Ever been in a fight? There is one fight we are all in, and it is eternally important that we win it. Keep reading. In his 1987 book, The Maverick War, Duane Schultz tells of Art Chen. Chen was a Chinese fighter pilot in the 1930’s when Japan was out to subjugate China. On one occasion Chen attacked three Japanese planes. He shot down one but ran out of ammunition. He rammed the second plane and bailed out. Landing near his own wrecked plane, he salvaged a heavy machine gun and carried it eight miles to an airfield. Approaching an officer, Chen asked, “Sir, can I have another airplane for my gun?” Amazing story. Chen was in a fight, knew he was in a fight, and was in it to win it! Not everyone in a war understands they are. In Washington D. C., on March 30,
2005, while 150,000 American troops were at war in Iraq, Philip Carter (former army captain and advocate of a military draft) made a sobering statement in a debate with Lawrence Korb (an opponent of the draft). Carter said concerning the Iraqi conflict that American society “hasn’t gotten the message that we are at war.” Korb noted that since only a tiny segment of the population was being asked to sacrifice, there was no political pressure to change the system.
How about it? Have you gotten the message we are in a war? A spiritual war with the highest of stakes – the eternal salvation of our souls. We daily face an enemy who relentlessly attacks. The Bible describes him in 1 Peter 5:8-9 as our “adversary the devil” who “walks about like “a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” We are directed, therefore, to keep our spiritual radar operative, to “be sober, be vigilant / watchful” and to resist the devil “steadfast in the faith.” We are not helpless, but we must stay aware! The apostle John describes the adversary of the soul in Revelation 12:9 as “that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world.” A few verses later in Revelation 12:17 John makes clear the devil means business whether we do or not – “he went to make war with” those who “keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” To conduct this war the devil uses an arsenal of weapons and tools. If we let him, he takes “advantage” of us through “devices” – and the apostle Paul urges us to not be ignorant of them (2 Corinthians 2:11). Besides “devices,” he uses what Ephesians 6:11 refers to as “wiles.” The Greek word translated “wiles” is “methodia” [pronounced meth-od-i’-ah], defined by Strong’s Concordance as “craft, deceit, used as a way to search after something; scheming.” The devil’s game is deceit (John 8:44), and his unceasing aim is to “hinder” us in our work and service to God and our efforts to go to heaven and be forever with Christ! He uses “sinful desires, which wage war against your soul” (1 Peter 2:11). Not all desires are sinful, but some are – and Peter directs us to “abstain” from them.
There is much more to be said – but enough has been said to make clear the devil is at war against us. Whether or not we get that message is a choice we all have to make. For those who take God at His word and take following Jesus seriously, the matter is clear – we are at war, in what could be called “a fight to the finish” for our souls. Let us therefore, without hesitation, fear, or delay “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life” (1 Timothy 6:12). The same gospel that calls us to make peace with God calls us to be at war with the devil. If we are strong in the strength which God supplies, the war is winnable. The devil is in it to win it. Are you? Have you gotten the message we are at war? Then fight the good fight of faith!