Sixth century Chinese general Sun Tzu’s book The Art of War has stood the test of time and remains a leading authority in military warfare. A mix of military study and practiced wisdom, it offers readers strategic advice for battles and open attacks. The book may have been written thousands of years ago to help in military situations, but it has a direct correlation to my life in 2014.
In today’s comfortable world, it is easy to forget that we are constantly engaged in spiritual warfare. Our adversary, the Devil, knows everything there is to know about battle. He uses our apathetic, lackadaisical attitude against us, our family, our friends, and our coworkers. With this in mind, I am studying my enemy and myself. I see Satan effortlessly applying Tzu’s advice; while I see myself searching the Bible for God’s counterattack.
Tzu encourages, “Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.” Satan would like Christians to see him as weak. Better yet, he would like us to forget that he exists. If we forget, we do not fight and are more susceptible to his attacks. It is important that we remember I Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
Tzu continues, “If his forces are united, separate them.” If Satan can separate Christians and divide them, it is easier to attack us. The Bible says that we are to be unified and to build one another up. How can we do this when Satan has divided us? “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye” Colossians 3:13-14).
Satan’s next plan off attack is straight from Tzu. “If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them.” Our sin separates us from God, but I John 1:9 assures us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” When Satan tries to convince us that forgiveness is not that simple, we can remember, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
In this age of spiritual decline, it is more important than ever that we step forward and embrace the battle, giving everything we have to spreading the Gospel and living a life that reflects Christ’s light. I pray in my daily walk that I remember Satan’s presence and his desire to separate me from God and my fellow believers. I strive to prepare and as Ephesians 6:11 encourages me to do, I “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”