In what seems like a lifetime ago, I served in the United States Army. I joined when I was 22 years old for a lot of reasons, but one of them was to defend my country against all enemies foreign and domestic. I remember a particular scene in Basic Training that was funny at the time but later made a lot of sense.
We were in our first days at Ft. Dix, NJ. Our heads had been shaved, our “civvies” had been taken away and replaced with Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) camouflage, and we all looked pretty much exactly the same. We were outside in the blazing July heat with that miserable east coast humidity and about to be briefed by our company commander, a captain whose name I’ve forgotten. This is how it went down!
He started by asking various recruits why they had joined the Army. One said for the GI Bill so he could go to college. Another said so he could get a skill and a job later in life. Others said other things, but apparently nobody had the right answer for the CO. You could tell he was getting more and more agitated. Then his head exploded!
“You are here to learn how to kill the enemy!” he screamed. “You are not here to go to college or get a job or any other reason you may think.” Then he really started in! “Do you know the Soviets are training right now – RIGHT NOW! And I’m here talking to you. They’re learning how to kill you and I’m standing here talking! You need to start training – NOW!”
He then abruptly turned the platoon back over to the drill sergeants and walked out. I kind of chuckled at all this. I was a little older and more experienced than the 18-year-old kids in the platoon; I knew a good act when I saw one. But, as I thought about it later, he had made a good point. We are soldiers and we really have just one job – kill the enemy.
As a man of God some 31 years later, I still smile when I think about that day. But I also know my old CO was right. Our enemy is focused on our destruction and we are distracted by talking instead of fighting.
These past few weeks have been pretty tough in America. Another shooting near a school, injuring children. This on the heels of the church shooting in Texas and the Las Vegas shooting. A guy running for United State Senate is accused of being a serial pedophile and so-called Christians are trying to defend him using the Bible no less! There were several stories about husbands killing their wives. And of course, we have the on-going revelations about the sexcapades that happen in Hollywood.
The response from my friends mainly via social media has ranged from disgust to suggestions of vigilantism! Laws need to be changed; more money needs to be spent on programs; the government must do something!
I definitely get the outrage. I don’t know how any sane person isn’t outraged by what they see. But to my Christian friends I must temper your responses and bring you back to scripture where God told us point blank that our enemy is trying to kill us and that as God’s people we need to be aware of the enemy’s schemes and hold our ground and fight!
From my vantage point, Satan is on the attack and sadly, the church is in retreat. In fact, there’s actually an applicable Hitler analogy here unlike the ones you see on Facebook. Satan is Hitler and the church has become British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlin trying to appease the enemy and claiming “Peace in our time!” Instead of standing our ground in the armor God has given us, fighting evil with the Word of God, we, the church, are capitulating by embracing the culture in the hopes that people will like us. This is not what Jesus had in mind when He told us we would have trouble in this world.
Scripture explains to us plainly that our fight is not against flesh and blood but against 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 6:12). Our fight is not against assault weapons, bad laws, mentality ill or deranged people, or even the Constitution. It’s against Satan who wants you to think the fight is against everything but him.
You see, if Satan can distract us in such a way that we fight the wrong things, he will continue to wreak havoc among us. Instead of rebuking the devil and making him flee, we are actually buying into his half-truths and have all but left the battlefield to fight against things that are the symptom not the problem. It’s actually pretty pitiful.
You want to know why Satan is having so much success tempting people in America to commit atrocities? The answer is obvious: We no longer believe in God.
I know that is a strong statement, but follow me here. We confess God with our lips, but our hearts are far away from Him. We will say we believe in God out of one side of our mouths, but then we will say we disagree with God’s decrees, commands, and moral laws out of the other side of our mouths. Folks, you can’t have it both ways; He’s either God Almighty or not God at all.
And therein lies the problem. We have chosen moral relativism, selfish ambition, the separation of not just church and state but church and culture, as well as tolerance of sin and somehow we seem surprised at the decay of our society. God will not be mocked; we will reap what we sow.
Don’t just take my word for it. According to a May 15, 2017 Gallup poll, only 24 percent of Americans believe that Bible is actually God’s literal word, the lowest percentage ever recorded. I think even worse is only 54 percent of CHRISTIANS believed the Bible is God’s infallible word – about half of professed believers!! And you really wonder why Satan is having such a field day in America?
Here is some of what those who reject God’s word are missing because they don’t actually believe what God tells us:
“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33ab)
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7-9)
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
“He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44b)
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
“11 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.13 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. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” (Ephesians 6:11-16)
Jesus told Peter that the devil wanted to “sift” him like wheat but Jesus intervened. (Luke 22:21)
Paul taught us not to ignorant of Satan’s schemes or Satan will take advantage of us. (2 Corinthians 2:11)
Satan is called the “Tempter” as well as the “Accuser” is known for his lies and efforts to separate us from God and make man do evil in the eyes of the Lord.
One in four Americans don’t believe any of this. Only 54 percent of Christians believe it. In other words, 75 percent of Americans will fall to Satan’s schemes because he’s convinced them that he either doesn’t exist or what God says about him isn’t true. Instead, that 75 percent has believed Satan’s lies that your individual truth is as valid as God’s truth. He’s convinced them that God has no place outside the church. He’s convinced them that cultural norms take precedent over God’s decrees. He’s convinced them that all paths lead to God so you don’t really need Jesus – He’s just one way to God. Satan has convinced the majority of Americans that prayer doesn’t really work and we need to rely on man-made solutions because God really isn’t sovereign. And most importantly, Satan has convinced the vast majority of Americans that they can do nothing about any of this because they have no authority of the devil. He has blinded the foolish to the Word of God.
And yes, these fools include my fellow believers who are leaving the true faith in droves. The way of man seems right in his own eyes but only leads to death. (Proverbs 14:12)
Paul writes to Timothy about the last days. I believe this is so true about our culture in America today: “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
Satan has convinced the vast majority of Americans to be lovers of themselves. If you don’t believe that, just go on your favorite social media outlet and scroll for a few minutes. We love money and are boastful. We are proud and abusive to one another. We are ungrateful and certainly unholy. We have no self-control and have become brutal in word and deed. We are lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Even the Church has a form of godliness but denies the power of Jesus Christ! It’s hard to believe we’ve come to this place in my lifetime.
Yet, here we are. So, now what?
Some in the faith are calling for another great awakening. That would be great, but I’m a bit cynical that it can happen in a nation where the so-called believers don’t really believe.
Others have bunker mentality and are just cloistering themselves away from the craziness of society. I get that, but it’s not what we’re called to.
We as Christians are called to fight. We are to hold our ground against the attacks on our faith. We are to use God’s word as the sword with which we fight. We are to rebuke Satan and he will flee. We are to cry out the name of Jesus from the rooftops! We are to influence the culture with the Good News not the other way around. We are to tell the truth in love – God loves you but hates your sin. We are to pray and believe that not only God hears our prayers but answers them! We are to submit and surrender to the One who sits on the thrown. We are to hate this world and keep our eyes on heavenly things. We are to go and tell others about Jesus. We are to fight evil and injustice with love while leaving room for God’s judgment and wrath. And we are to meditate on God’s word day and night, believing every word in the Bible, understanding the literary, cultural, and historical context of the word.
We need to know our enemy. You need to understand that every moment of every day he is trying to kill you. First, he will kill you spiritually, making you question God, His goodness, His holiness, and His Lordship. Then he will take your physical life so that you spend eternity with him, separated from God. And it’s your own fault. You are the one giving Satan access to your life by not believing God’s word, not following God’s commands, and not being aware of Satan’s schemes.
My old CO was right. It’s crazy that we’re talking about this. We need to be training and fighting RIGHT NOW! The enemy is out there right in front of us. In fact, he’s all around us – we’re surrounded and have Satan exactly where we want him if we as Christians would only have the faith of a mustard seed and fight back!
There will be more shootings. There will be more atrocities. Things are going to get worse – a lot worse. The Bible tells us so. But I’ve read the end of the book; those of us who hold on to our faith until the end win and we win big! In the meantime, you have a choice to make. Which side are you going to be on? The one who is deceived by Satan or the one who believes that Jesus has already conquered him?