As I write this sentence, thousands of young Americans are presently in a small Caribbean country called Haiti. We are all aware of the situation there, or as aware as we can be. There is one thing about Operation Restore Democracy that has disturbed me. While former President Carter, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell and Senator Sam Nunn were in Haiti reaching an agreement with Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras, members of the 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg were in the air on their way to Haiti with orders to invade. That invasion, as you may know, was called off before it was executed. On the television tonight (September 22, 1994), however, I learned something very troubling. It seems that members of the 82nd Airborne Division, under orders to secure the air field in Haiti, were only given 15 rounds of ammunition in their clips. Now, to put that in perspective, I go hunting with more ammunition than that. And animals don’t shoot back. And yet these young men and women were sent into combat with less ammunition than I take with me on a hunting trip. To make a long story short, they were not properly equipped for the task they were sent out to accomplish.
As Christians our situation is very similar at times. How many of us go out into spiritual combat without the necessary equipment? How often do we try to take on the enemies Satan sends to destroy our souls without being prepared? Make no mistake. Like those who fight martial combats with guns, we are in combat every day. Every day we must fight for our salvation against an enemy who is neither compromising or merciful. Satan is not called a murderer and a lion in the Bible for mere poetic purposes. He is out there every day looking for a chance to destroy our souls. In military terms, he offers no quarter.
But we have an assurance that we have the tools to be victorious, if only we will use them. What good does a gun do a soldier if he does not use it? What good is the Bible, if we do not use it? And how can we use it if we do not know what is in it? This fight we are in is for our very lives, our eternal souls. Can we really afford to leave our only assurance for victory at home on a shelf? The Bible is God’s Word. In it is his eternal purpose and plan for our salvation. It is complete and useful for all the situations we may encounter in life. What did Jesus use to resist the devil in the wilderness? Scripture. The Bible is a fountain of power and of strength for the Christian if he will only use it. Can we really afford to leave it behind?
Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breast-plate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. (Eph. 6:10-17)
I wrote this article for the New York Christian Highlights: a newsletter by and for the Churches of Christ in New York. It was published in 1995 (Vol.19 No.1). If you would like to subscribe to this publication (it’s free), please contact:
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