In my battle against the spiritual forces of darkness, I don’t often feel like I’m doing real well. I keep trying harder and harder, and it results in my failing and failing. I find over and over again, that when it’s all about me and my effort, I just can’t measure up to God’s standard. I say stupid things! I think bad thoughts! I act in ways unbecoming of a soldier of Christ. The consequences of Romans chapter 7 seem to be mine. My inconsistent behavior, thought life, and tongue confuse me. I just don’t understand why this is part of my life. Why am I plagued with this radical inconsistency? Further, I feel guilt and shame. I’m frequently frustrated which almost always leads to discouragement. This then, leads me to the brink of despair.

Then I come to my senses and remember that the war has already been won. Jesus Christ won that victory on the cross for me. I must not let my connection with him get loose. It’s when I take my eyes off Jesus that I begin to drown in the sea of trouble. It’s when I put my mind on my own strength that my weaknesses overwhelm me. As I reconnect, the strength returns. The ultimate result is guaranteed. It’s so encouraging to know that complete and comprehensive victory is certain. When we look at ourselves in the light of God’s strict moral codes, called “the law” we see ourselves and our sin as clearly as the pimple on my chin when I look into the mirror. The law brings sin alive in our flesh and awakens our souls to our weaknesses. The interesting thing is that was its intent. Paul writes, “The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 5:20–21). You see, the victory is indeed ours. God’s grace always triumphs over man’s sin. The point is, as James M. Boice, puts it, “…regardless of how badly we may think we are doing now or how near despair we may be due to the intensity or duration of the struggle. It is the very knowledge of a final victory that will enable us to fight on.”

Boice goes on to illustrate his point: “When the armies of Oliver Cromwell were winning battle after battle in the English Civil War, it was said of them that they could not lose because they knew, even before they started to fight, that God had given them the victory. I do not know how true that was of Cromwell’s army. There were Christians on both sides of that conflict, and Cromwell’s cause was not entirely free of base motives. But whatever the case with Cromwell’s soldiers in those very human battles, the principle does hold true for us, the soldiers of Jesus Christ who are engaged in fierce spiritual warfare against sin. Apart from Jesus, not one of us can prevail for a moment. But united to him, we not only can prevail. We will.”