Everyman's War

[1 Cor. 9:26].--'So fight I, not as one that beateth the air.'

It must be evident even to the most careless observer that physical life in all its grades is largely made up of effort and struggle, and that without effort and struggle no living creature can maintain itself. Penalty follows swift upon any systematic disregard of this fundamental condition of earthy existence, not only in the lowest and simplest forms on upward. Death waits upon ever cessation of the effort to keep alive, every failure in the struggle to adjust the organism to its environment. So plainly is this the case that there is a disposition on the part of many people to regard it as the most outstanding feature of our common experience. We used to hear a great deal about the struggle for existence and the survival of the fittest. We do not hear so much about it now, for the reason that scientist have been finding out and telling us that other factors enter into the problem than can be comprehended with in this formula. Life is not all struggle, not all a conflict of species with species, individual with individual; this is not a full and complete explanation of the way in which things have come to be what they are. But it is near enough to it to make most people feel at times as if there were little else to take into account.

It is a commonplace that life is a warfare, and most of us know it only too well. The conditions of our lot are such that we have to fight to hold our own and keep gong, and no advance in civilization seems to do much to modify the operation of this stern law of Nature. Sometimes we get tired of the fight, would escape from it if we could, feel it to be altogether irksome and against the grain, and we wish the struggle could stop. We wonder why things are ordered that way, why they could not have been arranged differently, why this conflict should have to be maintained in one form or another from the cradle to the grave.

Effort and struggle are unescapable conditions of life under any and every phase, from the lowest to the highest. In Infancy and old age we have to be fought for by those who care enough about us to want to do it, or by Society at large, but still the necessity is there all the time; we never get away from it; neither Society nor the individual can retain, much less increase, his hold on life without constant fighting, fighting in a thousand different ways.

It is clear that by the will of God every gain in life, human or sub-human, is the fruit of effort and struggle. This is a law which holds good on all planes---physical, mental, moral, and spiritual. As man has conquered his successive kingdoms he has qualified, like the athletes in the Greek games, for admission to a higher arena. It is not all a question of vanquishing a foe; much more is it a question of ability to respond to the demands of a higher environment.

Since this is so, since life is and must ever be a warfare of the soul, of faith against doubt, of light against darkness, he is wise who enlists under the leadership of the great Captain of Salvation. He can reinforce a fainting, irresolute soul and make it a fortress of power. He can turn a bitter swamp of sorrow into a fertile garden of moral beauty. Some of us have seen Him do these things, and we know that He does come with His sweet ministry of healing and of help, and an infinite moral sympathy, turning defeat into victory, and the sob of shame into a shout of joy.

In Christ, timothy.


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