“to wage good warfare”

“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you…”
(Ephesians 1:16-18)

Perhaps the mightiest of all challenges, the steepest test of all quest-takers today is to know with all certainty what is the glory of our hope. The longing to see it with the eyes of our hearts, and not just visualizing it it in mind’s eye. It is a spiritual battle that tests even the most trained, the best equipped, the sufficiently prepared. It cannot be fought with a phone in our faces, or a television in our eyesight, or a computer screen glare in our eyes. It must be done in a position of ultimate humility. It must be done on our knees.

Our Adversary despises the songs of the saint, he abhors the prayers of the petitioner, he recoils at the requests of the redeemed. The deadliest essence of sin is in what he labors for the most: our unbelief. He does not want us to think clearly about our sins. He does not want us to wage wondrously good warfare for truth. He does want the gospel to be heard to all. He does not want our voices to be consistent and loud.

His doom is sure, and he knows it. It’s thrilling to know that he knows. But it’s dangerous. It’s costly. There is no guarantee of our comfort as we fight for truth, contend (agonizomai literally “agonizing”) for the faith, declare good news for the downtrodden. There will be no acceptance from our opposition.

And it’s worth it.

God of mercy, grace and peace
To your world of work-release
Entrust in faith the earnest charge
Guard in love, our hearts discharge
To wage good warfare without fear
Cast falsehood far, draw sinners near
Silence those against the Word
Keep the gospel we have heard

Jesus, sinners come to save
Your perfect patience to display
Appeared in flesh for all to see
How in Your presence we might be
Joined together as family
Free from partiality
Unstained ’til the day draws near
Lord to all, You will appear

Spirit, the Christ did vindicate
The Lord You make us imitate
Watch our life and what we teach
Make us examples, we beseech
Of everything He did and said
By doing so, His Word will spread
In us, and our hearers, too
All our hearts, You will renew

Trinity, uphold this church
Make us stewards of Your Word
Give us officers to lead
Elders to teach, and live our creed
Deacons merciful indeed
Mysteries of the faith to heed
That we stand as pillars of
Grace You give us from above

– David Gentino, 2014

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