...and he will flee from you. james 4:7
"on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it," mt 16:18.
"therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand," eph 6:13.
when we read these passages the battlefield imagery is unmistakable. interestingly, the image is often of holding ground during on onslaught. there is little regarding tactical advances and never are we commanded to attack the enemy. we are not informed of his weaknesses in order to exploit them. "stand," "beware," "watch," "withstand," "be vigilant," "resist," these are actively defensive directives. they all promote this idea that we are fending off an enemy rather than destroying one.
now none of this is to say that we are to walk through this age in fear, desperately fighting off imminent destruction to arrive at the gates of heaven breathless and charred. neither does this suggest that the enemy will not be defeated. by no means! in my minds eye, i picture a mighty fortress, a kingdom on a hill which is unshakable, over which the enemy has no hope of victory.
"be of good cheer, I have overcome the world," john 16:33.
there is no possible way the devil will be able to defeat our Savior. Jesus has already claimed victory. however during this time on earth, our enemy prowls around the edges, picking off those who are sick, weak, or unaware. these are the casualties that grieve the King's heart. He does not fear to lose His home or His Court, neither is He afraid for His warriors. rather it is the residents of the outlying villages who have not heard or not heeded the alarms that warn that danger is near. they have not fled to the protection of the Fortress neither are they outfitted for battle with His armor. the enemy lures them away from the protection of their King and in the darkness of the night He devours them.
this is why the King says, "resist the devil." He knows that the enemy cannot take those whom claim loyalty to the King; those who have taken sanctuary behind his mighty walls, so he flees from them moving on to easier prey.
so this is why we stand firm in the faith. because from such a place we also take part in the victory of Christ. we need not flee from the enemy neither do we attempt to attack him for there is no need to attack a defeated enemy. it is only when we wander away from His protection by either doubting it's sufficiency, doubting the danger of our enemy, or simply not being vigilant that we need to fear our enemy.
so stand victorious in the King's camp but be wary of wandering outside the borders.