But take heart! I have overcome the world

The modern world can be demoralizing for Christians. The cultural war being waged for the soul of our nations is all but lost, and churches continue to get older and grayer as the youth increasingly decide they have no need of Christianity and it’s strict rules and doctrines when they can live a carefree secular life instead. In times like this it’s more important than ever to remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ and gain strength from them, the same strength that allowed the early Christians to persevere through the Roman persecutions.

Victory in Christ is assured. The world will pass away but Gods Kingdom is eternal, and Christ will raise his true followers up on the last day to inherit eternal life. These are the facts that kept the early Christians focused and resolute on keeping the commandments of Christ, even when it meant they would be attacked, exiled or even killed. Christians in many parts of the world today face the same stakes, Christians in the west have it quite easy in comparison only being faced with a lukewarm culture that has decided God isn’t all that important when you can have worldly comforts instead.

It is fitting then that we celebrated the Ascension of our Lord a few days ago. Jesus died on the cross for us, but his victory was in his resurrection, triumph over death and ascension to the right hand of the Father. For us, the battle has already been won on our behalf. All that is left to do is run our race and live out a life in accordance with Christs commandments, preparing ourselves for His return and the resurrection of the dead.It is too easy to look at the state of the world today and to fall into despair over how far we’ve fallen from the heights of the civilization which the tenets of Christianity helped foster. Yet we mustn’t lose sight that this world is not the prize which we ultimately desire, it is the world to come. Satan rules this world and always has.

Our battle is not against each other, but as Paul puts it “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” The spiritual battle is the one we fight, against the spiritual darkness of the world and our reward is the salvation of our souls. Christ reigns in heaven, even now, awaiting His time to return and bring about the new age for which we were created. Until then we should simply focus on doing Gods will to the best of our abilities, to fight the good fight against the powers that rule this world and then move on.

Rather than becoming demoralized Christians should always be in good cheer. As the angels said to the apostles when Christ was taken up to the Father:

“Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Amen.

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