The biggest mistake we make in our strategy is to fight the battle alone.
I recently watched the movie Hacksaw Ridge for the first time. It is a true story about Desmond Doss, a combat medic who refused to carry a gun, and his experience on the battlefield in World War II. This kind of movie is my favorite type of movie to watch because it brings awareness to real events that are part of our history, but it is also my least favorite type of movie for the exact same reason. This movie is real, raw, and gut-wrenching. A good portion of the movie is filled with war scenes that are shocking and heartbreaking, although I’m sure they don’t even come close to comparing to what it was like to actually be there. It is hard to imagine that an event that tragic actually happened and still happens.
Although not all of us will experience war in the physical sense, we all step out onto the battlefield everyday. We are continually standing in the midst of flaming arrows flying in spiritual warfare– in a fight for our lives. God has already won the battle, but Satan has not given up. Satan has a battle plan to capture our hearts and destroy us. Often his most successful tactic is to feed us lies. Satan whispers many lies in an effort to get us to believe that we don’t have anything to offer the kingdom of God, that we are not good enough. He is a good liar and his ploy frequently proves successful because his lies don’t sound like lies. His lies are believable, if we aren’t filling our minds with the source of truth, because he knows our weaknesses and he builds his lies on them. If he can tear us down, he rejoices in a small victory, because he has silenced a voice for the kingdom of God.
The biggest mistake we make in our strategy is to fight the battle alone. Alone, against Satan’s schemes, there is no hope of victory. But Romans 8:9-11 says if we choose to welcome the Spirit that God has given us as a gift and allow our hearts to be filled with the presence of the Spirit, we can experience life on God’s terms and Satan doesn’t stand a chance. When we welcome the Holy Spirit into our lives, we have the same power that raised Jesus from the dead living inside of us! Our God has already won the battle, and when we stand behind his power, we reign victorious as well.
In Hacksaw Ridge, it is clear to see that Desmond welcomed the presence of the Spirit into his heart and relied on God’s power for strength. He didn’t believe the lies that were being hurled at him by his fellow soldiers and commanders, that he shouldn’t be in the Army, that the battlefield wasn’t the place for him. It would have been easy to believe those lies, but he knew that he had a purpose and believed he could save lives when others were taking them. The Spirit’s work was unmistakable through Desmond’s acts on the battlefield. Completely unarmed, he ran into showers of bullets and minefields of bombs with an unwavering focus to rescue the wounded. When all of the soldiers from Desmond’s unit had evacuated the battlefield, defeated and without hope, Desmond stayed behind and collected soldiers that were alive but powerless without help, carried them across the devastated battlefield, and lowered each one down to safety. Desmond’s body was weak, but his Spirit was strong. In the movie, after each successful rescue of a human life, he would say, “Lord, help me just get one more.” Desmond rescued at least 75 lives that day that everyone else had given up on– 75 people alive, who would have been left to die on the battlefield.
The Holy Spirit is powerful, and can be powerful in our lives too if we choose to listen to his guidance. In Romans 8:11, it says that God will give life to our mortal bodies by the Spirit living inside us. Once we have received that gift of life, the Holy Spirit empowers us, even in the smallest of ways, to save lives that were dead to sin by offering them that same gift of life by the Spirit. When we rely on the Spirit to “help us just get one more” for the kingdom of God, many lives that are dead to sin and left to die on the battlefield, defeated by Satan’s lies and without hope, can be offered life and be victoriously welcomed home.