Sometimes you have said all that you can say and done all that you can do, and the outcome seems murky at best. Few times in life is the battle anything short of a thousand-year war, rarely is the race documented by splits. Yes, splits are important, and yes battles ultimately win the war, but the reality is that more often than not, even the minor victories can be be overshadowed by the ongoing struggle. You might kill one mile, but the task of many more ahead can damper your spirit.
“…and he said, ‘Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the LORD to you, “Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s”.'”
– 2 Chro 20.15
We certainly play a role in the big picture. But our role is obedience. We hear the Word of God and we submit to it. We fight sin. We are active in the Church. We share the Gospel with non believers and we train up new believers, holding them accountable and helping them to obey God. But the battle is already won. The end has already been written. And God causes the growth.
“The Lord will fight for you, you need only to keep silent.”
– Ex 14.14
Sometimes we need to get out of the way for the Lord. We can beat a dead horse but it will not run. But God is sovereign over salvation, maturity and everything that happens on this Earth.
“So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.”
– 1 Cor 3.7
And quite frankly, the reality is that before growth can occur, the seed must die.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
– John 12.24
God causes growth through dead seeds. This is a mystery, both in agriculture and in Spiritual matters. Scripture teaches us that we are all dead, spiritually, until God gives us a new birth: a Spiritual birth. And the outplaying of that Spiritual birth is our surrender, when we die to ourselves and let God take over to bring about new life. Spiritual life. Life that honors Him and is life in the fullest.
We will never persuade someone to follow Christ. And if we do persuade someone, then they have been won on a superficial level only. Only God gives true life, and true growth. So let us not be surprised that the World acts like the World; that Spiritually dead people disobey the mandates of God. Let us say all that God has to us to say, let us fight the good fight, but let us rest well in the fact that God has every step of this planned. Jesus promises us that the world will devolve into chaos ad tribulation before the end will come.
“You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.”
– Matt 24.6-13
But the one who perseveres until the end will be saved. Push on. It will all be worth it in the end. Be on guard lest your love grow cold and lest you be led astray. It will all be worth it in the end. And the battle belongs to the Lord.