Summary: We are all in a battle. How do we win the battle?
'Chippie the parakeet never saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage. The next he was sucked in, washed up, and blown over.
The problems began when Chippie's owner decided to clean Chippie cage with a vacuum cleaner. She removed the attachment from the end of the hose and stuck it in the cage. The phone rang, and she turned to pick it up. She'd barely said "hello" when "sssopp!" Chippie got sucked in.
The bird owner gasped, put down the phone, turned off the vacuum, and opened the bag. There was Chippie -- still alive, but stunned. Since the bird was covered with dust and soot, she grabbed him and raced to the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and held Chippie under the running water. Then, realizing that Chippie was soaked and shivering, she did what any compassionate bird owner would do ... she reached for the hair dryer and blasted the pet with hot air.
Poor Chippie never knew what hit him. A few days after the trauma, the reporter who'd initially written about the event contact Chippie's owner to see how the bird was recovering. "Well," she replied, "Chippie doesn't sing much anymore -- he just sits and stares."'
This story comes from Max Lucado’s book “In the Eye of the Storm.” And, I share it with you because I think it does a good job at describing a successful attack from the enemy. The devil likes to attack us in such a way, that like Chippie, we never see it coming. He likes to grab us when we least expect it, and when he attacks, it’s often in a very normal, unassuming, seemingly innocent way. As a result, we are left sucked in, washed up, and blown over.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Not if we’re Christians! Not if we’re prepared for the battle and ready to fight the fight that isn’t against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12).
I wonder why the Church is so often defeated. Where is the voice, the power, and the confidence of the Church? Shouldn’t the Church be full of bold and confident people? We follow the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life! (John 14:6). Shouldn’t we be living like we have the Way, the Truth and the Life?
Shouldn’t our spiritual success be obvious to everyone, or at least to ourselves? Not in a way that is arrogant or self-assured, but in a way that is full of calm, gentle, assurance.
Well, if that’s the case, then why does the Church always seem to be on the defensive instead of the offensive? Why do we often seem angry and overwhelmed—instead of being full of peace, joy and grace?
Does the present reality of Christ’s Church jibe with the words of the Apostle John found in 1 John 5:4? We just looked at these words a few weeks ago: “for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Did you catch what John said? EVERYONE BORN OF GOD OVERCOMES THE WORLD. No “should”, or “could”, or “might” even crosses his mind. Neither did a “some”, or a “few,” or even a “many”, no it’s EVERYONE-- BORN OF GOD OVERCOMES THE WORLD!!”
And in John’s mind, how does everyone born of God overcome the world? How does every Christian overcome the world? By faith—faith is the victory that overcomes the world.
I like the way the Word paraphrases verse 4, it’s says, “Every God-begotten person conquers the world’s ways. The conquering power that brings the world to its knees is our faith.” Don’t you just love that image? Faith can and will bring the world ways to its’ knees.
Now, you will remember, since we just recently finished 1 John, that the victory we have over the world, by faith, is an internal victory, or a personal victory. We don’t bring the world to its knees, we bring the world IN US to its knees. The world is defeated in the attitude of our heart as each of us overcomes the message, the doubt, and the error of the world in our lives, by clinging to the truth of Christ by faith.
When we consider the battle each one of us is in, as Christians, we have to understand that the battle rages on three fronts.
First of all we have the enemy. In 1 Peter, the Apostle Peter tells us: “Be
self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
And Paul tells us in the book of Ephesians: “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12 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.” (Ephesians 6:11-12)