"Keeping The Armor On At The Front" is reality TV in print. On Aug 14, 2009, I was done working on a novel when the Lord dropped an idea in my brain. The idea that bolted into my head? Describe episodes of temptation as they happen.
The title, "At The Front" relates to the frontlines of a battlefield. That is where believers in Jesus Christ are engaged when temptation comes upon us; that battlefield is the mind. Each episode, or battle report, will be real. These "reports" will be in the first person, present tense. There are aspects that have been fictionalized or dramatized only to better illustrate how the enemy works and how the believer can stand firm. Romans 14:14b. There are individual dossiers on each enemy that will peel away at their most common weapon - temptation.
While I suddenly found myself in the position of main character, I believe the Lord wants these encounters written so the reader can step into the main character role. So, there is not the usual description of a main character; however, since we are at war, the most logical role for the main character – a soldier, of course! I hope you’ll find yourself relating so closely with the struggles that you become the soldier. The "juicy" details of the temptations are minimized to allow the writing to focus on the tactics and technique of the enemy. The reader is encouraged to "fill-in the blanks" with their own personal struggle thus allowing the reader to discover which enemy forces are hindering them from experiencing the fullness of joy in Christ Jesus.
A word about spiritual warfare. This is not “Braveheart” nor “Saving Private Ryan”. While there are documented cases of Christians doing direct warfare and casting out demons-which I believe are real-we’re talking about the more common clandestine maneuvers, double agents, and boobie-traps. It’s quiet mundane, really. Better described as a chess match between an unskilled player (that’s you and me) and a skilled opponent (that’s the devil). Yes, the battle belongs to the Lord; but we are His soldiers; sitting in the scope of a snipers rifle. The problem? We don’t know how to defend ourselves, let alone make any kind of counter offensive.
My purpose is clear. Expose the enemy's methods, illustrate exercising God's authority through the use of the armor given to us as believers, and hopefully release some POW's (fellow believers caught in bondage). Hmm, should we coin a new term; BIB's (believers in bondage).
Let me take a moment to address those who are new in their relationship with Jesus. The Bible contains many instructions for our defense against the enemy (satan and his demons). Probably the most common reference is the book of Ephesians, Chapter 6, verses 10-18; referring to the armor of God. A full listing of the armor is found in Appendix B. Take time to familiarize yourself with each piece. I mentioned earlier the enemy we fight works primarily in a clandestine manner yet is still relentless. Do you understand relentless? I think of the Orcs, and Uruk-hai in the "Lord of the Rings" and I get a good picture of a relentless enemy. One problem. From my observation we have become anesthetized Christians. Generally, Christians don't know much about relentlessly fighting the enemy because, for the most part, they are not striving to be obedient to the Word of God.
However; Christians know more about what's happened with their favorite celebrity than about John Mark, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, or Youcef Nardarkhani, who gave their lives for the Gospel message. Many others are in similar relentless pursuits; yet go without the full cover of protection prayer can give; because we’re too “busy” seeing who the Bachelor chooses. As such, the enemy need not put forth much effort to cause us to stumble. "Onward Christian Soldier" – I think not. You say the Bible doesn't support followers of Jesus being relentless, or it sound too aggressive. How about persistent? There's Biblical support for that; but again, I say the average Christian knows little of being persistent. Which is why, as Christians, we have so little authority over the enemy. This tide must turn. You want to step forward and become the soldier our Lord needs you to be? You must understand the cost; train hard and it will be our enemy who pays the price.
This work is not intended to advocate that the devil is in the toaster, that the devil caused the car to malfunction, etc. The point of this writing is to look at temptation and how it snares us to do that which we know we should not do. This work is also intended to help believes discover how to keep the armor on throughout the day. It is my hope that through an increased awareness of these issues the enemy will lose their position of advantage – an ignorant follower of Jesus Christ.
Take note of the blank spaces as you go through each Battle Report. This is your opportunity to “fill in the blanks” with the piece of the armor being used. The only way to get good at using the armor of God is to recognize how to use it and practice using it; otherwise your just easy pickins‘.
Heavenly Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I pray You would bless this work for Your glory. May the truth of Your word set Your children free from the veils placed over their spiritual eyes and heart. By the authority of the name of Jesus, and for Your glory, let Your servants shake off the shackles of bondage which keep us from glorifying You to the fullest.
Now…Let the war unfold.