By your endurance you will gain your lives.

Luke 21: 19

 

This is probably one of the strangest pre battle speeches that was ever given. Jesus has indicated to His soldiers that they are more likely than not to die in the course of the affairs that are soon to enfold. He also reassures them greatly, I am sure, when He tells them that He will certainly die before the contest is finished. These are not the kinds of things that commanders tell their troops or that coaches speak to get their teams ready for what is coming. Yet, Jesus is honest. He was so with His disciples, and He remains brutally honest to this day. Truth is the foundation of what He offers, and this truth is something that equips each of us to follow Christ along the path that He has determined for us and into the our callings as His body.

 

Just before His arrest, trial, and execution Jesus gave the people who were committed to Him a very graphic picture of what the world would look like for them in the days to come. These same images, with their own evolutionary twists and a few modern adjustments, apply to our times as well. The disciples were engaged in a contest with evil for the souls of people and for the righteous care of the rest of creation, and we are involved in a continuation of that same struggle. They were not battling against a culture that had gone astray, and we are not primarily warring against one that has gone off its rails, either. You can almost pick your own metaphor for it all as we let the genie out of the bottle, or we made our own bed, or possibly we tipped over the apple cart. Regardless of how we say it, we people determined that we had it right and that God’s way was an impediment to our greater good. Thus, we will spend our lives in the midst of this struggle against the evil that we set free.

 

This fight will be costly. There is no way around this fact as there is no easy path, no fast-pass lane to buy our way through it all. We get to live each day as it is delivered to us, and we will get to experience the struggles and the losses that will come to us. Yet, the struggle is not the end of the story. In fact, the struggle is just our tale of faith’s beginning point. Christ enters into each of these days with us, and He takes us with Him into this contest with all that is standing in opposition to Him and to God’s righteous love. With Christ we are here to seek out souls who are in need of a Savior, and we are tasked with pouring out His love, grace, mercy, and peace upon the people and the world where we dwell. Again, this is not a battle with culture or even with the systems of this world; rather, this life that we have been granted by Christ is to be lived out in purposeful testimony to the God that we serve and to Jesus Christ who saves. As we stay true to this course and allow Christ to provide us with the strength to complete the mission that He has given to us, we will be truly alive and live out our allotted days surrounded by the presence of the Lord.