Summary: God’s word exhorts us “not to be unaware of Satan’s schemes” (II Cor 2:11), in order we can be on guard always. This Sermon is all about that and more...in the context of a recently concluded World Championship Chess match, to which an audience can easily
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the DEVIL’S SCHEMES. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.-Eph 6:11-12
It’s been Chess all the way in the Indian media and the International sports media at large in the last few days what with the Indian Chess champion-Vishy Anand- retaining the World Chess championship crown against a formidable foe, Boris Gelfand of Israel (a Russian who has taken Israeli citizenship). It was a classic battle going right down to the wire, with the Indian champ to use the racing parlance piping his adversary finally at the post. For someone who has enjoyed this mind game of 64 squares from childhood, besides squaring off with wily ole foe (devil many a time) for 29 (at the time of this writing) years of my Christian life, immediately some parallels between temptations in spiritual life and a game of chess was bound to emerge. So here goes…all in the spirit of weaving spiritual truths around contemporary events (a la Master – Luke 13:1-5)!!!
Christian life is much like a chess game, when the good Lord allows the devil to tempt us. At this stage, it would serve us well to get the co-ordinates right about the meaning of the word “temptation”. Temptation of the world, flesh or Satan directly is an enticement into lawlessness (I John 3:4). To put it more simply, temptation is an enticing invitation to do anything (it may be an action or even inaction-James 4:17) against God’s will.
Permit me to sidetrack a bit, ideally, when we intend to please the Lord and make it our primary objective, the devil stands defeated by default. I still remember my days of youth, when there were some phases in my life, during which I would be spending long hours in prayer, virtually “romancing my Creator” enjoying Him to the hilt. At that time the temptations of the flesh (bane of many a youngster-2 Tim 2:22 ) would simply disappear, so much so I used to wonder why there have been no temptations of the flesh for so many days and then smile to myself soliloquizing oh, it is because I am so close to my Lord. That I would resist the temptations (James 4:7), once they came eventually is another matter altogether.
However, at times the good Lord permits the Evil One to tempt us keeping our eventual welfare in His mind (I Peter 1:6-9). Remember, even the Son of God was not exempted from undergoing temptations (Matt 4:1-11). Now this brings us to spiritual game of chess. Taking on scheming Satan is not so much about engaging him physically as it is about taking him on mentally. A mind well-grounded in the Scriptures (Psalm 1:2) is ideally well-equipped to see through the wiles of the foxy foe.
Let it be said at this stage of the Father of all lies (John 8:44) that in his “tool-kit of tricks, LIE is the only handle which can fit all his tools”. No wonder, God’s word exhorts us “not to be unaware of his schemes” (II Cor 2:11), in order we can be on guard always.
So what are his sly schemes built on lies, everyone (the saved and the unsaved ones) need to be wary of? Stealthy acts, which can do us infinitely more damage than our opponents in a chess game can do. Firstly, let’s have a look at the lies he uses on those who have never tasted God’s redemptive love
When the Bible speaks about Creation of man in His own image (Gen 1:27) by involution (Gen 2:7), the Father of all lies readily sells THE BIGGEST LIE about Evolution, putting the simple-minded tragically on the path of spiritual degenerative devolution! Even recently, there was News in the media about the buses in London being plastered with the sleazy slogan “There is probably no God, now stop worrying and enjoy life”. Now who is to share with my atheist friends the experience of every saved sinner that God not only exists but He himself is the source of all lasting joy (John 15:11) as the Psalmist would readily testify “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8)?
Is there a very empirical test for those with a “scientific bent of mind” to examine for themselves that all what the Bible says about Adam’s spotless creation (innocent and holy was he as little children, who dash about naked merrily in our homes, even as their hearts are completely pure) and his fall into sin are all true? They would have to just look at their natural inclination to “cloth themselves” and the truth as to why such an innate tendency is there in us all -explained by the Bible (Genesis 3:7)- would dawn upon them. Even in the atheists’/pro-evolutionists’ conference, is not everyone immaculately dressed? One wonders why none in defiance of Genesis 3:7, walks around naked, even in the atheists or pro-evolutionists’ meetings! I say this not in contempt but with utmost concern in my hearts for their souls.