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Did You Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight?

We experience the scene from the attacker's point of view as he quietly breaks into Chicago police officer Jim Malone's apartment. We can see the knife in his hand, ready to take the officer's life. He slowly closes in on his prey. Just as he is about to lunge, Officer Malone (played by Sean Connery) turns and brandishes his shotgun. "Isn't that just like a [unacceptable racist term for an Italian-American]. Brings a knife to a gun fight." This line from The Untouchables has taken on a life of its own. It so clearly articulates how a lack of preparation and understanding can leave us unprepared for the challenges we face.

"Life is war. That's not all it is. But it is always that."~ John Piper

The Bible would seem to support John's assertion. Peter says "the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8) Paul tells us to "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil." (Ephesians 6:11) He tells Timothy to "Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12) Jesus says, "In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) John tells us that "this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. (1 John 5:4)

Life is war. We are under attack, not primarily by people with different values than ours or political parties we disagree with, but by the spiritual forces of darkness. They've brought their best weapons to bear on us. What do we have?

We have the full armor of God. We have the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and we have the Shield of Faith to quench every fiery attack of the evil one. Some of us, however, choose to only carry a short little dagger and a tin plate. We've brought a knife to a gun fight.

The problem isn't that the Word of God is insufficient. The problem is that we aren't proficient with it. We haven't read and absorbed enough of it. Our understanding of Scripture is the size of a small knife rather than a mighty, flashing sword. Because of this, our shield of faith is tiny and fragile; the enemy slashes through it like tinfoil. Our faith can only grow as strong as our knowledge of God, his promises, and his actions. Since we haven't steeped ourselves in God's Word, our faith is small and easily overcome.

Did you bring a knife to a gunfight? It's never too late to upgrade your armor. If you don't know how to start, here's a suggestion. Go buy Tony Evans' great book Praying Through the Names of God. Then get yourself a Bible reading plan that will take you through the whole Bible in a year. (Here are some good ones.) Commit to praying through one name of God and reading through that day's Bible passage consistently. It will take you less than 20 minutes, but you'll be shocked what it will do for your spiritual strength and your relationship with God.

Don't get overwhelmed by the enemy. Get your armor on!


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