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Rest and War: Rhythms of a Well-Fought LifeSample

Rest and War: Rhythms of a Well-Fought Life

DAY 1 OF 5

Free to Fight

In the film Master and Commander, the captain of England’s HMS Surprise engages the most dreaded frigate in Napoleon’s navy in battle on the open sea. After disabling the ship’s sails, the captain leads an assault team onto the bridge of the enemy vessel. They hack their way to the ship’s hold, where several sailors from other English ships are held in cages. In a pivotal scene, the captain breaks the chains and opens the prison door, and a soldier stands ready to hand each exiting man a sword. The men are free to step into a raging battle. Before, they were simply captives; now, they have the chance to be conquerors. This is our story.

Jesus has not only liberated us but also invited us to join the fight. C.S. Lewis explained, “Enemy-occupied territory—that is what the world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in his great campaign of sabotage.”* We can feel like we are in a war because we are in one. Yet it is a war in which our King has won the decisive victory. Because he has been victorious, we can be too.

As I say this, I know many people who are so discouraged by their continuous fumbles and failures that they’ve begun to doubt God has changed their lives. Maybe you feel like that, but what if I told you that your struggles, rather than being a sign of something wrong with you, are a sign of something right?

Picture a battlefield in the midst of the heat of a firefight. My mind goes to the gruesome scene on the beaches of Normandy during the D-Day landing of World War II. Amid the chaos of bombs detonating and bullets flying, there are two kinds of people on the field: The first type of person looks calm and still, unaffected by the destruction surrounding them. The second type appears agitated. They’re fighting a war within—battling fear, doubt, anxiety, terror—as the war wages without. What makes these two soldiers so different? The first person appears peaceful because he is dead. The deceased does not flinch when bullets strike the dirt. They don’t duck as bombs erupt. The second person is aware of the battle because they are alive. It is the same spiritually.

The spiritually dead do not struggle with sin. Your struggles, far from being a sign of your spiritual death, are, in fact, just the opposite. Your struggle may be one of your greatest assurances that you are alive. You are like those sailors in Master and Commanderstepping off the enemy’s boat, holding a sword. Jesus rescued us from sin’s eternal penalty, and he has broken its power in our lives. Yet a struggle remains. You have not been freed from your struggle against sin; you have been freed to struggle. Now you must learn how to struggle well.

One day, sin’s power and its very presence will be banished. We are not there yet, and until we get there, we have a purifying work to do (see 1 John 3:2-3). We have a fight on our hands. We are not left alone or unequipped! Jesus, our King, not only rescues us but also trains our hands for war.


What qualifies Jesus to guide us to a life of peace and victory in a world where the enemy is waging war against us?

What does it mean to you to be made free for the fight?

How do you respond to the fact that Jesus fights for you and with you to destroy the work of sin in your life?

C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952; repr., New York: HarperCollins, 1980), 45.

Day 2

About this Plan

Rest and War: Rhythms of a Well-Fought Life

This reading plan includes five daily devotions based on Ben Stuart’s book Rest and War. The spiritual life can feel like it’s a struggle because it is! The pursuit of intimacy with God occurs within the context of adver...


We would like to thank HarperCollins/Zondervan/Thomas Nelson for providing this plan. For more information, please visit:

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