... and they sang as they slew...
Updated: Jul 21, 2021
It is no biblical secret that believers are currently in the midst of the great battle of our time, and, willingly or reluctantly, all people have been conscripted to fight either for the powers of sin and darkness or under the banner of light and life. This battle, however, is not physical. Christians wage war against the evil and spiritual forces of this world(Ephesians 6:12) and against our own sinful nature (Romans 8:13). We do this through the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us. Unfortunately, many Christians choose to fight this battle from a losing position, but this is not the depiction the Bible gives us of our current circumstance.
When considering our wartime efforts as believers I am readily reminded of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Specifically, I am reminded of the Battle of the Pelennor fields, a decisive battle covered in The Return of the King that takes place between the evil forces of Mordor and the Free Peoples of Middle Earth. When all hope is lost, the men of the besieged Minas Tirith hear a sound that fills their hearts with hope anew. Tolkien writes, "Horns, horns, horns. In dark Mindolluin's sides they dimly echoed. Great horns of the North wildly blowing. Rohan had come at last." As the Rohirrim ride to their ally's aide, Tolkien describes the onslaught, "For morning came, morning and a wind from the sea; and the darkness was removed, and the hosts of Mordor wailed, and terror took them, and they fled, and died, and the hoofs of wrath rode over them. And then all those of Rohan burst into song, and they sang as they slew, for the joy of battle was on them, and the sound of their singing that was fair and terrible came even to the City."
This is what I picture when I think about our battle with the enemy. As believers faithfully prepare for spiritual warfare, we must remember that we have been equipped by the King of kings himself to do battle with the enemy (Ephesians 6:10-18), and as we ride into the fray, we ride as conquerors. Though we face hardships of many kinds, whether they be tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or even death itself (Romans 8:35), Paul writes, "in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us" (Romans 8:37 ESV). Through our Lord's victory on the cross, we can taunt death itself and sing, "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" (1 Corinthians 15:55 quoting Hosea 13:14).
We must stop fighting these battles as if we have a chance to lose. When it comes to our temptation and slaughtering our sin, we should not simply accept that we will again fall short of the glory of God. That sin has no power over our lives. We serve a different Master, one who has the given us the victory over sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:57). Instead, with the strength of the Spirit within us, let us trod over our sin with the hooves of wrath. Let us charge the ranks of the enemy with all power and glory from on high. Even the gates of his fortress will not prevail against the forces of Christ (Matthew 16:18). No evil or darkness in the spiritual realm will stand steadfast against the light that shines within us (John 1:5). We need not fear any persecution, any sickness, any poverty, for we have been made more than conquerors through Christ Jesus.
Though the darkness is thick upon the earth, the morning will still come. Before us lies a defeated enemy. This enemy does still have the ability to bite at our heals, but Jesus has crushed his head. Christ is and will forever be victorious, and he wants his beloved bride, the church, to share in the glory of that victory. As we equip ourselves with the armor of God, let us finish the fight, singing as we slay with all joy knowing that we are fighting for the Almighty sovereign God.
The enemy hears our song when we fight the battle as conquerors and victors. And he trembles in fear.