When I was a child, my father and I watched a boxing match on television. After going through the ritual of punching the air, kicking his feet, and putting rosin on his shoes, one of the fighters knelt in the corner and crossed himself. I asked my dad if that helped. He said, "It does if he can punch. If he can't punch, it doesn't help at all."
That illustrates a point we touched on yesterday and will explore further today: God's part and our part in spiritual warfare. Many Christians believe that spiritual victory comes simply by surrendering more completely to God. They quote verses like 2 Chronicles 20:15 to support their view: "The battle is not yours but God's." "Stop struggling and striving," they say. "Instead, yield and completely surrender yourself to God. He alone does the fighting and gives the victory."
Such people are often called "Quietists" because they view the Christian's role in spiritual warfare as passive or quiet. Their anthem is "Let go and let God."
But Scripture gives a very different view of the believer's role. It pictures the Christian life as a war, a race, and a fight. We depend on God's energy, power, and strength, but are by no means passive. We're commanded to apply ourselves to good deeds, resist the devil, bring our bodies under subjection, walk in wisdom, press toward the prize, cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, work out our salvation with fear and trembling, and perfect holiness in the fear of God. Those are calls to fervent action.
In Ephesians 6:10-11 Paul says, "Be strong in the . . . strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God." That's the balance. God supplies the resources; we supply the effort.
Suggestions for Prayer
- Thank God for the strength He gives for spiritual victory.
- Ask for His wisdom in living a balanced Christian life.
Read 2 Peter 1:3-7.
- What does God supply for Christian living?
- What must you as a believer supply?