Another school year has just passed. What have you learned this year? How are you different saying goodbye to your class on GP7 from when you logged on to your first class of the school year on GP6? How have you grown in your character and in your relationships—particularly with God?
I entered the empty sanctuary on the day we celebrated Jesus’ resurrection. I sat down and wrote a single sentence: “Jesus died—and rose—that you may conquer sin, not that you will continue to live in it.”
By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? ~ Romans 6:2
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. ~ Romans 8:37
We all have sin in our lives. Perhaps we dismiss it as not a big deal or perhaps we do not want to fight it. It may mean giving up pleasure or taking down your pride.
Oftentimes, it boils down to understanding and taking to heart that God’s way is infinitely better than our way.
… For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God,
the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. ~ Romans 6:21-22
The sermon that Sunday was titled “The Battle Belongs to the LORD.” The LORD fights our battles. He holds the outcome in His hands. We must hand him the battles. And we must fight. What sort of battle would it be if one just gives way before the enemy?
Jesus is speaking privately with his disciples–evidently about some grave matter. A young man breaks out, “Teacher tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” What is so urgent that he must interrupt such a serious demeanor?
Jesus replies, “Take care, and be on guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). He tells of a wondrously prosperous man. This man had an abundant harvest and planned to tear down and rebuild his storehouses. “‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years, relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’” (Luke 12:19-20).
Jesus is not just warning against riches, but against all earthly treasures and all earthly valuables that cannot last eternally: “This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” Suppose you were to die today. Are you able to say with confidence as the apostle Paul did, “To live is Christ, and to die is gain?”
He who is not prepared for eternity and thinks himself secure—Jesus says he is a “Fool!”
“So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God”
~ Luke 12:21
“… Therefore,” since a fool is not prepared for eternity, “… do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.” (Luke 12:22-23).
Jesus then illustrates God’s providence with several examples from nature. What does obtaining the necessities of life have to do with preparing for eternity? Verse 23 says, “For life is more…” This phrase extends beyond survival. None of our worldly things give life purpose, as Jesus just stated. Because a fool is not prepared for eternity and because your life is far more than earthly things, you should keep your eyes on the things above.
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is,
seated at the right hand of God..” ~ Colossians 3:1
The happiness you will get out of this world pales in comparison to our all-glorious God.
This is what was meant when Jesus says, “Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you” (Luke 12:31) and when he commands, “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12:33-34).
If your treasure is ultimately secure in heaven, your heart will be secure. If your treasure is not secure, your heart will be insecure as well.
“The Battle Belongs to the LORD” means that God has conquered. It means that every one of our struggles with sin belongs at the LORD’s feet.
Perhaps it is the way you spend your time or the way you interact with your friends. Perhaps it is the tension between you and a parent. But every single one of those sins that you do not want to face, the LORD has declared war against.
The reason why we still cling to them is because somewhere amongst it all is one of our earthly treasures taking precedent over eternal ones.
Life! life! eternal life!
On the evening of Easter, my dad read from the beginning of Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. One passage in particular struck me. It was right after Evangelist told Christian where he must go to flee from destruction: “So I saw in my dream that the man began to run. Now he had not run far from his own door, but his wife and children, perceiving it, began to cry after him to return; but the man put his fingers in his ears, and ran on, crying, Life! life! eternal life! So he looked not behind him, but fled towards the middle of the plain.”
Was Christian’s family a bad thing? Certainly not. Christian certainly cared very much for his family, but his priority was in eternity. That was a battle fought and a temptation vanquished.
As you move on to a new summer, remember always that the Battle belongs to the LORD. He is the conqueror, and every single sin and battle belongs at His feet–every single one.
Put your treasures in heaven, and set your sights on eternity. Fighting sin and following the LORD may force you to sacrifice many things, but in the end, it brings joy and peace and hope everlasting. Nothing in this world will last–not the good nor the bad.
“The LORD is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
When evildoers assail me
To eat up my flesh,
My adversaries and foes,
It is they who stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war arise against me,
Yet I will be confident.
One thing have I asked of the LORD,
That will I seek after:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
All the days of the life,
To gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
And to inquire in his temple.”
~ Psalm 27:1-4
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