Here is the follow-up to my email regarding the flesh vs. Satan:
So, another aspect of the war that I have been pondering lately is that not
everything is a direct attack from the enemy. Last email I talked about
dealing with the flesh vs. attacks from the enemy.
When dealing with attack, you tend to be in a defensive posture, all
hunkered down in your foxhole with your sandbags piled high, your buddies
around you covering your back and blind side (this email will be full of
military references). It’s good to be defensive, and to be well-protected,
but if you stay in a defensive posture in your fortress or base camp, you
never go out to fight the enemy. It’s like the island-hopping campaign in
the Pacific during WWII – we bypassed some of the Japanese stronghold islands, and they became a non-factor in the war. If we’re holed up waiting
for the enemy to attack, he has us where he wants us – out of the main
We are in a War, gentlemen, which means we are supposed to be out fighting
the enemy. We need to sally out from our strongholds and engage him and his
It’s kind of like we are going out on patrol, looking for the enemy.
Sometimes we know where he is, sometimes he attacks us, but most of what I
run into in this world is not an attack. Things like the posters at the
train stations or billboards along the freeway or the immodestly dressed
woman walking down the street or the donuts in the window on my walk to
work. Instead they are more like traps and mines and IEDs planted by the
enemy along my way, and I, as a soldier of the cross, have to proceed down
the path with every sense alert for danger, relying on my point man, the
Holy Spirit, to give me warning of dangers that lie in my path, and never
letting my guard down. In war, people get killed and maimed when you get lazy or let your vigilance drop, even when you think you are in a safe zone.
So, you have to be thinking and alert at all times, not letting your mind
drift into daydreams, or get so caught up in other things that you forget
where you are and what might be around you. This is hard! My normal mode of
walking along is to just let my gaze wander around, my eyes attracted to
every little movement. I see a flash of hair, or a billboard out of the
corner of my eye, or I smell a wonderful smell, and I tend to look without
thinking. Then, when I see something I shouldn’t, I call Marla and talk
about an attack of the enemy…but it’s not! It’s a general trap laid out
there for whomever might come along and stumble into it, not an attack
specifically aimed at me. Satan doesn’t pick up billboards and move them
around just to place them in front of my eyes.
So, I guard my eyes and my heart. I pray a lot, and listen to the Holy
Spirit’s warnings. When I go through a known area, I have to keep mental
markers that remind me of where the traps lie (that’s the hardest one for me
– I am often so lost in my thoughts about things I have to do or whatever
that I am not being wary, and end up glancing at the same thing over and
over just because I lose track of where I am).
Like a seasoned warrior you have to learn and be aware of the warning signs
that a trap might be in your path. If you go visit the stereotypical
mechanic’s shop, you can expect to see pin-up girl posters on the wall in
the garage, and thus you purposely avoid looking at any pictures on the
walls, just in case. If you hear the clicking of stiletto heels coming from
around the corner or along the street, you don’t have to look in that
direction. If you smell enticing perfume (or, like I did not long ago, toll
go on and on. The point is, learn your enemy’s tactics and patterns, and
avoid his traps.
Also, when you do fall into a trap because you weren’t paying attention (or,
especially, because you wanted to see how close you could get to the trap
without getting hurt – it’s not wise to play with a trip wire), it is sin.
You need to see it as sin, confess it as sin, grieve over it as sin.
Don’t try to pull Adam and Eve’s stunt:
The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of
the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this
that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
(Genesis 3:12, 13 ESV)
God didn’t let them shift the blame. He won’t let you get away with it.
Your wife (if you have one) will see right through it. Man up, take
responsibility for your failure, get right with God and whoever else may
have been hit by the shrapnel, and move on with a resolution not to let it
happen again. Learn from it! Change! Discipline yourself!
Well, those are my rambling thoughts for today.