Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.Mark 13:33 ESV
Action movies are my favorite, especially those with superheroes. The more fighting, the better! I realize that not everyone is keen on watching violent movies (different strokes for different folks). However, as true followers of Jesus Christ, we are ALL actively engaged in a war.
Satan, demons, spiritual warfare — they all exist. They are as real as God, angels, and divine providence. Our Christian faith would not be rewarding, let alone proven genuine, if it were not for the trials and conflicts we face in this world. Furthermore, spiritual growth demands that we not only endure sufferings, but also engage and overcome the powers of darkness.
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.Ephesians 6:12 NLT
[T]he testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete.James 1:3,4
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”Fred DVito
However, we don’t have to live in fear of supernatural evil forces. God has given us powerful weapons against temptation, accusation, and even demonic influence. He has given us a name that is above ALL names. He has also given us the Holy Spirit and the Holy Scriptures. These remind us of who He is, who we are, and the authority we have to victoriously face all of life’s challenges. It’s just a matter of taking God at His word, standing firm in times of trouble, and being vigilant at all times.
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong1 Corinthians 16:13
The one who loves us gives us an overwhelming victory in all these difficulties.Romans 8:37 GWT
“Stand firm and immovable as an anvil when it is beaten upon. “Ignatius of Loyola
Soldiers, combat sports athletes, and even gang members know that being alert can make the difference between victory and defeat. Being prepared to react defensively is as important as being ready for an offensive attack. Perhaps even more since an inattentive fighter is as good as a dead fighter. The same can be said of Believers. We are not only given defensive and offensive weapons (The Armor of God), but we are also warned to be watchful. The enemy only needs to catch us off guard (distracted/unfocused) to knock us down and tear us apart.
Be alert, be on watch! Your enemy, the Devil, roams around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.1 Peter 5:8 GNT
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.Proverbs 4:23-27 ESV
It is always important to be vigilant of what you’re doing and aware of your sorroundings.Leona Lewis
But being alert is futile if you are not prepared to counterattack as well as evade unexpected strikes. One of the requirements of a Ninja is to develop survival skills, which include:
- Learning the principles of balance
- Learning and using acrobatic moves
- Learning to anticipate attacks to avoid contact
Perhaps we can learn a thing or two from the Ninja warrior or the desert kangaroo rat a.k.a. the Ninja rat!
Isn’t it amazing how God equipped this critter with such incredible abilities!? Sensitive ears to detect predators’ moves, strong legs for high speed jumps and defensive kicks, and a swirling tail to aid in balancing definitely help this rodent earn its nickname.
Likewise, God has equipped us with abilities to detect (discern) when the enemy is about to strike and to evade his impending attacks. However, these abilities are not part of our human nature. They are supernaturally given to us when we are spiritually reborn [John 3:3, 2 Corinthians 5:17] and they must be developed through spiritual disciplines. Then, as we mature in the knowledge of God and His word, we can effectively use them in spiritual warfare. As children of God, we too are required to develop spiritual survival skills, which include:
- Learning to balance our secular and spiritual life. Not forsaking one for the other, but clearly placing priority on the latter so that it becomes more difficult for the enemy to deceive us.
- Learning to quickly move away/flee from situations that require us to compromise moral standards.
- Learning to anticipate spiritual attacks in order to avoid surprises and falling into temptation.
Knowing our enemy is one of the best ways to fight and overcome spiritual wars. It would behoove us to wake up each day ready to go on the offense knowing that the battle for our soul and that of our loved ones is real. And, ready to defend ourselves against any sudden spiritual assault the Devil may be plotting against us. Remember, spiritual battles begin in the mind. So, let us become Spiritual Ninjas! Let us be vigilant, alert, and prepared to engage and/or retreat when necessary.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.Romans 12:2
And be renewed in the spirit of your minds…giving no opportunity to the devil.Ephesians 3:24, 27
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.James 4:7