During the civil war, the story is told of a soldier who couldn’t decide if he wanted to fight for the north, or for the south. He finally came up with an ingenious plan that in his mind allowed him to fight for both sides at the same time. The soldier dressed himself in the coat of a yankee who fought for the north, and the pants of a confederate who fought for the south.
You can probably guess what happened…
he got shot at from both armies.
It’s never enjoyable to be shot at or “attacked” by other people. But the truth of the matter is, for committed follower of Christ, this is a part of life.
The man reason is because there’s no middle ground between being a Christian, and being an unsaved person. One individual is a child of God, while the other is a child of satan (being controlled by him). Though we can try to find middle ground where it is safe, like the soldier we will eventually be attacked anyways.
Because being attacked is part of the Christian life, we must make sure we are prepared for it
Sanballat and Tobiah, the enemies of Nehemiah, already tried a few different tactics to stop his rebuilding project.
- They started by lying about the motives of Nehemiah (2:19)
- And mocked the work of the wall trying to discourage them (4:1-3)
When neither of those worked, they attacked Nehemiah directly
its not hard to understand why Sanballat and Tobiah attacked Nehemiah
- They were taking advantage of the Jews in their weakened state
- Once Jerusalem was strengthened with the new wall, they would become servants to the Jews
- They worshipped false Gods and did not want the true God to be glorified
- And Nehemiah had already accomplished more of the work than they expected
In the same way its not hard to see why Christians are attacked by the unsaved
- We are led by the Holy Spirit instead of our sin nature
- They will be convicted by our testimony for Christ
- Satan (who controls them) wants to put an end to the work of God
- And the world as a whole rejects Biblical absolutes
Of course it isn’t enough to expect the attacks of Satan…we must be prepared for them
Few passages help us understand more about spiritual warfare than Ephesians 6:10-18 where we are encouraged to put on the “armor of God.” The key verse in this passage is Ephesians 6:13.
Ephesians 6:13 13 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.
Notice the reason we have the armor of God is that we can “stand.” That word is seen twice in this verse, along with once in 6:11, and 6:14. The idea of the word is staying close to God.
It’s interesting that we often look upon the armor of God passage as offering weapons we can use in battle. Yet the context of this passage isn’t about us “fighting Satan” but using those weapons to stay close to the Lord. The emphasis is not on our strength, but drawing our strength from God.
So knowing we will be attacked spiritually, emotionally, and sometimes every verbally, we must stay close to our Fathers side. For this is our only hope to combat the attacks of satan.
In a perfect world standing for the Lord won’t bring hostility and trials. But till the New Heaven and New Earth come we must expect to see an arrow or two heading our way. And that realization calls us to a life of dependence instead of trying to charge out in our own strength.