The world against me rages,
Its fury I disdain;
Though bitter war it wages,
Its work is all in vain.
My heart from care is free,
No trouble troubles me.
Misfortune now is play,
And night is bright as day.
The Christian life is a battle. It’s a full blow war, really. A war that is far worse than any of the wars that we read about in history books or see on the evening news. No, this war isn’t a battle of nations fighting for territory and power over their small corner of the world. It is a war against three enemies set on killing you – utterly destroying you. The devil, the world and your sinful flesh work with the sole goal of bringing you eternal death and damnation. Their attack is relentless. Not even yielding while you sleep.
The weapons this triune enemy uses are powerful. They are weapons of eternal destruction. They pull you in and make you feel good and forget that there is destruction involved at all! They elevate you above all else. Giving you a sense of power but all the while locking the shackles and pulling the chains tighter and tighter in an attempt to strangle any semblance of life that is in you. You lust after what isn’t given to you. You slander your neighbor every chance you get. Even if you don’t, you fail to speak well of him. You hate your brother. You hate your neighbor. They always get in the way of the only god that you care about – yourself.
Indeed the Christian life is a battle, but you do not stand alone as opponent to the enemy. You stand with the Triune Victor! With the one true God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The devil, the world, and your sinful flesh have been defeated. The war is over. You have been branded with the Name of the victorious one. Victory is yours too!
The war is over! The enemy has been defeated, but the church militant still struggles in post war skirmishes. The enemy remains relentless in his attacks. Indeed he fights all the harder in his known defeat. Trying whatever he can to add to his numbers.
The Christian battles with this. St. Paul captures this in Romans 7. “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” You can nearly hear the frustration in his voice. You know that you are called to do good works. You even try very hard at times in order to accomplish them. Many times that leads to despair because you see all the things that you have done that are not good and where you have left undone the good which you are called to do. The enemy gains ground. You don’t live receiving everything as gift from God. You act as if God were not on the scene at all. The battle still rages, unyielding.
Oh, but God is on the scene. The Victor has much more powerful weapons. He arms you with the waters of your baptism, with His Word, with the very weapon that destroyed the enemy once and for all, His body and His blood! He gives this to you, daily and bountifully. He takes upon Himself all of your sin. Those things which you hate to do but still do and those which you are called to do but do not do. He has taken it all upon Himself and has given His righteousness to you. He forgives you. He freely gives you salvation and eternal life.
The Christian life is a battle. When you struggle with the law and are on the brink of despair, you do not need to struggle more trying to do good. There is no hope there. It always shows your utter failure. Yes the enemies weapons are powerful. But the gifts that God has given to you in the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, are immeasurably more powerful. Those gifts have been given to you for your forgiveness, your life and your salvation.