“And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” -2 Timothy 2:26
My wife’s grandfather, Pete, was captured in Germany in World War II and became a prisoner of war. In speaking with him of his experience, he confided to me that he had been cared for as good as could be expected. He was not mistreated and struggled most with issues of hunger and being cold. There were simply no blankets for warmth and food was scarce as Germany was struggling to feed their own troops. What made being a POW most difficult was the helpless and confining condition he found himself in as a soldier. I guess we have no idea of the internal struggle Pete went through not being able to be a factor in the war that was going on around him.
As we reflect upon the spiritual war we are fighting in as Christians, we are reminded that our enemy is a strong foe and still believes he can win this conflict. In many cases, he is winning in believers lives. The devil is taking prisoners through his traps and is holding them as POW’s in this conflict, rendering them as no longer being a factor in the war. It is indeed a tragedy that once motivated, bold and relentless soldiers for Christ are now captured by the enemy.
What is happening? Why are so many of our Christian brothers and sisters suddenly caught by the devil? We must first understand that the devil has always been subtle. He entered into a serpent in Genesis 3 and appeared to Eve in all of his sly and crafty persona. He made such a powerful display of words that he was able to convince Eve to disobey God and eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. She then gave the fruit to Adam and he ate, bringing death, suffering and sin into our world for the first time through their disobedience. The devil had trapped Adam and Eve and made them the first casualties in this spiritual conflict.
Thousands of years later, the enemy has not changed his tactics. He hates Christians! His first objective is to take them out, as he did recently in Oregon, but if he cannot accomplish this objective, he will set out to capture them, making them a nonfactor in the war. His methods of capture continue to be subtle. He convinces believers that Church is irrelevant, the Bible is not needed, and prayer takes too long. In other words, he removes the believer’s weapons and ammunition. You might even say he effectively removes their Second Amendment Rights in Christ.
The enemy then sets the trap. He places temptation in front of the believer. It may be a bottle of alcohol or a pill to the former drug addict, it may be a provocative picture or sensuous scene to the one who struggles with pornography, or maybe there will be an opportunity to fudge a few numbers and take someone else’s money. Yes, the devil knows our weaknesses and hits us where we are vulnerable. When we take his bait, we can find ourselves captive in this war between good and evil.
So, how do we keep from becoming POW’s in this conflict? James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
The only reason an enemy is able to take territory that does not belong to him, is because no one puts up a resistance. We merely let him take over what is not his property. We need to stand firm and claim our families for Christ. We do this by taking up our weapons of warfare. Get back into a Bible-believing and teaching church, and not some place that is about entertaining the flesh or preaching a feel good, ear tickling message. Get back into the Word, God’s Word. Open that Bible and allow the Holy Spirit of God to teach you truth. Get back into the prayer closet and reclaim the territory the devil has taken. Pray for these POW’s that they may escape from the enemy’s prison camp.