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Chapter 24 - Battlefield Earth
The phrase 'Battlefield Earth" is from a book and latter film by Ron Hubbard, the founder of the cult Scientology. It was a poor attempt at science fiction, but the title does describe one way to look at Christianity in the twenty-first century. Satan sets the course of the world, for now and insofar as he is allowed by God.
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: - Ephesians 2:1-2
Satan through his worldly institutions has created such chaos, that while many have abandoned Christ, many of those who would follow him have been led astray.
One might look at Christians today as if we were the walking wounded of a global battle in which we have been severely trounced. Some like zombies shuffle through the world shell shocked and buffeted by forces they do not comprehend. Others can be seen as having been taken prisoner and placed in what could be called POW camps that some churches resemble where members are parked in inactivity to sit out the war. Still others were so poorly prepared to engage the opposing forces, that they have been severely wounded and are now crippled.
Sadly, one of the more effective tactics of the enemy is to get Christians to attack each other. This is as tragic as it would have been for the Army and Navy to attack each other on D day instead of invading Normandy. The bible uses the illustration of combat to describe what 'equipment' is available to the Christian.
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; - Ephesians 6:11-18
The objective for the Christian is not conquest, but a thorough, faithful, and resolute endurance, 'to stand'. Sadly, most of us do not even know we are under attack or even when we are wounded or disabled. Most are seduced into a comfortable accommodation with the world where we represent no threat to the advancement of Satanís plans.
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. - 1 Timothy 6:12
But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. - Hebrews 3:13
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. - Colossians 3:16
The 'battlefield' illustration is useful in order to appreciate the forces arrayed against the Christian. Because each Christian is a part of the 'body' of Christ, an attack upon any one of us is an attempt by Satan to harm Christ. One of the primary tactics is to get the Christian to trust in something other than Jesus.
And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus: Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? - Acts 13:6-10
In Acts we have a brief account of a man named Sergius Paulus who had expressed an interest in hearing the word of God. It was this seemingly innocuous act that led to him being targeted for attention. We can conclude that it was the use of subtlety and mischief to 'turn' Sergius from the faith by the 'child of the devil' Elymas that constituted the actual attack.
The key object of the attack of the enemy is faith (that in which we trust). If we can be led to trust in ourselves, the world, riches, friends, or anything other than Jesus, we can be crippled and taken out of the game. What Satan has been most successful in with Christians is getting Christians to trust in their church rather than Jesus. For example, some may believe (trust) that their membership in a particular denomination is what saves them. They may trust in their baptism as an infant. They may trust in a prayer they once said or an act such as 'really repenting'.
By getting Christians just slightly diverted from trusting in Jesus, he can get us to sustain a 'Christian' tradition that is a trap for others so that they also are led away from Jesus. If unable to divert faith, Satan will settle for being able to quench it. When Christians are made inert or directed into paths of futility, they can also be made ineffective for Christ.
We know that when Christians are judged for the rewards their work on earth has achieved, some will find that they were mistaken about the value of their efforts.
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. - 1 Corinthians 3:11-15
In order for the Christian to extract himself from activities that produce 'wood, hay, and stubble' he needs to understand where he is, where he came from, what is true and how to get there. This often requires radical change. Considering how many different snares, traps, temptations, and false teachings there are one might expect to take the occasional wrong turn.
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