Thursday, December 12, 2013

the war is already won.

A few weeks ago my sweet friend Amy was here to visit and we decided to get much needed massages. It was an absolutely wonderful experience feeling so pampered in such a beautiful place. Mary was my masseuse and I told her about my scoliosis before she started working on my back. She was quite intrigued by the structure of my spine and the way it effected the rest of my body. At one point she said to me, "You plant your feet, don't you?" I was slightly caught off guard and responded with a questioning yes. With which she responded, "You're constantly in fight position. You need to let loose a little bit." Who is this woman, I thought, and what is she talking about?

About a week later, I listened to a sermon titled "Peace Child" because well, I was feeling like I could use a little peace these days. The pastor, Louie Giglio, briefly touched on peace, but brought up a handful of other topics as well. At the end he shared a story about a soldier from World War II that was instructed to not stop fighting until his commander came to get him. When the war ended pamphlets were sent to this soldier and the three other men with him, but they didn't believe what it said. They thought it was one of the enemy's tactics. As the years passed, two soldiers fled on different occasions and one died. The original soldier was still in fight mode thirty years later when his commander finally came to rescue him. For thirty years he was fighting a war that was over. 

Sometimes our lives look a lot like this soldier's. Even though the war is over, we continue to fight. We continue to fight ourselves and the world around us.

And if I'm being honest, Mary the masseuse was correct. I'm constantly in fight mode. I've been spending a lot of time thinking about what it is that I'm fighting. And I've found that I'm fighting the world. I'm fighting to not let anyone or anything distract me from knowing Christ. I'm fighting to remain faithful to the One who has called me. I'm fighting against every little thing that can so easily tear me apart. Every day I put up my shield and fight. 

But as Christians, as people who follow Christ, we are not called to live a life of war. In the Old Testament there was a guy named Jehoshaphat who was the king of Judah. One day some people came to him and said there was a vast army coming against him. He was frightened and asked God what to do, saying "For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you." {2 Chronicles 20:12}. God responded to him saying, 
"Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For this battle is not yours, but God's... You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out and face them tomorrow and the Lord will be with you."                       {2 Chronicles 20:15,17}
And the next day Jehoshaphat went out with his small army only to find the enemy's army lying dead on the desert floor. No one had escaped the hand of God.

I believe these words weren't just meant for Jehoshaphat about to enter a physical battle, but also for us. Every day the Lord tells us "this battle is not yours... I will fight for you." And instead of fighting we are called to stand firm... to stand firm in the character of God, knowing he is faithful, powerful, and just... and to stand firm in the truth of his word.

This world is a really hard place. Most days it feels like if I don't raise my shield, the war will be lost. But the truth is, the war is already won. Jesus took our sin upon himself, died on the cross and proclaimed, "It is finished."

My prayer is that we would not be the soldier who fought a war for thirty years before realizing it was already over, but that we would be a people proclaiming "it is finished" every single day. The war is over, victory is won, and we no longer need to fight. What a gift that is.

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