In troubled times, when our hearts are in turmoil, the fight of faith increases in intensity. We know that Jesus achieved victory, that he overcame, that he conquered Satan as he tried to foil God’s plans. Therefore, our hearts can be at peace … but we can’t be complacent. We too need to vanquish the enemy when he attacks. We achieve this victory by continuing to trust God for the grace we need in every situation. To help us fine tune our faith for this battle Jesus provided some powerful promises to motivate us to be conquerors. Indeed, “through him who loved us,” we can be assured of complete victory.
Remember your first love, from which you have fallen, and repent, and do what you first did. … To the conqueror I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God. Revelation 2:5–7
Being mortal in an unpredictable, corruptible world makes us tense and anxious, filled with a dread that colors everything we do. Even with Jesus as the ground of our hope, we struggle to remain faithful. Faced with evil we cannot condone, we grit our teeth and drive on. With grim determination we exert ourselves to hang on to what we’ve been taught by him and those he appointed to speak for him. While this effort comforts our minds, it often has a deadening effect on our hearts. As we struggle to keep our minds right, we can cut ourselves off from our hearts so that our love grows cold. But we don’t have to continue in such a sub-Christian lifestyle. Jesus fought for the truth and loved the people he fought for as well as those whom he fought against. It was his love that made the battle worth fighting. Doing good only matters if we’re doing good from a loving heart. This is the lifestyle Jesus modeled and the one he mandates. Just as God keeps us from being immortal in a corruptible world—which would be a miserable state—he holds out to us immortality in an incorruptible paradise in which we can have uninterrupted fellowship with him … if we will conquer the fear that locks love out of our hearts.
For your name’s sake, O Lord, strengthen our hearts so we can be victorious over our fears and model your love.