The story is told of a Russian named Ivanovich who visited the Moscow zoo for the first time while the Communist party was in control in Russia. To his amazement he found a little lamb sharing the cage that held a big fierce bear. Ivanovich expressed surprise to his communist guide. The guide smiled and said, "That is an example of peaceful co-existence." As Ivanovich stared with wonder, the guide further explained, "Of course, we have to put in a new lamb every morning." For 2,000 years now the church of Jesus Christ has found herself in a cage with a dangerous and deadly foe who is bent on destroying her. Revelation 12:9 describes that foe as "the great dragon ... that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world ... was cast to the earth." Though defeated in heaven, Revelation 12 closes by telling us the enraged dragon went to make war on earth with those who "keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (verse 17). Our first century brothers and sisters in Christ refused to peacefully co-exist with the dragon/devil, and for their refusal many of them paid dearly.Two thousand years of history prove that the church of Christ is involved in a war that just won't end. Though soundly defeated by Christ at the cross and the empty tomb, and unable to destroy the church of the Lord on earth, the devil, nevertheless, continues to work like a sniper, picking off individual Christians one by one. First Peter 5:8 warns us not to get in the cage with him hoping he will go easy on us: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." The devil wants to have you for lunch! Followers of Jesus need to know that the devil does not play fair. He specializes in low blows and unfair punches. Jesus Himself described Satan as a liar in John 8:44. He uses "devices" (2 Corinthians 2:12) and "wiles" or "schemes" (Ephesians 6:11). He seeks to "hinder" (I Thessalonians 2:18) the work and church of the Lord.
He is described as the god of this age who blinds minds (2 Corinthians 4:4) and as the wicked one who has the whole world under his sway or control (l John 5:19). Christians must never forget that so long as we are on earth we are living in enemy occupied territory. We are called to make peace with God, but not the devil. We must fight the good fight of faith by putting on the whole armor of God. We must submit to God by resisting the devil, trusting that as we do so the devil will flee (James 4:7). Those who would make peace with God must declare war on the devil. So long as we live we must fight in a war that just won't end.Dan Gulley Smithville church of Christ