The Warfare of a Christian
It is blessed and glorious to be a Christian. No other life is so beautiful and pure; no other life is so tranquilly peaceful; no other is so full of rest, happiness, and satisfaction. The Christian, however, does not go to heaven on flowery beds of ease. His pathway is not strewn with roses all the way; there is now and then a thorn. It is not sunshine all the time; now and then a shadow falls. To win heaven he must fight. There are some things to oppose a Christian on his pilgrimage to the skies, these he must contend against. The contending against those things prepares him for his blissful home above.
“All things work together for good to them that love God.” (Romans 8:28) Heaven’s blessings and hell’s venom, angels’ smiles and Satan’s frowns, comforts of grace and spiritual wickedness, good and ill, love and hatred, all work good to those who have union with God. It is the battle that disciplines and makes strong and brave the warrior, and not the victory. We are exhorted to “endure hardness, as a good soldier.” (2 Timothy 2:3) There are some things to endure along the Christian way. James says, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation.” (James 1:12) Temptations are outward influences acting upon our natural emotions and passions to induce the will to act contrary to the law of grace to satisfy self. We need not expect to be free from temptations; therefore let us settle it that we will endure them. It is really a blessed thing to endure them. You may think it would be a blessed thing to be free from them, but such would not be the case. It is more blessed to endure them. Temptations will never cease to attack the soul as long as it inhabits this “muddy vesture of decay.”1 Be brave, O soul, and endure temptations. Be brave and fight the good fight of faith. Do not faint because you have temptations. Do not fear because there are long and fierce battles to fight. Be strong and of good courage. It is a lifelong struggle, and it is also a lifelong victory, and in the end eternal victory. Strong and well-developed spiritual sinews are the result of resisted temptations.
[William Shakespear; The Merchant of Venice]
It is not sinful to be tempted. We never lose any spirituality by being tempted. It is the slight yieldings that cause a leaking, a loss of grace. Clear up the vision of your faith a little and take a look at your beautiful glittering “crown of life.” (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10) It is not gold, neither crystal. Do not look at it as such, but see it a crown of life. Yes, you will be crowned with eternal life if you will but endure temptation. Think of this in the hour of thy sore trial. Fight on; heaven awaits to reward you.