Courage, Good Intentions Not Enough To Fight Spiritual Battles

Ernest-Onuoha “Peter said to Him, even though they all fall away, I will not” (Mark 14:29)

FOR our meditation today, it is important that we put ourselves on notice particularly on issues about spiritual battles, which are not only fought on the altar of courage or good intentions, but are to be won by prayer and trust in the all sufficient grace of Jesus Christ. Therefore, after the institution of the last supper, Jesus and His disciples sung a hymn and thereafter went to the Mount of Olives. According to tradition, the hymn sung was meant for Passover meal and was likely to have been taken from Psalms 115-118. This hymn, however, set the tone for Jesus’ teaching on how His disciples, including Peter would desert Him. He was at pain, when He said: “you will all fall away, for it is written, I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered.” (Mark 14-27). We read further Jesus’ prediction about His disciples’ desertion, (Luke 22 v 31-34, Jh 13 v 36 -38). Despite this scenario painted by Jesus, Peter was ambitious “even though they all fall away, I will not….”

It is unfortunate to see the assertive Peter cut down to size. His subsequent denial, as predicted by Jesus, was therefore not a surprise. This should put every child of God on notice that we must take to heart that the Satan never gives notice about temptation and when he strikes, usually it’s to cause a great fall and to ridicule the believer. Yes, no one had expected that the audacious Peter would fall so soon for he had boasted: “even though they all fall away, I will not….” The apostle Paul was right when he said: “let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he falls, (1 Cor.10 v12).

However, in life, we see that some people do have courage and are fearless. But when confronted with some situations, they may likely stagger in their faith in the Lord. We observe at the outset that they may have good intentions to pull through but at the end it may not be so. It becomes more serious, especially when spiritual matters are concerned. Some great men, including Peter, have fallen and more may likely follow, if care is not taken. It is not a time of boasting or over indulgence in logic, but a time one needs to be certain that he or she is not engaged with the antics of the evil one, who is always looking for a loop hole to cause a great fall. We need to advise on issues concerning spiritual matters that courage and good intentions are not enough. Rather, we need to lean on the Holy Spirit for guidance and help in order not to make a mess of faith and ourselves in the Lord.

Expectedly, believers are called upon to sincerely learn from the mistakes of others like Peter so that they do not repeat those mistakes. It is good to point out that the believer should depend upon the all-sufficient grace of Christ. Therefore, no matter the intentions or courage we may seem to exhibit, we should not fail to have recourse to the Author and Finisher of our faith — Jesus Christ. As we prepare for this year’s Christmas, we need to sincerely remind believers that issues of spiritual matters are fought and won on our knees. Remember, the devil does not care whether you are a spiritual giant or not. His mission has always been to ensure that a believer’s spirituality is reduced to the barest minimum. But our candid advice is that all children of God should be on guard and ensure that they are always in tune with the Lord of life. It is, therefore, my prayer that the Lord will teach us always to know how weak we are and so lean on Him for strength.

Ven. Ernest Onuoha

Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.

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