. 1:15–20). He is worthy because He humbled Himself to live and die in our place (Phil. 2:6–11). He is worthy because He has been raised from the dead and exalted to the right hand of God (Acts 2:33). And He is worthy because He is coming again to judge the world (1 Thess. 1:10).
Therefore, let us recognize the worth of the prize of the war, which really is the worth of the One for whom we fight, Jesus the Son of God. The best news is that when we fight for Him, we realize He was fighting for us all along.