Whether you like it or not, you are in a battle.
A few years ago, a woman at my church fussed about singing “all those marching songs”—songs like “Onward Christian Soldiers” and “We’re Marching to Zion.” She said, “It makes the church sound so militant.”
Ma’am, I’m sorry, but we are in a battle. We can bury our heads and pretend everything’s fine, or we can stand our ground. We have an enemy who seeks our destruction. And we would be wise if we knew who it is we’re dealing with.
In the sixth century B.C., the Chinese general, Sun Tzu, said, “”If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles” (The Art of War).
Know your enemy.
What happens if we don’t know our enemy?
During the Hundred Years War (1337-1453), the British won a decisive battle against the French—a battle the French could have easily won. The Battle of Agincourt was fought in 1415 on French soil, and 9,000 Englishmen faced off against 12,000 French. Sure the French had more men, but what really made the difference was most of the English were archers—men on foot with bows and arrows. The vast majority of the French were “men-at-arms,” a fancy-schmancy term for guys on horseback wearing armor and wielding a variety of vicious weapons.
So why did the French lose? They were cocky and arrogant. Most knights in armor were nobility and looked down their French noses at the rabble of common Englishmen with their bows and arrows. They never looked into it to discover the English soldiers that day were highly skilled archers—and many of them were longbowmen with bows designed for great distance. They may have had “inferior” weapons, but their skill was quite good.
So the French marched in on their horses … in heavy armor … onto a muddy field. Their excess weight bogged them down in the mud, and the English had a field day picking them off with their “inferior” bows and arrows.
The French could have easily won had they paid attention to how the English fight. As it was, the English won the Battle of Agincourt, Henry V solidified his place as king of England, and high school students have endured reading Shakespeare’s account in his play Henry V.
Christians, we need to know our enemy.
- “… in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes” (2 Cor. 2:11).
- “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).
The Bible is not silent on the intent and strategy of Satan. Quite the opposite. The Bible gives us a clear picture of who is against Christ—and against us. In Revelation 12, John’s vision tells us three things about Satan.
- Satan seeks to deceive us. He is “that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray” (Rev. 12:9).
- Satan seeks to accuse us. Satan is described as “the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night” (v. 10).
- Satan is relentless. “He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short” (v. 12).
We could feel frightened and overwhelmed if we stopped there, but Revelation 12 also shows us:
- Satan’s time is short—and he knows it. “He knows that his time is short” (v. 12).
- Satan is defeated. “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” (v. 11).
Sun Tzu’s famous quote about knowing your enemy needs to be revised in light of the believer’s victory in Christ. “If you know the enemy and know the One who holds you in His hand, you need not fear anything.”
Satan is real and he is powerful, but he is no match for Jesus Christ. Rest secure in Christ and stand your ground in Him.
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