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Trapped Behind Enemy Lines

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

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"We are living in enemy occupied territory." - C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Every time I hear the phrase “enemy occupied territory”, I think of the Peanuts TV special, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” that airs each Halloween, Whereas much of this animated cartoon focuses on Linus as he sits in his pumpkin patch, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Great Pumpkin, my favorite subplot features Snoopy pretending he is trapped behind enemy lines during World War I after being shot down by the dreaded Red Baron.

After losing his aerial “dogfight”, Snoopy escapes from the smoldering wreckage of his Sopwith Camel and scurries across the French countryside under the cover of darkness, trying to avoid capture. Eventually, he stumbles upon a farmhouse and the comedic results range from apple-bobbing, during which he accidently kisses Lucy, to his breaking down in tears as Schroeder plays a melancholy song on his toy piano.

As much as I enjoy this seasonal cartoon, there is nothing funny about living in enemy occupied territory. This world – in fact, the entire universe – was created by God, but Adam temporarily handed over the “keys to the kingdom” when he sinned in the Garden of Eden. Since then, Satan has been granted free access (with God-imposed limits) to rein and rule until Jesus returns in all His glory.

So, what does that mean for us as believers? First, we need to recognize that we are wrestling against “principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12). As such, it is essential that our spiritual armor be in place at all times. Second, we must be wary of Satan, the enemy of our soul, who is constantly roaming this earth like a roaring lion, seeking to devour us (I Peter 5:8).

But third, and most importantly, we should rejoice in the fact that, at the cross, Jesus triumphed not only over sin and death, but also over these same “principalities and powers” (Colossians 2:15). Paul culminates that celebratory passage by describing how Jesus “disarmed” His enemies and ours, and made a “public spectacle” of them.

As the old Southern Gospel song says, “I read the back of the Book… and we win!”

“The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” Revelation 20:10 (NKJV)

- Rev. Dale M. Glading, President

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