by: Allen Domelle
Battles, we all hate them. Yet, if you could only understand the benefits of battles you would see that they are not as bad as you think. Yes, there are casualties in battles, which nobody likes to see, but if you look beyond the battle and see the benefits that come from them, you can see why you need to go through them.
Throughout my lifetime, I have had my share of battles. Growing up in a preacher’s home placed me in battles that were not of my own choosing. I watched my parent’s battle low finances. I watched my father go through six church splits, and none of them seemed to be beneficial at the time. I can remember the last split my father went through, those who were instigating the battle actually came to me and wanted me to vote against my father. It was quite the ordeal.
Since entering into the ministry myself, I have had my own battles that I’ve had to endure and trust me, I have not asked for any of them. The personal attacks, lost friends, stress and sleepless nights have not been enjoyable. Yet, if you were to ask me if I would go through the battles again, I would answer affirmatively every time. Though I would not want to again face the hardships that each battle brought, I do want the results that each battle gave me.
When studying the Scriptures, you will find that battles come in many different forms. First, you will have to fight personal battles. Paul said in Romans 7:23, “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” Paul was showing the battle between the flesh and the Spirit. This battle is a lifelong battle.
Second, you will fight health battles. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Paul asked God three times to remove a physical ailment that he suffered, but God responded to him by telling him that His “grace is sufficient.” In other words, the battle for some will be with their health.
Third, you will have personality conflicts. Acts 15:39 says, “And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;” Paul and Barnabas fought with each other over a preference. One thought it was not good to bring Mark with them on their journeys while the other thought it would be beneficial. The result of this conflict caused them to separate from each other, and as far as the Scriptures show, these two men never joined up with each other again. Truly a sad story.
Fourth, you will have to fight battles of personal attacks. David says in Psalm 41:9, “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.” This was certainly a great battle that David fought when he was personally attacked by Saul. David did nothing wrong. In fact, David was simply doing what he was supposed to do when Saul turned on him. Yet, some will find themselves having to fight battles of personal attacks.
Fifth, you will have to fight family battles. You see a family battle in 2 Samuel 15 when Absalom turned on David. David provided a good life for Absalom, but because Absalom didn’t like how his father handled the affair with his sister, he turned on him. This family battle is one of the most famous family conflicts in history. Sadly, family conflicts still exist today. As much as we try to avoid them, there are going to be disagreements between family members that can land you in a battle that you did not choose to fight. We all hope never to have family battles, but some will indeed face these battles.
Sixth, you will fight spiritual battles. What I mean by this is you will have to take a stand for truth at some time in your life. Jude 1:3 says, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” I find that many Christians try to avoid battles is in this area. Most Christians don’t have the stomach to fight compromise. You see compromise all around, but many will not fight it for the sake of getting along. Whether or not you like it, you are going to face this battle several times in your life.
Seventh, you will fight spiritual warfare battles. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” This is certainly an offshoot of spiritual battles, but this battle is unseen. It is a warfare against Satan and his forces. Too many people don’t like to talk about this type of battle, but they are out there. You fight this battle everyday of your life. Though Satan’s ultimate battle is against God, by default you will fight this battle because you are a Christian.
Eighth, you will fight a battle to keep going. Jeremiah wanted to quit in Jeremiah 20:9 when he said, “Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” Elijah wanted to quit in 1 Kings 19:4. It says, “But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.” Paul warned us that we would want to quit in 2 Thessalonians 3:13 when he says, “But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.” If you do anything for God, there are going to come times when you will have to fight and not quit.
Friend, whether or not you like it, you are going to face several of these battles in your lifetime. I have faced most of these battles in my own life, and I have watched Christians go through these same battles. Yet, one may ask, “Why do we need these battles?” Let me show you five reasons why you need battles in your life.
WHY YOU NEED BATTLES
1. They keep you Scriptural.
You will find that battles will cause you to run to the Scriptures. In every battle that I have faced I’ve run to the Scriptures to be sure I was right. When people attack me for my stance, I immediately run to the Scriptures to be sure that my stance is correct. When I’m attacked, I run to the Scriptures to be sure I’m acting properly and that my attitude is right. No matter what your battle is, God allows them to come into your life so that you will run to the Scriptures to find the answers for each battle. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”
Your battle will cause you to seek an answer from the Word of God. Fighting over your own beliefs won’t be enough. You need an authority to back you, and that authority is the Word of God. Every time a battle comes your way, you should immediately run to the Scriptures to be sure that your enemies are not right in what they say about you. Every battle you face should cause you to know the Scriptures more, because you run to them to find the answers for your battle.
2. They help to clean up your life.
Proverbs 27:19 says, “As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.” It amazes me how the LORD shows me something in my life that I need to clean up through every battle I face. Battles put pressure upon you. Pressure always reveals the cracks that need to be fixed. Each battle should reveal something on which you need to work. It could be that there is a part of what your enemies are saying about you that is true. If it is true, then don’t let your pride cause you not to admit that you are wrong. God may have allowed you to face that battle so you can clean up that portion of your life.
At other times, you will find your weaknesses when you are alone pouring your heart out to God. I have found many of my weaknesses in battles while pouring my heart out to God. Often, when I’m going through battles, I will take long walks and talk out loud to God and tell Him how I’m feeling. When I say I tell Him how I’m feeling, trust me, I become very blunt with God. I’m always amazed what I find out about myself during these times. It is like God’s Holy Spirit forces me to look at myself. I’m always thankful for this step in a battle because God gives me a chance to correct something that is not right.
3. They build a fire in you.
Jeremiah’s battle with quitting lit a fire in his heart. He fought the fire, but eventually the battle lit a fire that forced Jeremiah to keep on going and preaching the Word of God. Battles have a way of lighting a fire inside of you. Things that you would not fight before, you are now willing to start fighting. When the church in the Book of Acts was being persecuted, it lit a fire in them to go out and start churches all over the world. That fire eventually caused them to turn their world upside down for Christ. You will find many of the great works of history were the result of a battle. Though these who performed these great works did not seek the battles, when they came it caused a new fire to be lit inside of them to do more for Christ.
4. They get you out of your comfort zone.
One of the greatest benefits I have received from battles is that they always get me out of my comfort zone. Everybody likes to stay within the boundaries in which they are comfortable. Battles have a way of forcing you to get outside of the boundaries of your comfort zone. It’s not saying that you are not presently doing anything for the LORD, it’s just that you are not willing to leave your comfort zone and do more.
Again, referring to the early church in the Book of Acts, they were very comfortable with building a large church in Jerusalem, yet that was not God’s plan for the church. God’s plan for the church was to bring the Gospel to the world. The persecution they faced forced many who would have never started a church to run for their lives and start a church wherever they fled.
You must be careful about avoiding battles because they are the stimuli that God uses to help you get out of your comfort zone. God knows when you need to do more for Him, and He will force you through a battle to get you out of your comfort zone. Many of the ministries I’ve started were started in battles. I would have never started these ministries on my own, but the battles forced me out of my comfort zone and caused me to do more for Christ. If a battle causes you to get out of your comfort zone, then that battle is good.
5. They make you more soul conscious.
The most important benefit of battles is that they open your eyes to see the need of the world for Christ. Lamentations 3:48-51 says, “Mine eye runneth down with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people. Mine eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not, without any intermission, Till the Lord look down, and behold from heaven. Mine eye affecteth mine heart because of all the daughters of my city.” Every time I have gone through a battle, it has softened my heart and caused me to see the greater need for souls being saved.
Friend, you may not like the battles you face, but you must realize that battles are going to help you have a greater heart for souls. God says in Psalm 126:5-6, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” Yes, the battle may bring tears, but the joy of bearing fruit from the battles is always amazing. Think with me. If a battle causes you to get out of your comfort zone to do more for God, then that means that more souls will be saved. That then should remind you that battles are good for you because they help you to see more souls saved.
You have a choice, you can either run from the battles and become bitter, or you can accept the battles as God’s tool to make you better. Joseph did just that when he said in Genesis 50:20, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” If you will accept the battles that God sends your way, then God can also use you “to save much people alive.” Every battle you face will make you a better person if you will yield to God and allow the fire He sends you through to be the refiners fire that will allow you to come forth as gold.