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On All Fronts (how the armies fall)

They say the best way to defeat an army is to divide and conquer. As Christians, we don’t often think of ourselves as an army, but we are God's army—ordered to march into a fallen world, spreading His message and His love.

This world is a battleground, and we are sent headlong into that darkness, armed with God's Word, and determined to be a light. It’s easy to think that we’re safe there, that nothing can touch us under God's protective wings.

But there's someone out there, who wants nothing more than to see God's army fall. The stronger our dedication to God, the more the enemy tries to knock us off our path.

He doesn’t come at us head on, because he knows we will see him coming; no, he slips in under cover of darkness, when we least expect it, and whispers to our human vulnerabilities: pride, fear, lust, greed, doubt, distrust.

He can’t defeat us from the outside, so he attacks from within. He does it so carefully, and so expertly, that we don’t even realize he’s creating dissension.

A slight disagreement becomes an argument, an argument becomes a rift, and before we know it, he has turned brother against brother, sister against sister, and husband against wife.

How could he possibly do this to God's people?

Because he slips in and out like a thief in the night, and so often, we don't even see what he's done until it's too late.

All we know, is that our anger feels righteous, our judgment feels justified, and we're on the right path. And yet, it's not the path that God set us on.

Our pride--a weakness the enemy manipulates--can blind us, so that we can’t even see that we’ve taken a wrong turn, that we should’ve asked for guidance, and that maybe—just maybe—we were wrong.

Because of pride, because of fear, because of greed, God’s army starts to divide. We’ve allowed the enemy to slip in and prey on our weaknesses, and we didn't even put up a fight.

For him, this is a small victory.

But it's not enough. He continues to twist the truth and manipulate, convincing us that it’s okay to judge our neighbor, our brother, our sister. He uses our own beliefs as proof: even the Bible says what they’re doing is sinful, which means it’s our right, our duty, to call them out of the shadows, to hold them accountable.

But that’s not our place, no matter how righteous our argument feels. No matter how much we disapprove.

None of us are blameless or sinless. We all make mistakes. We all stumble and fall. None of us is so pure that we can cast that stone at another. That is why God is the judge, and not us.

That is why forgiveness and grace exist.

Before we decide to condemn another for their actions and choices, we need to make sure our own hearts and minds are free of the enemy’s influence. We need to take a step back and truly look at the source and motivation behind our feelings, because I think we’ll find a voice.

The question is, who does that voice belong to? Does it belong to God, or does it belong to the enemy? Sometimes it’s hard to tell when we’re lost in the moment and overwhelmed with emotion, but when we take a step back and really think about it, it becomes clearer:

Jesus is not a God of division.

No matter what someone has done or said, Jesus has always been willing to forgive. He longs to bring His people together, not to see them torn apart.

Satan is the instigator of division and chaos in the world, even among Christ followers. Because a broken army is easier to defeat, and although we know he won’t win in the end, his pride won’t allow him to see it. He will keep fighting, and he will take as many of us from God as he can.

We need to be aware of our enemy on all fronts, because through doubt and lust, he will destroy a God-centered marriage; through greed for wealth and power, he will rip apart churches; through pride and judgment, he will drive a wedge between God's people.

This is how souls become bitter and lost, how the church breaks, and how God's people divide. As Christians, we need to stand hand-in-hand, guarding each other's backs; we need to be an unbreakable wall for Christ, an army that will not fall.

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