January 27, 2023

Battle Stations!

Think of the Church, the corporate Body of Christ, as a vessel sailing in a war zone.

“Battle stations, battle stations! All hands man your battle stations!” The blaring alarm generated an immediate reaction as I sat up in my bunk, only to hit my head on the overhead. I missed the part of the announcement that said, “This is a drill.” I was an 18-year-old Marine en route to Vietnam on a Navy transport ship. I was learning that the junior enlisted ranks were not privy to most of the shipboard routines, so we were all caught by surprise.

I had taken the top bunk of a four-tier bunk bed having been told by the old “salts” that if the guy on top got seasick, it was “lookout below!” The downside was that there was not sufficient overhead clearance to sit up erect. Maybe it was the bang on the head, but my mind went to the World War II movies and TV shows with thoughts of torpedoes and enemy aircraft. My sergeant alleviated my fears when he informed me it was only a drill.

Battle stations on a Naval vessel are serious business, and everyone is expected to do their part. Everyone has an assigned responsibility — it is an “all hands” effort to ensure the survival of the ship. I want you to think of the Church, the corporate Body of Christ, as a vessel sailing in a war zone. You need to have good intelligence when you are sailing in harm’s way.

Paul told the Corinthian believers to be alert to the actions of the enemy, “so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs” (2 Corinthians 2:11, ESV). The word translated “designs” is the Greek word noema, which means “that which is thought out, a purpose” (Vine’s Dictionary). Sadly, the Church in America is ignorant of Satan’s modus operandi (methods), which has resulted in the declining influence of Christianity in America.

Militarily, we have been engaged in guerrilla warfare in every subsequent engagement (think Iraq and Afghanistan) since Vietnam. The battle is for the hearts and minds of the populace, not the taking of terrain. The way you treat people will determine how they will respond. The tactics of the enemy are fear, intimidation, and brutality. Satan is waging guerrilla warfare against the Church, and Christians have not responded well. In a guerrilla war, there are two opposing sides with the population caught in the middle; they, for the most part, want both sides to leave them alone. How they are treated will determine which side they will support. If the good guys mistreat them, they will either be apathetic toward them or actively be used by the enemy against them.

The Church in America has been treating lost people as the enemy, resulting in a massive army that Satan is now using against us. If you doubt that, you need to start paying attention. When the COVID pandemic began, state and local authorities began to mandate the closing of churches as “non-essential.” Some churches faced legal action for seeking to maintain some level of ministry. Who do you think wants Christians taken off of the battlefield? Hint: It wasn’t God directing churches to be closed. Many churches have closed their doors permanently, and others are dealing with dwindling congregations.

So, what is a guy (or gal) supposed to do? It’s time to suit up! We need to heed Paul’s admonition and not be ignorant of how the enemy operates. To do this, we need to appropriate the weapons that God has given us.

“Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” —Ephesians 6:13-18

“Battle stations, battle stations! All hands man your battle stations! This is NOT a drill. I say again, this is NOT a drill!”

What say ye, Man of Valor?

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