The Christian Conflict
"1. We see why the scriptures are so full of exhortations to Christians to run, RUN, and especially to run by rule. He that striveth for the mastery must by all means strive "lawfully," i.e., according to the rules in such cases made and provided. So let the Christian be careful not only that he runs, but that he runs the right way and in the right manner.
2. We see also why the Christian is exhorted in like manner to fight, grasping the sword, buckling on the shield, putting on the helmet of salvation, preparing himself in all points for a warlike march through an enemy's country, where fighting must be looked for day and night.
3. Coupled with this is the fitting exhortation to stand fast--to plant his feet firmly and brace himself with all his strength as if the enemies' hosts were about to charge with the deadly bayonet. Stand fast, their Captain shouteth; play the man for your king and for yourselves, for the enemy are down upon you in strength and in wrath! Agonize too, struggle, for fierce will the conflict be. It is no contemptible foe whom you must face. The scriptures represent that only the violent take this kingdom of God, and they do it "by force." What could be more expressive of the energy to be put forth by Christ's people if they would win the victory and wear the crown?
We see why Christians are represented as wrestling, like men in personal struggle for the mastery. They have a personal enemy to fight and to subdue. They must however give all diligence. A lazy man cannot get to heaven. To get there costs toil and labor. For his will must be sanctified. The entire voluntary department of his being must be renovated. It is remarkable how the Christian warfare develops the will. Not an obstinate will--not a self-will, do I mean, but a strong and firm will. The man, disciplined in the Christian conflict, cries out, I must and I will believe; I will trust."
~ Charles Finney