Stay the Course, Christian Life is a Battle

My favorite movie is The Patriot. Mel Gibson, in a stellar performance, reluctantly joins forces with his fellow colonial sympathizers in a battle against England because of the British king’s “taxation without representation.” Initially, he (Benjamin Martin) cites the fact that he has seven children whose mother is dead, and he does not have the luxury of fighting a battle against a “tyrannical king three thousand miles away.”

Subsequently, British soldiers begin to march like locusts across the landscape and homes of American colonists. Martin’s farm is targeted, and in the resulting skirmish one of his sons is killed and the other is taken prisoner of battle. Martin is drawn into the fighting and eventually leads a company of misfits and ill-trained farmers to fight in the American Revolution. Martin is later dubbed “the Ghost,” because of his surprise battle tactics, and at times almost single-handed fighting maneuvers. 

During the next four years he loses his home, another son, many of his fellow patriots, his new daughter-in-law; and faces, along with other bone-weary colonials, impending disastrous defeats at the hands of General Cornwallis, England’s premiere military leader. When things looked their worst, and defeat appeared imminent, Martin heard three words from his captain – words that his now dead son had echoed – “Stay the course.” A renewed hope for victory rises from within Benjamin Martin and the battle turns in favor of the colonists under his remarkable new resolve to fight and win!

The Christian life is not a playground, but rather a battle ground. We, who love the Lord, are in a battle for the souls of men. Our ultimate victory has been secured through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but we must daily remain firm in our resolve to push through enemy attacks. Sometimes we too are called upon to “stay the course.” The faith walk brings its share of challenges that threaten to sideline the most stalwart of God’s people. There are times when we need to regroup and push toward personal victory.

My heart goes out to those who after they come to faith in Christ, fail to press on toward spiritual maturity and who continue to live with one foot planted in the church and the other in their previous “world.” In other words, they want the best of both worlds. The Colonials understood that a clean break from England was the only way to free themselves from tyranny. Many have failed to understand that living for Jesus Christ mandates a clean break from their former lives of sin and ungodly attitudes. They are now “new creations,” and live according to higher, righteous standards of conduct and living. They are under new management and have a new “boss!” The apostle James adamantly opposes such double-mindedness and says that it leads to instability. Unstable individuals have no staying power, and sadly, many are taken back into their former life of sin and defeat.

In The Patriot, victory was secured because Benjamin Martin and his fellow colonials stayed the course. When confronted with life-threatening issues and impending defeat, they banded together in a resolve that won them a new nation. 

We are in the kingdom of God, and our ultimate victory remains sure, as long as we stay the course during difficult days – during the battles and trials of life. We are victorious through the blood of Jesus Christ and the power of his Spirit. However, there will be spiritual skirmishes along the way, when we are tempted to give up, when our faith wanes; but precious follower of Christ, stay the course. Keep your eyes not on the battle, but on the one who has already secured your victory.

Are you facing a difficult situation today? Is your faith being severely tested? Are you wanting to give up on the day of battle and return to your former way of life? Hold on! Stay the course! Your victory has already been assured. Help is on the way. Your deliverance is forthcoming. “God is the one who began this good work in you, and I am certain that he won’t stop before it is complete on the day that Christ Jesus returns” (Philippians 1:6). What God initiates, he finishes. He brings everything to a successful conclusion. 

So, keep praying. Daily read and study the Bible, God’s Word.  Do not allow disagreements and offenses to pull you out of God’s house and away from God’s people. Stay connected to the very source that introduced you to saving grace. Let nothing or no one hinder your race. Stay the course! Stand firm in the battleground!

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