"Watch, stand fast in the faith, be bold like men, and be strong" (1 Cor. 16:13).

Whether you know it or not; whether you like it or not—we are in a war. It is the battle of our lives and we need to begin living as though it were so. Since this is absolutely true, you and I must not be engaged in worldly things—the things of this world will only leave us in darkness. We must endure hardship as a good soldier and fight the good fight while keeping the faith because in the end will be our reward—eternal life.

The darkness of the world has a way of overcoming us—if we let it. You may do things under the guise of love and think it is the honorable thing to do. But, unreciprocated love is nothing but evil.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13 all about it. He teaches that the attributes of love are patience and kindness. He says that love is NOT jealous, boastful, proud, rude, selfish, irritable or angry; and it is NOT accusing or happy when you hurt someone. In this spiritual war that we are in ole-sloo-foot will turn things upside down and make you think it is right.

The only one who can handle an unreciprocated love is God. He will never give up on you in this life. But, there will come a time when even God will say "enough is enough." And the excruciating end will come—the worst of the worst—eternally separated from God. This is the greatest darkness of all time.

But, as Christians—believers in Christ—we have an opportunity to put on our armor and fight the good fight. Stand up for what you believe. When you do you will be on the winning side—for God has already won the victory! No matter what darkness may be surrounding you now, it is only temporary. I didn't say this was going to be an easy battle, but I did say, when you keep the faith, don't give up, and keep going forward soon you will come into the light. Look forward to what is ahead and forget what is behind. (Phil. 3:13)

There will be days when you will have to walk in the valley, that is where you will meet the Lord. Then is the time—in your weakness—when you humble yourself and listen to the voice of God. God will meet you in your valley of darkness and lead you to the light. Do not be afraid, for the presence of Lord will be with you.

It is a choice you have to make, either join in the battle of goodness, light and love or stand in the background and be miserable. Mountaintops are made for falling off of, but valleys are made for climbing up out of. With God's help—keeping your eyes on Jesus, not on someone who hasn't a clue who He is—you WILL overcome the darkness.

Positively clothe yourselves with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Dear Lord, I don't know what to do. Help me keep my eyes on You and climb up out of the dark valley I'm in.  Help me hear Your voice and base my choices upon what I hear. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen

Further reading: Ephesians 6:10-20

© 2018 Rev. Betty A Beach-Connell

Rev. Betty Beach-Connell is a retired pastoral minister in the United Methodist Church. Born and raised in New York State. Betty served churches in the New York Annual Conference for 28 years. But that's just part of the story...www.revbetty.com

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