Henry Allingham lived until he was one hundred and thirteen years old. He was a veteran of the first world war and saw action in the battle of Jutland.
In a BBC interview in 2004, he recalled the day in August 1914 when war was declared, admitting that the news had little impact on him:
“On August 4 I wasn’t too troubled,” he said. “I didn’t realise what it really meant.”
Shortly afterwards he became aware of how far reaching the implications of the events of August were, and joined up.
Often people make a decision to follow Jesus and either don’t realise what it really means or quickly forget what it really means. It means that you are in a battle.
From Satan’s attack on Eve in the garden to his final doom in Revelation 20, the spiritual history of the universe is one of conflict.
Satan, said Peter, is like a lion. And you and I are the prey he wants to devour and adds “Resist him standing firm in the faith” (1 Peter 5.8-9).
Of course some have overplayed the reality of the spiritual battle we are in, attributing every setback and difficulty to the devil. Because we live in a fallen world not everything is as it should be. And not every difficulty or setback is the result of enemy activity. But a good deal of it is.
Reminding ourselves that we really are in a battle is a smart first step towards prevailing in that battle. Reminding ourselves that we are victorious in Christ is the real gamechanger.