An Elusive Enemy
“And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. -2 Corinthians 11:14
At any given time in the Vietnam War, especially daytime, an entire army was out of sight, hidden underground in myriads of tunnels throughout South Vietnam. The enemy, Vietcong or North Vietnamese soldiers, were expert tunnelers. They could perfectly hide the entrance to tunnels which housed deep-underground personnel barracks, hospitals, ammo caches, food kitchens, and/or supply warehouses. Their penchant for the use of tunnels made them an elusive army which could strike lethally anywhere in the country, in small or larger units.
Satan is just like that. He perpetuates an elusiveness that can penetrate the defenses of his victims with alarming effectiveness. As C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters shows with comedic and shrewd efficiency, Satan has studied his target with cunning thinking and knows how to destroy his male or female targets with seeming ease. Were it not for God on the side of those who trust in Him, Satan would overwhelm you with his arrows of evil.
I remember well the tunnels “Charlie, the Vietcong, used effectively and elusively in Vietnam. We are visiting one of the largest tunnel complexes in the country between Saigon and the Mekong Delta, Cu Chi. But of the many we discovered in my part of the war, there were so many more we never located. The enemy was out in force many nights, but at the first sign of dawn they melted away into the myriad tunnel networks throughout the land where they could not be seen.
Similarly, we rarely see or even sense Satan and his minions as they worm their way into our lives and lusts and proclivities for sin. Jesus warns us of the devil’s warring methods against us; the Word of God minces no words in stating the necessity of our defenses and weapons needed to defeat him. He does not show himself to us as he did Jesus in the wilderness, but under the cover of darkness and disguise, he charades himself as an angel of light, while lunging for the jugular.
Before we are even aware, he too often has us on the ground for the count. If he elicits guilt, you are embarrassed, seemingly destroyed, utterly weakened. If you are already the prisoner of evil, he may leave you alone to enable you to destroy yourself. But if you are a believer, he becomes a stalker of your very soul. 1 Peter 5:8 urges us, “Be sober, be vigilant, for your adversary, the devil, prowls around as a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
You do have at your disposal a promised effective defense against a fierce and persistent enemy. Your defense requires your faith alone. The Bible says there is no temptation overtaken you that is not common to all men and none that is beyond your ability to handle. Such is always true, God says.
The tunnels which camouflage Satan are discoverable. He can be defeated. Jesus clearly promises that if you confront the devil, he will flee from you. But you must soberly keep your vigilance; no time for sleepy defenses. Consistent time in His Word and continual, specific, relevant prayer are your daily marching orders – and your salvation!
“Stand then in His great might with all your strength endued, but take to arm you for the fight the panoply of God. Leave no unguarded place, no weakness of the soul; take every virtue, every grace, and fortify the whole.
(2nd verse of Charles Wesley’s hymn, “Soldiers of Christ, Arise, 1749)
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