Fighting the Battle (or not)

Fighting the Battle: Knives

I was listening to a song the other day on the radio: I’m fighting a battle You’ve already won.

The song is a rallying cry to overcome whatever comes our way. Take courage! God has granted you the victory! We need only to persevere (the song seems to say) to the battle’s end.

But in the midst of this rallying cry, I was struck with the thought:

Fighting the Battle: Peace

If the battle is already won, why are we still fighting?

Yes, I know. John 16:33. I know the point of the song is to revel in the ultimate victory of Christ over evil. That ultimate victory has not yet been realized; hence, the fighting.

But I wonder –

If we brought this ultimate reality a little closer to home, would it change our approach? If the battle is already won, could we all just… I don’t know. Get some ice cream?

A Different Way to Battle

How differently would we act if we truly believed the relationship was already restored? If the addiction was already overcome? If the stress was already relieved?

I think there would be a lot less fighting. And a lot more… love.

Insert caveat emptor here. Or, as my mother would say, use your head.

I’m not saying to place yourself in danger by disregarding the very real situations you may be facing. I may not be talking about the physical realities at all. I’m saying, how differently would you act if that pain in your heart was not there? How differently would you act if the battle against shame, rejection, anger, jealousy, distrust, {…}, was already won?

Do we really believe that that battle has already been won?

There are very few – if any – passages in the Bible that instruct us to go to battle with the people and situations around us. In fact, the Bible tells us plainly:

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).

It is easy to think the challenges within our physical reality are the enemy. But through it all, we need to remember the actual enemy

Armor Up – And Stand

The Bible is also clear about how we are to approach this enemy, and it is decidedly not to engage in battle in the traditional sense. It is to put on the armor of God.

Fighting the Battle: Armor

We are told to put armor on ourselves – the real work always begins with ourselves. And the armor we are to put on is this:

  • Truth: including truth about ourselves
  • Righteousness: covering ourselves
  • The Good News about Peace: for both ourselves and others
  • Faith: a shield to protect ourselves
  • Salvation: knowledge in ourselves that nothing can separate us from the love of God
  • Word of God: including God’s words recorded in the Bible and the Word of God made flesh in the third person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ

Once we have put this armor on, we are instructed what to do with it. And the instructions are not to charge the enemy. We are told to stand, and stand again, and stand firm. And we are told to pray, and keep praying, and pray.

Because the battle, my friends, He’s already won.

We can rage against each other if we want. We can even identify and rage against the actual enemy if we want. The question is, why would we want to?

Why would we want to sow discord when we can sow peace? Why would we want to wage war when we can stand in stillness?

Fighting the Battle

When the Kingdom of Judah was under attack during King Jehoshaphat’s reign, he inquired of the Lord what they should do. The answer? Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s… You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you (2 Chronicles 20:15,17).

And so they did. The army marched out led by a choir of men singing praises to the Lord, and by the time they reached the front lines, they discovered their enemies had turned against each other and been destroyed.

The battle had already been won.

How differently would we act if we believed that our battle – our messy, heart-breaking, keep-you-up-all-night, wrestling-by-the-river-while-we-plead-for-a-blessing-or-a-breakthrough battle – How differently would we act if we really believed that our battle was already won?

Our lives change when our prayers change from “God grant me the victory over X” to “God show me the victory you are having over X.”

God does not grant us the victory. We grant God the victory.

Stand down and watch Him work.

Try this the next time you are about to enter a well-worn argument or jump on a wrong direction thought train. Ask yourself: How would I feel right now if this were resolved? Would I do or say anything differently?

Am I fighting a battle He’s already won?

You might be surprised at the change in perspective.

There may be no fight needed, if the battle is already won.


Janet Beagle, Ph.D. serves as director of graduate programs for Purdue University’s College of Engineering and is a writer, a Bible study teacher, and a student of God’s Word. In her spare time, she likes to eat other people’s cooking and hike with her two- and four-footed friends. Read more of Janet’s Christian reflections at


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