Summary: Security systems. Car alarms. But are you still vulnerable? Defenseless? Feel like you are under attack? Are you dressed for battle? Let's learn the "Art of War!"
The Art of War
Pt. 1 - Waking Up Dead
In Harm’s Way, released in 1965, and starring a truly great actor in John Wayne, has a lengthy opening depicting Navy dances and various romances occurring on Saturday night December 6, 1941. Sailors and military personnel in Hawaii prior to the Japanese invasion were living as if there was no real enemy. They were not expecting to be attacked. Why? Because the Japanese were engaged in a massive deception, trying to convince the US that the Land of the Rising Sun was seeking peace, all the while planning war. The next day is a "Day that lives in infamy" because those who should have been on guard and alert were instead lulled to sleep and therefore caught completely unaware. The result was that on December 7th, 2403 of our own woke up dead and our nation was thrust into war!
With that great loss and wake up call in the back of our minds. I have noticed that most of us spend fortunes on protection. Car alarms. House alarms. Computer alarms. Perimeter fences. Prickly shrubs under the windows. Deadbolts. Door chains. Sirens. Motion detectors. Cameras to see who has been on our porch and for all this effort and expense given to protect and fortify our homes we seem to have forgotten that there is a war that is taking place in the unseen, unfilmable realm and we seem to give little to no effort to secure our hearts. Elaborate systems in place to lock up our car and our valuables but no thought given to locking down our spirit. I realize Seems an odd topic right after celebrating our greatest victory which is Easter. However, how many of you know that we are often most susceptible immediately following our greatest triumphs simply because we let our guards down? It is absolutely essential for us to understand that following resurrection Scripture is filled with warfare wording. I recognize because of Easter that the fight is fixed. The ultimate outcome of the war has been decided and is not in question. We win. However, too many of us, embracing that ultimate outcome, have also begun to live like this is a cake walk and if we are not careful we will wake up dead! Dead in bondage. Dead in powerlessness. Dead in influence. Dead in authority. Dead in brokenness! It is time to wake up and realize we are at war!
If we have read the Old Testament, then we know that God calls a people His chosen ones who are a people of war. So do we think that Jesus would come to this planet, die the horrible death He did and conquer the grave so that we
In fact, what Jesus really did was show up to clarify our enemies tactics (kill, steal and destroy) so that we could be better equipped to participate in his destruction. He didn't come and die so we could meet Jesus and end up on easy street. We aren't supposed to be less effective in battle than Israelites who saw daily miracles, angelic intervention, and mind boggling victories. We are supposed to be war ready. And yet, even though on in at least 11 New Testament passages that use language like stay alert, be watchful, be fully aware, be ready, stay awake, be on guard, watch and pray, we continue to taste defeat daily because we are like the United States on Dec. 6th. Asleep in a war zone!
This is a call to arms. We are at war.
Listen to what Paul says,
Ephesians 6:10-18 (Message)
And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. (12 For our fight is not - we wrestle not - against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.) Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.