Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Warfare

Spiritual warfare is not quite the hot topic it once was, but it still commands some attention. Usually when people are talking about it they are referring to some sort of conflict with demonic powers. In some cases, these conflicts are merely imagined. But the real warfare is not nearly so "glamorous".

We fight in this warfare daily. Our enemies are the devil, the flesh, and the world. They are ruthless in their onslaught. They are especially so on those weakest among us. They are relentless in their efforts. Unfortunately, a great many of us are not even aware of their tactics and that we have been taken prisoner.

We fight daily to be holy. We fight against our own sinful inclinations. We fight against a worldly philosophy that has been embraced by many of our own brothers and sisters in Christ. This war is constant and intense.

How do we fare? That depends in large part on how aware we are of the warfare itself. Do we understand that when we are tempted the battle is being waged in earnest? How do we respond? Do we cave in easily? Do we run and hide? Do we grumble and complain? Do we whine? Or do we stand and fight?

Fighting is hard. It requires spiritual stamina. The battle will not be over in a few minutes. In some cases it will literally last a lifetime. We must endure. We must be strong. We must be courageous. We must be skillful in battle. That requires a thorough knowledge of the Word, a steadfast faith in our Lord, and a seasoned prayer life complemented by the Sacraments.

What if we fail? God is merciful. He will forgive, restore, and equip for future battles. But once we have given ground it will be all the harder to re-take it. Still, if we will endure, we may be confident of God's strength to assist us to victory.

For those who are victorious, we gain a place with the saints through the ages who have been renown for their heroic virtue and holiness. The prize, of course, is eternal life, which is to become one with our God and Father through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Because this warfare takes place so much in the realm of what is not seen, we often make the mistake of imagining that it is not real. But it is real. It is very real. So fight on, dear brother and sister. Our Lord has gone before us, victorious in battle. We have the privilege of treading where He has trod. He has given us all we need to join Him in victory. But the battle remains ours and He will not take it from us. Fight on then in the sure knowledge of victory. Fight with all your might. Fight till the last when you will be rewarded with an everlasting crown. Fight the good fight and win in the warfare!

1 comment:

joni said...

Too often, I find it easier to back down, rather than face the fight. But then I find that I am weaker the next time the battle heats up.

Thanks for the encouragement to fight on!