Written October 16th, 2012
“All war is based on deception.” Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 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. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul used the imagery of a soldier preparing for battle to describe the spiritual battle that is being waged by the forces of evil. Just to be perfectly clear, God has already won the victory and we live in that victory. But we still live in a world where the power of evil is a dangerous force. We cannot be complacent or passive. We must arm ourselves, as Paul said, so that we can stand firm against evil.
It is very dangerous to underestimate the spiritual forces of evil. The evil one is a despicable enemy without rules. If he cannot get to you, he will go after your children or your grandchildren. His main weapons are lies and deception. It’s been that way since the beginning.
I was listening to a pastor on the radio on my way to work one day a a few months ago. In his message for that day, he read something that was written by a 17 year old in Los Angeles, who wrote, “The devil is a “cool dude” who lets you do whatever you want.” On the other hand, this young man said, “God has too many rules”.
All war is deception, and this young man, without a doubt, has been deceived. The shame of it is, that young man, whoever he is, believes that God is real and that He exists. We can only pray someone will reach him with the truth of God’s word, that true freedom is found in faith in Jesus Christ.
I shared this with my Bible class this past Sunday and I felt a burden to share it with all the dads and grandfathers in our church. Young people today are being targeted like never before, young people like our kids and grandkids. Twenty years ago, it would have been almost unheard of for a 17 year old to think of something like that, much less put it in writing and have it published. We must arm ourselves, as Paul said, with the full armor of God. We must call on God’s strength to help defend against the ever increasing spiritual attacks against us and our families. We have a weapon too. Paul called it the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.
Also, in the last verse of that passage from Ephesians, Paul reminds us to pray in the Spirit with all kinds of prayers and requests. In John 14, Jesus said, “You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.“
God’s word, and the power of prayer: Nothing else compares!