Three weeks ago, I had breakfast with a friend. Over pancakes and coffee, she told me she had breast cancer. Fortunately, the doctors thought it was a small contained spot, and most likely, she wouldn’t even need as Mastectomy. We cried, hugged, and praised God that it wasn’t a worse diagnosis.
A week later, after more tests and scans, the doctors found more spots. The diagnosis changed. Stage four. Terminal.
In one week, the enemy, the battle, the battle plan, and the probable outcome all changed. In just two weeks, the most significant struggles in her life went from work issues and remodeling her kitchen, to starring down the barrel of a death sentence.
If you aren’t facing a battle in your life right now (or don’t think you are), be prepared, a battle is coming. The Bible makes it clear we will all face struggles in life. And we all need to be ready to fight.
Some of the battles in our life are there for us to overcome, conquer, and have victory. Some of the conflicts are so that God can teach us how to fight. In Judges 3:1-2, the Bible explains that when Israel finally got to the Promised Land, there were some nations that God didn’t drive out. He left them there because he wanted to test the Israelites who had not experienced wars: “he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience.”
Regardless of the reason for the battle, God wants us to be prepared and to fight well. Your battle might be a terminal diagnosis, a family feud, bankruptcy, addiction, or even the Holy Spirit telling you to do something you don’t want to do. Or it might be something completely different. Regardless, God wants you to fight the battle to the best of your ability for His glory.
How do we prepare for battle and fight well?
- Put on God’s Armor: (Ephesians 6:10-18) If you haven’t decided to trust and follow Jesus, make that choice (John 3:16). Read the Bible, be obedient to God, and loving to others. Pray without ceasing.
- Ask for Clarity: Ask God for confirmation that this is a battle he wants you to fight. If he does want you to fight, ask him how to fight. When God called Gideon to fight a battle, Gideon asked God to clearly show him that he was supposed to fight the fight. And God gave him clarity. (Judges 6:36-40)
- Ask God for the Tools: God gave Gideon every tool he needed for battle. And God removed the tools Gideon didn’t need. (Judges 7: 1-8)
- Ask God for Confidence: Gideon lacked confidence (Judges 6:15). He saw his family and himself as weak. God provided Gideon with confidence before he went into battle. (Judges 7:9-18)
- Worship God: Worship God and give Him thanks, regardless of the circumstance. I know this is hard. Gideon worshiped God for God’s answered prayer and victory. Easy, right? But the Bible says we are to give thanks in everything. That includes the hard things. The tragedies. (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Worshipping God during a disaster and thanking him for the hurt in life takes a lot of faith, and knowing that God is in control. Sometimes it means just obeying and praising him when we don’t want to and don’t feel like it. We just do it.
God’s plan is greater than our plan. His way is higher than our way. Our battle is in his hands. The outcome of the battle is in God’s hands.
Some of the battles we fight, we won’t win on earth. We all have a final death sentence, even if we don’t have a medical diagnosis. None of us is going to live forever.
Some of the battles we fight aren’t for our glory. They were meant for God’s glory.
Some of the battles we fight are just to teach us how to fight.
Regardless, if we are preparing for battle like God told us to and fighting as God told us to fight, we will have victory. God will use each battle for our good. Regardless of the outcome, our struggle is not in vain.
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”1 Corinthians 15:55-58 NIV