Winning battles wins the war
Our goal should be to win the war. We might lose some battles, but it does not mean we cannot win the war. Yet a war is never won when every battle is lost. We need to focus on winning the battles, but not become discouraged and give up if we fail in a skirmish.
A Chinese man Sun Tzu said,
Every battle is won before it’s ever fought.
Sun Tzu was a military strategist and general who wrote the book The Art of War. There is a greater Strategist that we can go to when we need to to face our personal wars.
What war are you facing today? Are you fighting doubt, fear, anger, bitterness, faithlessness, or worry? We face battles every day, and winning battles guarantees that we can win the war. Success builds success, and victory builds on victory.
Was what Sun Tzu said correct? Does winning a battle begin before the fight even starts?
For Daniel, who knew that a den of lions awaited if he continued praying to his God, the battle was won before it took place. He had the choice of praying in secret, not praying at all, or continuing to do what he had always done. Daniel chose the latter and ended up spending the night with lions. He did not know what would take place in that den, but he knew what he had to do: be faithful. The mouths of the lions were sealed, and Daniel was unharmed. Just remember that when Daniel opened his window toward the east and prayed, he didn’t know the lions mouths’ would be sealed.
For the shepherd boy David, the battle against Goliath was won before he chose those five smooth stones. He knew that God was on his side but he still had to swing that sling and let the stone fly through the air. David was a boy who faced the challenge of winning battles as he protected the sheep from harm by acting as protector and warrior. He used the same tactic with the giant, and he won.
Queen Esther knew that going before the king could cost her her life. Her uncle Mordecai helped her understand the importance of remaining faithful. Her presence in the castle was specifically for “such a time as this”. Esther was called to help save her people, not to be the queen. Her presence in the castle might have been because of how the king viewed her beauty, but God used that beauty and her abilities to get her there. Her presence was really about winning battles for her people.
The stories of these people chronicle well that the battle cry is the Lord’s. He wants us to participate like these people did.
The call for us
It’s easy to look at these people and be impressed at their fortitude because we know the end of the story. Yet these people did not know the end of the story when they were at the beginning of theirs. These people did not know how the battles would play out or if they would survive physically. They only knew they were in the battle. No matter the cost, God asked them to be faithful. They survived spiritually and won because of their faithfulness, not the end result. They won the day before the battle really started. We can do the same.
Prayer is the battle cry for winning battles
To do battle, we must do three things.
- Understand the battle. David knew the battle was about the Almighty God and not about the Israelites. The battle belongs to God. Remember that. Ask God for wisdom. Then listen. He gives wisdom when we ask.
- Understand the enemy. Our enemy is not the people who have betrayed or hurt us. It is not the folks who encourage us to give up or give in to worry and doubt. Our enemy is Satan. He wants nothing more than to watch us sink in defeat. We are fighting against him, and it’s not a battle against flesh and blood.
- Commit to Victory. Sound the battle cry by praying! Keep praying. Do not stop praying. We will one day share in the Glory of Christ if we stay faithful.
In His High Priestly prayer, Jesus talks to His Father while the disciples listen. In this prayer, He prays for each one of us. He did not pray that the disciples would have an easy life. Jesus did not pray for financial success or prestige for His followers. He prayed that we will be in the world and not of it. That’s where the battle lies!
Action is the battle line
We can cower and hide, praying for deliverance and help. We must also get in line for the fight. Sometimes this means praying specifically for someone; sometimes we have to return good for evil. There are times we should pray for wisdom; other times we don’t need to ask for wisdom because we already know what we must do.
David gathered five smooth stones and went to meet Goliath. Daniel went to his room and opened the windows like before. Esther asked the Jewish people to fast and pray for three days; then she donned her best robes and went to meet the king, risking death because she went uninvited.
What does God want you to do? If you don’t know for certain, then ask. If you know, then get busy. Gather stones, open a window, or meet the king. The battle is not yours. The battle is the Lord’s.