by Joshua Bixler
Judges 3:1: These are the nations the LORD left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan.
Gaining battle experience is essential for soldiers to learn how to fight wars. Combat veterans pass down important lessons to new warriors. These lessons assist younger soldiers in avoiding the mistakes the older veterans made. Having combat experience also enables soldiers to resist fear in the face of battle, since battle is not new to them.
God knows this. Therefore, he ensured that the Israelites still had enemies around them after they had conquered Canaan. It states in Judges 3:2: “He did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience.” Victories are great, but just because a warrior gains one victory does not mean that he or she will no longer experience battles. The Israelites had earned many impressive victories, but God kept them sharp and battle-ready by allowing enemies to be near them.
You may not be out on the battlefield like the Israelites, but every day you fight a spiritual war. Every day is a smaller battle in the larger campaign that is your life. The battle experience you gain from victories over small temptations and sins gives you the battle-ready spirit you need to victoriously fight the larger temptations that get in your way. That is why the Bible states in James 1:2: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.”
We should never seek out sin and temptation, but when sin and temptation rear their ugly heads in our life, we should have no fear. This is a chance to show God our love and gain battle experience. As a Christian you already have the most powerful weapon in the world in your arsenal. That weapon is the Holy Spirit. It says in 1 John 4:4: “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” The Holy Spirit is there to guide you and help you fight your daily battles.
When you gain battle experience and become a strong combat veteran, be sure to pass your lessons on to the less experienced and less battle-hardened. Christian warriors need to lift each other up and use their combat experience to help each other fight.
Fighting sin and temptation is hard. The rewards of gaining combat experience from repeated victories are more than worth it. It says in James 1:12: “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
Go forth and have no fear Christian warriors. God knows your struggles and is more than able to help you defeat any sin that comes your way. Have no fear of facing and conquering sin, for the battle experience you gain today, will make you a stronger warrior tomorrow.
Joshua Bixler is a Christian, husband, father, and a Sunday School teacher for 5th grade boys. He is a veteran of two combat deployments to Afghanistan, and loves military history. He and his wife create tabletop RPG gaming products for their publishing label Bix Six Adventures on the DriveThruRPG website.