When I was in high school, the Lord of the Rings movies were coming out.
They were appealing for several reasons, the greatest of which was the epic battle between good and evil.
It was easy to put myself in the story, becoming one of the elves with skills harnessed to exact accuracy and precision.
I imagined the real world being like this.
What if there were really orcs fashioned by pure evil with the intent to destroy the pure and innocent?
It would be absolutely right to draw up our swords, war hammers, and bows and destroy them until not a single one remained.
I imagined how fun life would be if we were engaged in such a battle that was clearly good against evil, requiring us to band together to protect everything good in the world.
I longed for it, but I knew it would never be a reality...
Until it was.
In fact, there really are beings in this world that are pure evil, fashioned from pride, and ill bent to destroy everything good in this world.
They are fallen angels, intelligent spirits that were in a war with their Creator before our world existed.
And since we were created in the image of our God, we have entered that battle, but not all of us are on the winning side.
In fact, the Bible teaches that because of Adam and Eve's sin, all of us are born in enemy territory.
We were born as captives of evil, hurting each other and hurting ourselves until our life passed from us like wisps of smoke.
That was until the light broke forth into the earth as the man Jesus Christ, born of a virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit of God Himself.
Jesus Christ, the Word of God through whom all of creation was fashioned and knit together.
Jesus was the first human since Adam and Eve that wasn't born in enemy territory, a natural target for the fallen angels.
And so a new battle began.
Temptations, gossip, insults, accusations, hatred, denial, mockery, scoffing, betrayal, beatings, torture, crucifixion, and death.
Jesus fought for us. He represented us. He became like us.
And ultimately, he became the very sin we could never get free from.
The darkest hour of human history had come.
The fallen angels extinguished the last light of dusk.
All hope was gone.
But of course, it was only death.
And though sin could never survive the blows of death against it, Jesus could never be held by its sting.
So he rose, no longer bound with our sin, but pure and spotless again, representing our freedom from the bondage of our enemy.
Jesus came to set us free.
Then he gave us a sword, the Word of God.
And he commissioned us to go into all the world and proclaim the freedom from our bondage to evil, and to slay every fallen angel that gets in our way.
My deep longing for virtuous battle was true all along.
Every human being is born into a battle.
The question is...
Which side are you on?