“When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you..” ( Deuteronomy 20:1).
Peter was one cool courageous fellow! Plucked out of his fishing job, which for a man of his energies, must have been rather boring, he was happy to take up second in command in Jesus’s army. He was never short of words or one who hesitated to take action. So quite aware of his gusto, once the Lord remarked, “Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it” (Mathew 16:18).
About some time later when Peter heard that everyone in Jesus army was to desert him, he immediately protested. “But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you” ( Mathew 26:35). He was not bluffing. The day soldiers arrived with swords, “Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear.” (John 18:12). Peter was ready for battle.
But then our friend was disappointed. For Jesus “commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” ( vv 11). Peter thought that physical battle was the thing. He was not aware there was also the spiritual battle.
For while the soldiers and high priests seemed overwhelming, there was another mighty army of angels guarding Jesus! It’s a fact that Jesus had to go through the torture of being arrested and crucified like a criminal but all was for a certain purpose- take up the sins of the world for our salvation.
Ultimately the victory Peter must have longed for was accomplished when Jesus triumphed over death. So, when like Peter you are faced with a battle and it seems the physical army before you is quite overwhelming, just know there is an army of angels eager and able to protect and deliver you, but only on the Lord’s schedule!
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, where I am faced with any forces raised against me, I know there is an army far greater than of the enemy, whose trust I put in you for victory belongs to you, this I pray in Jesus’s name.
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“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful” – ( 2 Timothy 4:7).
Fighting may be looked at as a non-desirable way of life, especially by those who are pacifists. In fact, throughout Christian history there are many who have literally taken Jesus’s admonition of “turn the other cheek” in Mathew 5:39, to mean nonresistance in the face of attack. The fact that Jesus rebuked the Apostle Peter for drawing a sword against his captors ( Mathew 26:52), means giving in to those who attack them, as a sign of humility.
Yes, of course there are moments where Christians must practice that humility and give in to those who attack them well remembering His word, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord” ( Romans 12:19). However, that said, Believers in Christ would be mistaken to imagine that they must not fight for their faith, whenever under attack. For in reality, the faith of believers is under constant attack from Satan, who comes to “kill and destroy” ( John 10:1).
Faced with this, Paul went at great length to advise Christians to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” ( Ephesians 6:11). To ward of constant attacks by the enemy Paul challenged us to “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” ( vv 14-17).
Paul is telling us that if you think that ours is a walk over faith where you are not going to fight back against the attacks of the enemy you are very mistaken. Fight we must, and hold our ground. The devil respects that! And when all is done, we can then gladly say, “we have fought the good fight, finished the race” and thank God Almighty we are free at last!
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise ready to resist the attacks of the enemy, by wearing the full of armor of God, and with the sword of the Spirit, fight back to victory, this I pray in Jesus’ name!