I love old 80’s and 90’s cartoons. I love the over-the-top action, the color (oh man that color pallet!), and the laser guns. Like for real, every bad guy was armed with a laser gun (Fun fact from Joshua’s film knowledge, it was a law that you could not have real guns on children TV shows. Oh, how far we’ve gone). The best part of these cartoons were the public service announcements. G.I. Joe, Transformers, and X-men would all warn children of the dangers of not wearing seatbelts or talking with strangers; always ending with the phrase, “knowing is half the battle.” I love these commercials, not only because it’s good to not go anywhere near that spooky stranger, but it tells us a lot about how we should prepare in a spiritual battle we face. I’ve been talking each week this month about having spiritual victory, which means, knowing our enemy is half the battle. Satan is the king of lies, which we talked about last week, and often in our lives when we are caught off our guard, we can take challenges and lies as being things of God. We ask God why you would do this, the truth is, he didn’t. God created our world to be perfect and everything in it to be good, but we rebelled because off the trickery from Satan.
We need to be aware of what our enemy will do. We need to understand his strategy, so that in the moment, we can put on the armor of God. In John 10:10 we see the evil plan, “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life and life to the full.” Jesus shows us the strategy, because knowing is half the battle. We can prepare to see the signs so that when that thief comes, we can be ready to fight back. A thief takes without caring; he’s not worried about your life or feelings, and thankfully, we have a savior who loves us and made us for more. It’s time to have live in victory and knowing is half the battle.
The thief wants to steal your innocence.
This is the first step to his attack. These are the small compromises in life we take. It’s the things that make us say, “Oh it’s not that bad.” “A little bit won’t hurt me.” We live in a fallen world and it’s hard not to avoid the traps set out. We see that underwear commercial pop up, we become desensitized to the violence that surrounds us, we put weight into stereotypes we know are wrong; small things. Oh, it’s not that bad. Satan swoops in with that and preys on us. We need to understand the tactic. We need to know and react to the battle. We need to get filters on our computers, we need to switch off the TV when that Victoria’s Secret (spoiler, the secret is emptiness), we need to actively call out stereotypes that ruin lives; We need to be uncomfortable with the comfort of compromise. We need to replace the garbage in our minds with the truth of God’s love for each of us, so guard your heart.
The thief wants to kill you.
Woah Joshua, that’s kinda intense. Yup, and it’s the hard truth. The lies of the enemy and world around us lead to death. Only true life is found in the love of our savior. We get distracted by fools dreams and miss the destruction around us. Childish Gambino (Donald Glover) released a music video for his new song, This Is America, and I highly recommend it as it pertains to this idea. I will link it, but be aware, this is adult as there is graphic violence and imagery, and a bit of language. It’s important. The video shows instances of graphic violence and black stereotypes that are still being fought against, after each instance we cut back to Glover’s viral dancing. In the midst of his silly dancing we have youth copying him, because it’s the current “cool” thing to do, all while in the back ground we see riots, a suicide of a black youth (Depressions and suicide are rampant in black youth due to lack of support, Mental health is serious), and even biblical imagery of death on a pale horse. It may offend you and not everything in it I believe in, but I think Glover is illustrating a tactic Satan uses, and that is why I’m highlighting it. We are distracted by foolish things that will fade away, the world is dying, and if we don’t step into the truth of the gospel, the world will kill us. This is the second tactic of Satan. We need to wake up, walk in what God has set out for us, and guard our hearts.
The thief wants to destroy you.
Satan doesn’t like you. He’s not your friend. He’s not redeemable. This is the final attack, not only does he want your mind and your heart, he wants to utterly destroy you and everything around you. The word destroy means to leave things in rubble. This is the one that hurts me the most. I have seen friends lose their mind and heart, and once they had nothing left, they took their life. This brings me to tears, even now in this coffee shop, because this is the biggest lie of all. Even in your brokenness, God has designed you for a beautiful purpose. Never give up. No matter what happens to you or to those you love, God wants to bring you out of the pit and make you a king and queen, you are royalty. The enemy only wants to decimate you and those around you, but he has no control over you. You make the final choice, so guard your life by choosing it. In Christ we find love and protection over all opposition because he has already won, he beat death so we could have life. Guard your life.
My prayer for this year has been that God would help me remember I am gifted, as we all are gifted. I have been made for more. The enemy has tried to steal from me, kill me and destroy me; but God has not left me. He gave me the wisdom to know how the enemy will come at me and knowing is half the battle. The final half is choosing to guard my mind, heart, and life with everything in me. I urge you, when life throws pain at you and when the enemy tries to decimate all that you are, place your eyes towards heaven and run towards the one who gives you life. We are all on the adventure, we all face harsh weather and mountains to climb, but we are never alone and we are never unprepared. My heart is to help the next generation see that they are valued and to help everyone see that they can do all things through Christ. So, guard your mind, guard your heart, and guard your life; because Jesus came that we may have life, and life to the full.
Live life to the full and devote your life to following a savior that loves you so much.
I originally wrote this post in 2015, in the midst of one of the hardest seasons in my life. I wanted to re-vamp it, keeping elements from the original and speaking to new perspectives in the three years. I hope it has spoken to you and helped you begin to guard your heart from attack. Share it for the people in your life, especially if they have been in a battle for a long time.