If Satan is the prince of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4), then we Christians live in enemy territory!
Certainly, God is sovereign, Jesus has won the war, and it is, indeed, “Finished!” But I liken our lives to the end of World War II. After the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes Forest, there was no stopping the allies; Germany was beaten. The Russians were advancing from the East and the Americans and Brits were coming from the West. Germany was done, yet rather than surrender and accept their fate, Germany kept on fighting until the bitter end in Berlin, taking and losing thousands of more lives.
That is Satan – he is a beaten foe and he knows it but he’s going to keep fighting until the bitter end, taking as many of us with him as possible.
Why God allows Satan to have domain on the earth we really don’t know and if we’re honest, can’t really understand. It’s one of those “God’s ways are not our ways” kind of things. Sure, we can speculate about faith, bringing more people to Jesus and the rest, but scripture just doesn’t really tell us outright why God allows Satan to do what he does.
What we do know, however, is that we are behind enemy lines and unlike in conventional war where one would conceal oneself in such circumstances, Jesus tells us to shine our light brightly in this dark spiritual battle so that other’s can see our light and come to it. The only difficulty with that strategy is Satan sees that light as well and it draws his attacks!
Perhaps that is why a lot of Christians don’t shine their light these days. Perhaps they just don’t want to show their location to the enemy so they don’t get attacked. Easier just to blend in – go along and get along. Coexist as it were. But that’s not what our commander-and-chief ordered us to do. Jesus told us to stand out, be different, show ourselves and even declare ourselves His openly to the enemy! It’s a suicide mission – die to ourselves and the world to gain heaven.
When I served in the United States Army, one of the things they gave us was a Code of Conduct card. I have had this card in my wallet since July 1987 – it outlines how we are to act if captured by the enemy and includes a prisoner of war “Tap Code” and sign language alphabet to communicate silently. I don’t really know why I carry it after all these years; perhaps it just to maintain my discipline when it comes to my thoughts on honor and integrity. But, I do know this: As Christians in enemy territory, we, too, need a Code of Conduct by which to live under these circumstances.
So, here’s what I’m going to try today. I’m going to take my old military code of conduct rules and rewrite them for today’s Christians living in occupied territory. Let’s see if I can make this work!
1. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I serve the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – one God in three persons and am prepared to give my life in defense of my Christian faith.
2. I will never surrender to Satan willingly; if a pastor, leader, or shepherd, I will never surrender my flock or followers to Satan and will use all the power God gives me to resist.
3. If I am captured by Satan, I will do everything in my power to resist and escape. I will do all I can to help others resist and escape as well through the power of God’s word and the Holy Spirit. I will not accept any special favor from Satan.
4. If captured by Satan, I will stand firm in my faith no matter the cost; I will never deny my Savior, Jesus Christ.
5. When questioned by those Satan inspires, I will share Jesus through my testimony boldly and passionately no matter the cost! I will defend the faith, having an answer in and out of season for the hope that I have in Jesus.
6. I will never forget that I am a child of God; purchased for a price by Jesus. I am not my own but belong to Jesus Christ! I will be as wise as a serpent but gentle as a dove as I share His gospel, doing as He commands me to do. I will love God and love my neighbor so that others will know that I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I will rely on the God and God alone for my strength.
Brothers and sisters, make no mistake – Satan prowls around like a roaring lion looking to devour you! (1 Peter 5:8). You are in enemy territory and Satan wants to spiritually kill you! He wants to destroy your faith by having you embrace the culture and its apostasy. He wants you to attend a church that no longer abides by God’s word but instead embraces heresy. He wants you to have a form of godliness that is no godliness at all. He wants you to believe you are following Jesus when in fact you have no relationship with Him at all! Satan’s job is to separate you from God, make you renounce your allegiance to your King.
The prophets were God’s personal messengers and they killed most of them. Jesus was God incarnate and they nailed Him to a cross. What do you think, dear friend, they will do to us?
Yet, like the prophets and Jesus Himself, we are to have courage because we know that while the battle continues to rage, the war has been won. We know that no matter what they do to us, we are victorious in Christ. We know that even if we give our lives in this conflict, we will live eternally with Jesus. We have overcome death and the promise of perfection awaits us. Whom then shall we fear? (Psalm 27:1)
As for me and my house, we shall follow the Lord! (Joshua 24:15). I will shine my light as brightly as the Lord allows drawing to me both friend and foe. My fight is not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces (Ephesians 6:12) so I will wield the supernatural weapons of love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness to batter my enemy. I know that I will be wounded in this battle, perhaps falling at times, yet I know that my commander will lift me back up and restore me to fight another day! I am already more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37), I am an heir to the throne through the blood of Jesus! (Romans 8:17) So, I will fight to make things on earth as they are in heaven (Matthew 6:9-13) and await the day when God makes everything new (Revelation 21:5). I will shout the name of Jesus from the mountaintops until my dying breath no matter the cost.
I live in enemy territory but I will live as if I am already the victor because I am.