A Call to Arms
Is not this life nothing but a test? A test of wisdom. A test of faith. A test of truth. A test of perseverance. A test of courage. Ultimately, however, a test of love. How did we love? And what constitutes a successful life? Who, at the end of their days, can truly say “I loved well”? As was written in the previous blog, the call of Christ is a crucifixion of the self. Directly paired with this accompaniment of death in Christ is the abounding victory of eternal life. Throughout every aspect of our lives, whether in trials or triumphs, our choices ultimately glorify one of two things: God or the flesh. Indeed, to accompany death through the cross means to give one resounding answer in life: “To God be the glory.”
More than Conquerors
In many ways, war is the pinnacle of what it means to be tested, and the gauge of success is reliant upon the defeat of one's enemies. In the worldly wars of man, the failures of the flesh are put on display: death, injustice, destruction, retaliation, oppression, disease, decay, greed, rebellion, lawlessness… Whether it’s across the globe or in the streets, the wars and conflicts of mankind are amalgamations of sin; they are the largest and purest scale on which we can witness the manifestations of the self. And, in war, humankind is utterly tested in its ability to love; more often than not, the flesh fails and love is smothered.
It is all the more imperative, then, to ask the question: what is my life glorifying? Where man’s war for the flesh produces death and destruction, there is another greater war being waged that produces life. When one has relinquished their life into the hands of Christ, the war for their eternity has been won; they have accepted the victory that Jesus has already achieved. At the same time, however, a new war begins. For those of us who call ourselves Christians, the call to arms is conquest.
As Paul establishes in his letter to the Romans, we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. Conquest and the act of conquering means to gain or acquire by force [especially territory taken in war]; to be victorious. Through the process of bearing our cross, we are taking our territory back from the enemy both within ourselves and our world. Has Christ won the war? Yes. Do we still have bounds within ourselves to which our faith is waiting to breakthrough? To some degree, yes--you and I are not perfect as Christ is; the resurrection has not taken place yet. Therefore, just as our war of sanctification is being continually waged, so too is our conquest of this life.