Sun Tzu and the Devil’s Tactics

To advance without the possibility of being checked, you must first strike at the enemy’s weakest points.
— Sun Tzu, The Art of War  (c.a. 4th century B.C.)

You can learn an awful lot of spiritual value by reading the classics, I do believe, such as Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.  When I first read the quote above, I automatically applied it to our Adversary, the devil, and his army hordes.  And I thought, “Well, this makes perfect sense and, in fact, is one of the Enemy’s tactics: Strike hard and fast at my weakest points.” To broaden this, we could say that Satan and his soldiers strike hard and fast at the weakest points of any and all Christians. Again, it makes perfect sense (which is just one of many, many reasons The Art of War is a classic!)

Sun Tzu goes on to advise, “Be subtle! Be subtle! You can make yourself invisible. Be secretive! Be secretive! You can move without a sound. Thus you hold the enemy’s fate in your hands.” And, oh, how often this happens! Does it not? Our Adversary moves ever so subtly and secretly – not always, mind you, but very often – strikes, injures, and withdraws before we even realize what’s happened! Ever more reason, then, to suit up in the full armor of God and practice vigilance, but also to check our weak points! In other words, we need to take a step back and prayerfully consider where we are weak, and by Word and the Spirit strengthen ourselves in Christ Jesus to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Discipline yourselves; keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith. . . (I Peter 5. 8 – 9a, NRSV)


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