Monday, June 29, 2009

Preparing for Enemy Territory

Entering enemy territory is dangerous.

This may appear like a “duh” statement on the surface. However, you’d be surprised at how many people will cross the boundaries freely, even carelessly—as long as real guns, bombs, or the potential for physical torture and death aren’t involved.

Yet shouldn’t we show more concern for our minds and souls than our physical bodies? For our human bodies are temporary and can be destroyed only once by men. But our souls—they are eternal and can be thrown into hell forever, a fate much worse than any torture mankind can dish out. (Matthew 10:28)

Therefore, wouldn’t it make sense that we should approach the ideological and theological battle grounds with as much or more caution than a physical one? After all, just like in the physical world, we can be wounded, captured, and turned against God by the enemy, both psychologically and spiritually and often with more devastating results.

So when considering the risks, I am prompted to ask a question: Are you really the one to enter the enemy’s territory?

Don’t answer quickly or glibly. Or if you do, then the answer is probably no; you have failed to consider the consequences and are unready to face the enemy.

But some, maybe even many, will hesitate. That’s good. A sensitive spirit and a willingness to consider the cost are both desirable in this tightrope business. However, that hesitation will probably prompt an answering question: How do I know if I should do this?

Like so many other areas of life, there is no simple solution to so complex a question. What I can provide, though, is a few thoughts to chew on.

1. Is this your area to spy out? Moses sent only twelve men to check out Canaan (Numbers 13), and just two went to Jericho (Joshua 2:1). So is this territory one you need to spy out personally, or can you rely on the reports of others?

2. Is this the right time for you to go? Walking through enemy territory will require alertness, quick reflexes, gut instincts, and defensive reactions. If current circumstances have left you wounded or if you’ve failed to keep spiritually fit through the disciplines like Bible study and prayer, consider putting off exploration until a later date.

3. Has prayer preceded the decision? God knows what lies ahead for you and whether you’re ready to face these challenges. Therefore pray for wisdom and clear direction and ask others to do the same for you.

If your answer to all these questions is a resounding yes, then this might be the time to cross the boundaries. If not, consider leaving this territory for others. After all, if everyone was a spy, where would the army be?

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