Many have heard the poem that begins, “In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” The rest of the poem tells why and where he sailed, that he landed on Oct. 12, 1492, in the Bahamas, just off the coast of what would become the USA, and that he sailed again and again. I recall hearing this much of another poem that began, “In nineteen hundred and forty-two,” but I never heard the rest.
As with my last article I looked up Oct.12 to see what else happened besides it being Columbus Day and I saw that a couple of battles ended on Oct. 12, 1942. In one, the U.S. Navy defeated the Japanese navy in the Battle of Cape Esperance during the Guadalcanal Campaign. While the outcome of that battle was of little military significance to either nation, it brought a great morale boost for the US Navy who had been defeated at that location earlier. Another morale boosting battle on Oct.12, 1942, occurred in Stalingrad (now Volgograd) when the 37th Russian Guard broke through the German lines surrounding a crucial tank factory. The German troops were likely more exhausted after the intense daily combat over the previous week, although, they had been prevailing.
The Christian life consists of daily battles against evil desires within us, some of which we win and some of which we lose (James 1:12-15; Romans 7:14-25). We must resist Satan during each attack to protect ourselves and to boost our strength against him (or allow God to do the boosting – James 4:7-10; Ephesians 6:10-18). The armor of God includes one piece that’s not specifically mentioned, although we could view it as the cross-members that support the shield of faith; that is, the cross itself. Usually, when we consider Jesus’ statement that his disciples must take up their cross daily, we understand it to mean the trials we’ll face because we follow him (Luke 9:23; 14:27). However, Jesus’ cross is also our cross because he died on it for us and we must share in his death, burial, and resurrection to have any hope of victory (John 19:16-18; Romans 6:3-11).
If we put to death our sinful/evil desires, God gives us his Spirit to strengthen and encourage us in our new life so we can stand against Satan’s attacks or recover from the any battle (Acts 2:38-39; Romans 8:5-17; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 John 1:5-9). As the US Navy learned after the first and second Battles of Cape Esperance, losing one battle does not mean the war is lost. Likewise, winning a single battle does not mean the war is won, unless it’s the last battle in either case. Each battle we win strengthens us for more intense attacks by the enemy (James 1:2-3; Romans 5:1-5). That being said, we must remember the hope we profess and that our strength comes from God or we’ll lose (1 Corinthians 10:1-12; Hebrews 4:14-16; 10:19-25).
Is the cross part of your daily armor?