My biggest fight in this life is my fight with my own heart. In the midst of all the situations and temptations that are coming at all of us, we are constantly having our faith tested by the enemy of our souls, who is challenging what I really believe. Do I really believe the Scriptures when it says we are aliens and strangers in this world (1 Peter 2:11)? Do I believe my light momentary afflictions are working for a glory that is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:17)?
We don’t have to fear as we go through this world being salt and light because God said, “‘Fear not, for I am with you (Isaiah 41:10, NKJV),’” and our citizenship is not on Earth; our citizenship is in the joyful presence of God.
Do you think this is Heaven? Do you think this is the best of the best? Our Father says to us over and over again that He’s not working on earthly time; He’s working on eternity. And every bit of fire and every bit of pain and every bit of triumph and every bit of defeat has a great purpose if we will learn to trust Him. The greatest joy that we can experience happens when we say, “I’m all in, Lord. I will trust You.” Our living example is Jesus Himself when He said, “‘Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me (John 18:11)?’” Remember, that “cup” was the cross of Jesus Christ for us.
The greatest honor that you and I can pay to the living God, when everything seems to be turned upside down, is to stay in the game and find a basis for worshipping the Lord and thanking Him. While the Apostle Paul was in prison, he wrote most of his letters that became the Epistles and most of the truths of God that lead us to trust Him and thank Him. These came not in good circumstances but in hard and difficult circumstances.
The greatest dishonor that you and I can give to the Lord is a lack of trust. And our biggest fight daily is usually in saying, “I don’t understand, but my greatest joy is as You prove Your love for me when I was yet a sinner.” Yes, I trust Him and say, “Thank You, Father, for Your ways.”
This is where we need one another; none of us has it all together. As we navigate through life, we’ve got a very real enemy. Satan has lost the battle (if you’ve accepted Christ in your heart) as far as eternal life is concerned, but he wants to defeat us, to discourage us, to tempt us to compromise our values, to get us to buy into any and everything other than what the Bible says. If you don’t think Satan is real, and a lot of people don’t, we are duping ourselves. There is a real battle for the hearts and minds of people in the world today, and we as Christians must know that we don’t fight for victory but from victory.
When we go through tough times and fear rears its head, we have to get God’s perspective on our situation. Because of the independence of our own hearts, we tend to prefer the Jesus who gives us the windfall profit rather than the Jesus who says, “‘… take up your cross, and follow me (Matthew 16:24, NLT).’” Sure, I’m all in when it comes to the Jesus who helps me achieve my dreams and accomplish my business or ministry plan. But when my life gets turned upside down and I experience pain and suffering, it seems like I’m already ready to run from the real Jesus. The heart of Jesus always is seeking our highest good, even when there is immediate pain and sorrow. When I follow Jesus’ promise of losing my life for His name’s sake, I will truly find my life, find peace and joy that overflows into a voice of praise for His goodness and mercy.
“God’s deepest commitment to be glorified and my deepest longing to be satisfied are not in conflict but in fact find simultaneous consummation in His display of and my delight in the glory of God.” -John Piper
John's travels for ministry behind the Iron Curtain led him to found East-West Ministries International in 1993. John and his wife, Susie, live in Dallas, Texas and have a grown daughter and two grandchildren.