The call to fight for freedom: How Christians can learn from Ukraine

Do you ever feel like you’re losing ground in your life to the enemy?

I sure do. I gave my life to Christ as a child, surrendered to His call to ministry as a teenager, married a pastor, and dedicated each of our five children to the Lord. I helped plant a Vanguard Church and start the Family Disciple Me ministry. All these parts of my life now belong to Jesus.

However, the enemy has declared war and wants his territory back. He wants it back in your life, too.

As the Ukrainians courageously fight for their country’s freedom, they model what it looks like for us to fight for our freedom in Christ. The enemy of our soul is marching across the border of our lives, infiltrating our families, throwing grenades at our ministries, and trying to take back territory we set apart for Jesus. It is time for Christ-followers to fully engage the conflict as surely as the Ukrainian people are engaging theirs. The Ukraine was once part of the Russian empire, subject to its leaders, control, language, and laws. However, there came a day when they didn’t just want their freedom, they declared their independence in 1991. This is what each of us did when we gave our lives to Christ.

The Ukrainians’ enemy wasn’t going to let them go easily, though. In 2014, Vladimir Putin declared war on the Ukraine, hoping it would crumble in fear and submit to his control. However, Ukrainians engaged in the struggles and stood free.

When all Putin’s years of scare tactics didn’t work, on February 20, 2022, he began marching across their border, surrounding their cities, infiltrating their towns, dropping bombs, and killing their citizens. The world watches now as the Ukrainian people defend their freedom. They are in the fight of their lives, but they are not backing down.

Christians, are we paying attention to their example?

Since leaving the Garden of Eden, humanity has been part of the enemy’s empire, subject to his control, obeying his rules, and living under his dominion. Yet, like the Ukrainian people, there came a day for each follower of Christ when we didn’t just want our freedom, we claimed it. We gave our allegiance to Jesus and began to live in the freedom He entrusted to us.

However, our enemy doesn’t want to let us go any more than Putin wants to let go of the Ukraine. Truth is, our enemy is here to steal, kill and destroy, and he will do whatever it takes to get his territory back.

Our enemy doesn’t just want our freedom, though. He also wants to abolish absolutes, eradicate Truth and decimate God’s Word. He wants to destroy our marriages, our children, our country’s unborn children, and future generations. Sometimes it feels like a losing battle. The Ukrainian people, sickened by their generations of pain and struggle, Holodomor and Holocaust, are standing up to fight against their mortal enemy with breathtaking resolve. Christians, are we? Are we standing up to fight against the one who wants to destroy everything we’ve committed to the Lord?

Scripture says that, in Christ, we are citizens of a new country, distinguished, set apart, free (1 Peter 2:9-10). This does not come without a battle, though. We no longer have to live under the control of the enemy, sin, and evil, but we do face “the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). We must stand firm and hold onto what God has entrusted to us in order to “fight the battle well” (1 Timothy 1:18). Believers are called to “Be strong in the Lord…Take up the whole armor of God, that we may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm” (Ephesians 6:12-13).

The question is, are we standing firm or are we yielding mile by mile of our lives to the enemy’s lies? Are we putting on the armor of God or are we so afraid of the enemy’s threats and taunts that we just surrender our identity in Christ? Are we strong in the Lord or are we so intimidated by the enemy’s tactics that we submit our homes and families to his evil philosophies and control? Are we fighting the battle well or are we lulled to sleep by our enemy’s politically correct deceptions?

May it not be so!

We must stand our ground, take sin seriously, pursue our God-given purpose, disciple the next generation, pray without ceasing and live out our faith in Christ.

Yes, the enemy makes war to get his territory back, in your life, in my life, in the Ukraine. We do not yet know how the battles on this earth will end. However, we do know that our God gets the final word. He is strong and mighty, and the victory is His.

So, as the Ukrainians fight for their country’s freedom, may we Christians follow their example as protectors and defenders, ever strong in the Lord, fighting the good fight of faith for who and what God has entrusted to us.

 

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