Onward Christian Soldiers: Facing the Battles Ahead

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Christian face a multi-front battle: A global pandemic, restrictions on gathering, growing persecution, silencing of conservative voices, and decreasing followers. But the Bible shows us hope and future victory.

“You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”

–2 Timothy 2:3

The above Bible verse was the inspiration for the 19 century English hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers.”

The above Bible verse and the lyrics of this famous hymn are symbolic of the mental attitude Christians need to develop as they face the challenges of a changing world in the year 2020 and beyond.

Things that must occur

In one of the most profound and potentially frightening prophecies in the Bible, Jesus tells us of some of the things that are to come. But our Lord prefaces it with “see that you are not alarm,” reminding us that these things “must take place.”

6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. 9 Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

– Matthew 24:6-14

As Christians with Bible knowledge, we should not be unduly surprised at the things we see happening around us. At the same time, because we have this awareness, we should trust even more so in God’s word. If God had the prescient knowledge to see future turmoil, then we should also be equally comforted by our Creator’s forecast of future glory.

It’s going to get worse before it gets better

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

–John 16:33

Anyone who has suffered an injury, illness or undergone surgery knows that sometimes things get worse, more painful and difficult before they get better. But they do get better.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,”

–James 1:2

Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy. In fact, we tend to have a greater appreciation for the things we have to work harder to get. Nothing in life is free. Life is never easy for any of God’s living creatures.

Some of the trials that St. James was referring to were the temptations of good and evil. We have to practice discernment.

Trials we will go through as Christians will be those that challenge our faith. Christians will face challenges from others who try to diminish or keep us from practicing their faith. Christians will face those who want to call evil good and good evil, try to “reprogram” Christians to change their thinking in certain matters of their faith. Such things are already occurring now.

But “good Christian soldiers” must develop the hardness and perseverance spoken of in 2 Timothy 2:3.

The God of hope and victory

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”

–Romans 8:35

Develop a hopeful mindset

Worry is not the answer. Worry cannot change anything and is a waste of vital energy. Jesus said:

“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”

–Matthew 6:27

Never forget that, as a Christian, you have a weapon against despair. Your Lord is not a God of fear, but one of hope. Jesus does not want his followers to live in worry.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

– Philippians 4:6-7

Victory in Christ

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

– Romans 8:37

As a Christian, you already have victory in Christ.

 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

–John 3:16