War

I’m going through Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. Check it out. It’s pretty short and full of neat, witty sayings.

Have you ever noticed how much spiritual life corresponds with warfare? Check out this quote from Sun Tzu:

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

Sun Tzu goes on to criticize the general who fights without stratagem. The general who simply charges and wanders around with his army. The general who engages in prolonged warfare instead of seeking a quick victory.

How serious do we take our spiritual wars?

The Shadow is our enemy. Do we understand it? Do we know its methods and goals? Or do we just have a vague picture of sin and Satan in our heads? Do we take steps in fighting against the Shadow?

Do we try to understand ourselves? Do we seek out places in our lives and personalities where the Shadow has taken hold? Do we identify attributes within ourselves that the Shadow can exploit?

If we know neither ourselves or the Enemy, we will make no progress in our spiritual lives. If we at least know ourselves, though, we will begin to have victory over the Shadow. But if, by the grace of God, we come to understand both ourselves and the Shadow, we can be confident of consistent victory.

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