A good soldier knows how to fight and obeys his commanding officer. A great soldier obeys and fights, but he/she is and does so much more: he knows how to find his opponent’s weakness, and how to fight to the end with resolute determination. This great soldier responds and acts quickly, and works well with his fellow soldiers, because his intense training has served him well. What he doesn’t do is take valuable time to play around with or tease the enemy. That could cost him or others their lives. This soldier’s mission must be carried out swiftly, efficiently, and completely.

Our common enemy does not fight like our soldiers are trained to do. As the commanding officer and General of his legions, Satan instructs his demonic force to infiltrate our ranks quietly, and work slowly among us, with cunning and devious ways. He even takes delight in toying with us by using our weaknesses against us. He knows that if he can get us to submit to our own weakness, then he has a tighter grip on our lives, making it more difficult for us to listen and respond to our commander, the Lord Jesus. When we fail ourselves by giving in to temptation, we succumb to guilt, and tend to distance ourselves from God. It is not God distancing himself from us. Our enemy knows how to penetrate our lives because he knows our vulnerabilities.

The other day, I observed a black cat in a neighbor’s front yard. It was hanging out by a tree, but I noticed there was a wounded chipmunk at it’s feet. This little critter was trying desperately to get away from its captor, but the cat kept chasing it down, picking it up, tossing it a bit, then looking away, and giving the chipmunk little moments of hopeful freedom. This game went on for several minutes. The chipmunk would lay there near the cat’s paws, then quickly try to run away, but the cat would catch it and bring it back. Having watched this scenario before, I knew one of two things would happen: either the chipmunk would play dead, therefore the cat would lose interest in toying with it so the chipmunk would run away, OR the cat would eventually kill it and leave it there, but not likely eat it, even after all of that. The death of the chipmunk was just a game to the cat.

THIS is what Satan does to us! He doesn’t play fair. He deviously enjoys watching God’s children suffer as he exploits that desire for a strong drink, or for secretly viewing porn and lying about it, or for placing the ensuing heavy bonds of guilt on us for caving in to whatever our temptations are.

Here is the thing: Satan is not the only one who knows our weaknesses. God does as well. Though Satan toys with us in those areas that we struggle with in our christian walk, the Lord goes the opposite route. He asks us as his soldiers to trust and obey his commands of fleeing those passions, and turn to Him to be our strength. When you first feel that urge to cheat, lie, or be selfish, remember who has overcome these things, and ask Jesus to give you the determination. DO NOT DELAY, but act immediately, swiftly, with determination to conquer this enemy and his hatred for you.

Nip that ugly desire in the bud! If you do not, then it will only grow stronger as you grow weaker.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthian’s 12:9-10

Jesus chose to be human as we are. He lived it, for 33 years. Satan tried to tempt him with human power, position, and pride. Every step of the way, Satan failed. Then as Jesus’ crucifixion neared, Satan saw an opportunity to toy with Jesus again. So his minions, the Roman soldiers, mocked, taunted, and flogged Jesus, for several hours, with the hopes that he would not be seen as our Savior, but as a weak man. For this, Satan FAILED! His toying with Jesus ultimately led to our Lord conquering his potential human weaknesses and finally death!

How did Jesus complete his mission? By obeying His heavenly Father, by not giving in to the multitude of temptations that Satan put before him in an effort to thwart God’s plan, and by knowing that if He overcame these things, that the rest of humanity would have the way to conquer these things as well. For us, this has been done through the purposefully shed blood of Jesus Christ, followed by our faithfully serving Him as our Commander and General.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9

If you are weighed down by things you have done in the past, whether it was harmful to you or to others, or whether man has forgiven you or not, please know that without a doubt you can turn all of that burden over to Jesus. If He can forgive you, and He certainly will, then you need to forgive yourself. You are not greater than He, so if He can do it, you can too. If you do not forgive yourself, then that weight is another stronghold that Satan has on you! He will continue to remind you of your sins, which will keep you in bondage to them. Break free!!! Do not let him toy with you any more. You are a great soldier of Jesus Christ, and you answer to Him.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:10-12

Lord Jesus, thank you for withstanding what the evil one put you through. You have set an example for me, and with your help, I can be an overcomer of temptations. Remind me when the going gets tough that I have your Holy Spirit living in me, and that He will remind me that you are my strength, and that you have given me the weapons to fight against the evil one. I submit to you as my General, my High Priest, my King, my Savior and as the Living God. I will strive to be a great soldier in your service, to live for you by serving and loving others, so that my missions in this life be completed swiftly, efficiently and completely.
May your name be praised, spoken, and respected!

Food for thought: What is your go-to weapon when you are being tempted?
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
Ephesians 13-18

Fun facts: Regarded as likely the greatest general of all time, Alexander the Great never lost a battle in his career. He would often name the cities he conquered after himself, 70 in total, and he even named a city, Bucephala, Pakistan, after his own horse, Bucephalus.

Photo by: Stijn Swinnen – Lost in the Wilderness