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. 2 - Weapon Wisdom
It was the autumn of 1944 and Germany had been beaten back behind its borders. The Nazi war machine was in tatters and repeated bombing raids by the Allies all but assured that Hitler’s forces would never rise again. Around the perimeter of Germany’s borders, the Allies spread a thin line of forces that one person observed was so scattered that a man could slip between its lines without being observed. All across Europe, there was celebration. Parties, dances, speeches all rejoicing in Germany’s defeat. The war was effectively over. The only problem was that somebody forgot to tell Germany. Even as his forces were being shattered and driven back, Hitler was devising a plan for one last onslaught. Underground factories churned out more weapons, armament and ammunition, more of Germany’s young and old men were conscripted and trained for war. As Europe rejoiced, Hitler planned. His goal was not to drive back the Allies, as much as it was to divide the British to the North and Americans to the South and so demoralize them that they would seek for peace on his terms. On Dec. 16, 1944 Hitler’s army began an offensive known as "The Battle of the Bulge." It was fought along an 85 mile front; when the fighting ended Jan. 25, 1945 out of the 610,000 American troops involved in the battle, 89,000 were casualties. Some sources report that up to 19,000 were killed, It was the largest and bloodiest battle fought by the United States in World War II. All because somebody forgot that the enemy still lived and that the war was NOT over.
We 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. We forget that the war is not over therefore we either lay our weapons down or we fail to use them properly. Remember 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 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.
Know your weapon!
Paul will take time to talk about armor - which we will talk about in detail over the next few weeks. However, I want you to realize that armor is not the same thing as weapons. Armor protects you and is absolutely essential because, as you know, if you are in this war long enough you will take a hit. You need protection. It is those who know about the armor that can say with assurance and confidence that no weapon formed against me shall prosper. But you can't live on the defensive all your little life. I am thankful for the defensive armor that God has given us, but just because the "the best offense is a good defense" is true in football that doesn't make it true in God's kingdom. He has commanded us to take territory, destroy strongholds, and extend His boundaries and you can't do that if you constantly and only play defense. So, we must recognize and know our weapon.