When Elisha would encourage Joash in his struggle with the Syrians, the prophet instructed the king to strike the ground with his arrows. The king struck the ground three times, and Elisha was very angry and said, “Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice” (2 Kgs. 13:19).
The best of modern Christians strike the ground three times. Too often we have believed the lies of the world and the devil that being that kind of spiritual warrior means we must become prickly or legalistic or belligerent and boorish. And so we either hold back or else we think by being cranky, we actually are being faithful. But God desires neither. God would have us fight sin and folly until it is driven from every field. He would have us strike the ground five or six times. And He would have us do it with a song in our heart.
So apply this to all of your battles: personal sin, challenges in your family, maybe the kids or in-laws, or maybe disagreements with neighbors, at work, maybe theological differences or political travesties or cultural chaos, or maybe health challenges or some other ache or pain in your body or soul. How can you be a jolly warrior? How can you fight the good fight and not lose your cool? How can you fight fiercely with joy in your heart?
The key to being a jolly warrior is remembering that the war we are waging is the “good fight of faith.” What it is that overcomes the world? Our faith. Our faith in Christ who already died and rose again, our faith that He will make all things new, our faith that nothing can separate us from His love and all things must work together for good for us who love Him, so that in all these things we are more than conquerors.
Augustine says: “Wherever faith dwells, the Devil is cast out. Believers are not only assured of emerging safely from every battle, but also that they will receive fresh strength in due time to descend again into the arena. Our faith will be victorious not only in one battle, or a few; but though it be assailed a thousand times, it will prevail over the entire world.”
So how can we not face every battle with dedication and joy?