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Never Say Die

        Sometimes life is hard.

         But we learn fairly young in life that we must press on and overcome whatever difficulty we are facing because the alternative is much worse.

         In fact, there is really no comparison.

         Even if we never achieve the goal or actually fully overcome and get past major obstacles and setbacks, there is at least a good feeling that we tried, that we made the attempt, and that we gave it everything we had.

         In sports, losing is not as bad if we give everything we have and “leave it all on the field.” Of course, losing is bad. Losing is really bad. I hate losing. Being very competitive by nature and by choice, I know that making peace with the idea of losing is a terrible thing to do. But if one has done everything one can possibly do (and that always involves doing things we never thought we were capable of doing), we can eventually get past the loss and get on down the road.

         But it depends on how we lost. If we know we gave it our all and that there was nothing more that could have been done, we have a victory of sorts in our hearts. And it is the kind of victory that allows us to feel okay about ourselves, and not get down on ourselves, and keep the fires stoked for the next opportunity to win.

         I am not afraid of the devil. Yes, he is a very powerful spiritual entity that can wreak the very worst forms of destruction and wickedness. And yes, he sometimes gets us. He sometimes inflicts serious damage. I mean, as wicked as humanity can be, there is no way humanity can reach such incredible forms of wickedness and evil without some serious help. We know as Christians that there is a devil and that he can do some damage. The devil working in concert with unregenerate humanity has proven to be a lethal combo throughout history, and there is plenty of evidence to support this.

         Yet, if one is not a real Christian one will not perceive any devil. The devil, through his great powers of deception, can easily keep sinful human beings in the dark and remain invisible. In fact, non-Christians often scoff at the idea of a devil and of wicked unseen entities existing upon this planet.

         But the Lord Jesus knew such entities existed. In fact, He could see them. He addressed them. And they talked back. He was not afraid of the devil and He taught us the same. To respect one’s enemy is a good thing. To fear one’s enemy is to not have faith against one’s enemy. And if that happens, one will find oneself up a creek without a paddle. One will have no return volley or return fire or a bigger punch. Instead of fighting even harder to overcome the enemy and the obstacle, fear causes one to give in. One will surrender. That’s what fear without faith does. It causes eventual surrender.

         Real fighters, however, never surrender. Real Christians have no fear of their enemies. If one respects his enemy and knows he is in for a tough fight, he will have a much better chance of victory. But to fear one’s enemy is to lose before the battle is ever engaged.

         But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. [1 Peter 3:14-17]

         Though we face formidable foes, the Lord empowers us to kick their rear ends all over creation. That’s what He did. Dying on the cross was not what unbelievers would call much of a victory, but for real Christians, He is our great King because He defeated hell, He defeated death, and He defeated the grave. He fought with everything He had to resist all temptation and live a life completely devoid of any sin. Most of the rest of us already commit our first sins as little kids, right out of the chute. But not the Lord. And as a result, when He died, HE COULD NOT STAY DEAD. Sin had no hold on Him. He defeated sin. He defeated the world. And He mopped up the parking lot with the devil.

         So even though the devil is still a bad dude, he’s got asphalt stuck in his face and elbows and knees, and regarding the Lord, is a thoroughly defeated foe.

         But the Lord, from His good heart and wonderful grace, has blessed each of His sons and daughters with their own opportunity to whip the devil. He allows for spiritual fights to take place. He trains us for battle and sends us into war having full confidence that we can also get our licks in and overcome any obstacle any enemy might put before us.

         So remember, living some sort of “perfect” Christian life in some sort of faux American dream or “hippiefied flowers in your hair peace love dove nothing bad ever happens to me” is a bean dream, even though many fake Christian ministers tell us we can, and that it should be one’s primary goal. However, if one does manage to live such a life on this planet, it exposes the fact he is not fighting the devil. It illustrates such a one has made peace with the devil. And it reveals a person in league with the devil.

         “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

         “But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE.’” [John 15:18-25]

         The bottom line, ladies and gentlemen, is that real Christians are in a real fight, and as in any war, there will be casualties. But the victor who suffers on the field of battle continually gets back up to fight another day, and this absolutely infuriates the devil and this fallen world. The evil one hates the fact that he can throw everything at us and still not defeat us. He considers himself and his hordes far superior and it causes him untold grief every time a son or daughter of the Lord Jesus gets back up and fights on though horrifically battered and bruised.

         Through such valiant and stalwart action, warriors for the Lord look directly into the enemy’s eyes and fearlessly express something to the effect, “Is that all you got?”

         …Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. [1 John 4:4] [1]

         © 2013 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. 


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.