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 the context of a recently concluded World Championship Chess match, to which an audience can easily

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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.

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