Chess and The Enemy
Ephesians 6:10-12 (NLT) “A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
I have been going through a study of Ephesians with a wonderful group of women in our community. It has been a really great experience and I look forward to meeting with them every week! This past week we wrapped up Ephesians and as we were discussing it in our small group, it hit me how much our spiritual battles are like a game of chess. Now, before I begin to explain this, I should say that I am about the worst chess player there is in the whole entire world, but I get the basic idea of the game.
First of all, you start with a king, a queen, two bishops, two rooks, two knights, and eight pawns. The entire point of the game is to take the opposite player’s king. This is accomplished by a strategy that will put all your pieces in the right place at the right time to conquer other pieces. Sometimes you succeed, sometimes you don’t.
Okay, now let’s say that our spiritual journey is like a chess game. On one side, you have The Enemy who cannot possibly ever take our King. He has all of his pawns, knights, bishops, rooks, and queen doing his bidding, whether knowingly or unknowingly. The Enemy manipulates his players and sacrifices them as he needs to to accomplish his plans. On the other side, you have Jesus and those who have heard His call and followed him willingly. They seek to know His plan for their life, so when the time comes for His plan to be fulfilled, they are willing participants in that plan.
Now let’s take this a step further (stay with me here). If our battle is not against flesh and blood (as stated in the passage above), then when these pawns of The Enemy are pushed into our path to block our move, who should we actually be battling? Is it the pawn? Should we push them aside, knock them down, and get on with the game? Or should we appreciate how lost they are (as we once were)?
Have you recognized these “pawns” in your life? You are having a miserable week. Your children are misbehaving, your car just broke down for the third time in a month, your dog keeps eating your underwear, your boss has asked you to re-work a project for the tenth time today, someone just cut you off at the traffic light and almost caused an accident, and the checker at the grocery store just will not accept three rolls of dimes to pay for your groceries, even though that’s all you have left. How do you respond to these “pawns”? Do you feel mercy for them? Do you treat them in the manner they are treating you? Do you fall for The Enemy’s strategy or do you block his move?
I think this concept is an essential one when thinking of how we deal with those who are not walking with God or do not know God. Our battle is not with them. We have to be plugged in to the Master strategy to be able to know what God’s plan is for us, and ultimately for them. We must not focus on our feelings for a particular flesh-and-blood individual. We must be willing to forgive offences that are given to us by an Enemy that we cannot see, even though we see them being dished out by a flesh-and-blood person. Could you unwittingly be a “pawn” of The Enemy in someone else’s life? If so, ask for pardon where pardon is needed and offer forgiveness where forgiveness is needed so that you may in that way thwart The Enemy’s strategy.