We all face battles in our Christian lives and I don't mean the physical way necessarily (although many Christians in the world are persecuted in cruel ways), but I refer to the spiritual battle that we all have to face regardless of our level of maturity. If you've ever entered one of those fishing shops, you've seen that they have bait and hooks for all kinds of fish including "monsters". Likewise, regardless of how strong and experienced we as Christians might be, there are all sizes of temptations destined to put us down if possible, yet we know that we are more than conquerors trough Christ, the SON OF GOD.
Have you ever been in a situation where you knew the battle was approaching? I think we've all been and then the questions that pop up in our minds are: "Will I make it? Will it really hurt badly? Will I disappoint God or the people?" Apart from mere questions, fear has a tenacious way of creeping in our hearts and tries to discourage us even before the beginning of the battle. If we give in to fear and give up, the enemy has won, but if we hang in there, we can hear what God has to say in such moments, just take a look how God encouraged his people in Israel before they had to fight their enemies:
"When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army. He shall say: "Hear, Israel: Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them. For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory." Deuteronomy 20: 1-4
Isn't this a great promise? I love the way God puts it saying that when His people will see the other army that is more numerous and better trained they should not fear. What's more God uses here four synonyms of the same word so that we might understand: "Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified." Four ways of saying the same thing in these words: fainthearted, afraid, panic and terrified. Awesome loving God!
As this would not be enough, the passage in Deuteronomy continues with several extra questions where we can distinguish the deep consideration God has for His children. The army was inquired regarding personal situations with the following questions: "Has anyone built a new house and not yet begun to live in it?", "Has anyone planted a vineyard and not begun to enjoy it?", "Has anyone become pledged to a woman and not married her?", "Is anyone afraid or fainthearted?" The affirmative answer to these four questions lead to a single answer: "Let him go home..."
When making the parallel with our spiritual battles we don't have the option to "go home" do we? Maybe we do in the sense that if we don't think we are ready for that exam, God will repeat it until we pass and we've learned our lesson. It is normal to have the same test over and over because God wants to bring our character to perfection where we lack nothing, therefore, just like with those dental braces, one has to wear them for a relatively long time, a year or two usually until the teeth are placed the right way. Often times even after such a long period of wearing the dental braces, once removed, the dentists add a little device that has to guard the teeth for a while, to keep them in the newly achieved position.
Don't we as human beings have the same tendency? God our Father knows us much better than we know ourselves, so His methods are working the best and gentlest for us. Even the evil things the enemy tries to cause us pain with, God will ultimately turn even those into our advantage!
All the days of a Christian are a constant battle with at least three enemies (Satan, flesh and the world), but in the very midst of it God gives peace, love and all His children can choose to live victoriously. Therefore, when are about to face the enemy remember what God told His people and tells us today: do not fear, do not panic, no be fainthearted nor terrified!