Run, Hide or Fight (the Rules of Engagement)
Ephesians 6: 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—
The Holy Spirit utilized what was before Paul when he was a prisoner in Ephesus. Paul was in the presence of Roman soldiers who guarded him and he was able to view the armor and the weapons of the Roman soldiers.
Historically, the Roman soldier utilized 5 different swords, each has a function and purpose. But the one that I will speak about is the sword that was pointed out by the Holy Spirit, to Paul.
In the Greek, this sword is identified as MACHAIRA!
Strong’s Concordance Greek 3162 – μάχαιρα, ας, ἡ – (Choice definition portions) Described as a short sword used for violence with the intent to destroy peace (Matthew 10:34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth, I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.”)
Described as an instrument of a magistrate (added to define- government official or a person under the authority of government) or of judgment (Romans 13:4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.)
Is the Word of God, the Sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17).
So what are the characteristics of this type of sword?
Of all the swords historically utilized by Roman soldiers, this was the only one that was double edged. All the others have a single edge. It was heavy, to withstand the abuse of heavy combat and when thrust into the body of the enemy, would not break when the blade was twisted and ripped out of the enemies body. It cut through flesh and broke bone.
The weapon was used for one purpose, to destroy the enemy.
So why would the Holy Spirit utilize THIS specific type of sword to minister to Paul a teaching that we read about in Ephesians 6?
Because as a Christian, you ARE IN BATTLE with an enemy that is intent in destroying YOU!
You must understand that you are also equipped with a weapon and have the authority to use that weapon against your enemy… the devil! That weapon is the Word of God.
Yet, many Christians know this, right? Yet are you a type of Christian who RUNS, HIDES, or are you the one who FIGHTS?
And if you FIGHT… what RULES of Engagement do you follow?
Couple weeks ago I received a class at work on Fort Drum. The class was about what to do when there is an ACTIVE SHOOTER. To sum up the instruction, based on your specific circumstances, you are to RUN, or when you can’t run, then hide, and when you can’t hide, then you will be forced to fight. The alternative is to become a victim of the ACTIVE SHOOTER.
While I was listening to this class, I was also listening to the Holy Spirit because Christians deal not only with the carnal world but also the spiritual world. As the Holy Spirit can utilize anything to minister to us a lesson we or others, need. As we know, the Holy Spirit utilized the armor and the weapons of the Roman soldiers to give a lesson to Paul… the Holy Spirit can easily do the same for us today as He ministers understanding (illumination) of the Word of God.
Characteristically, the Holy Spirit will use elements of our life, things around us, experiences we are having (or had), and also will use the most familiar elements of our life that we are used to, too help us. Paul knew soldiering… so for the Holy Spirit to use such items that the Roman soldiers had, was easy for Paul to understand.
Do you know that as a Christian, you have an ACTIVE SHOOTER aiming at you, your family, your friends, your work, your finances, etc?! All facets of your life can be a target.
The devil is aiming what Paul calls FIERY DARTS at you! (Eph 6: 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.)
Just as a worldly active shooter would be firing bullets at you, YOUR ENEMY, the devil is shooting fiery darts at you. YES, faith is used to quench those darts but the lesson today is that you can STOP those darts from being fired at you. You ARE to use the Word of God to PREVENT the enemy from shooting at you.
In other words, FIGHT!
Because if you run from the enemy, he will keep firing darts at you as he hunts you down and while he’s pursuing you, he’s firing darts at everything and anything in your life as I mentioned; Your finances, your job, your family, etc.
If you hide, the enemy is still shooting in your direction!
You MUST FIGHT! You MUST fight with what God has given you… the Word of God that is described as a DOUBLE-EDGED sword!!
As I mentioned, God will use what I will understand, too minister to me a lesson for myself first and one that I will also use to give as a lesson to others.
Also a couple weeks ago I had a day off and I relaxed and watched some movies I had not seen in a long time. Armageddon was one, and a movie named Tears of the Sun was another movie. I guess it was a Bruce Willis day!
Bruce’s character is an LT, a leader of a SEAL Team who are doing all they can to save a group of civilians from the rebels in the area. Furthermore, they are attempting to remain hidden as they escape and evade from the rebels who are chasing them. As they escape and evade, they do defend themselves a few times.
Their Rules of Engagement is to NOT engage the enemy, unless engaged first or only to prevent detection.
The team comes upon a village that is being overrun by rebels and the rebels are systematically killing all the villagers. The SEAL Team observes the atrocities that are going on and the LT makes a decision… he pulls out his pistol and begins to attach a silencer to the pistol. The sniper he had placed in a position to over watch the village, has eyes on as well.
A member of the team named “Zee” says, “LT, Rules of Engagement” in an effort to remind the LT that they are not to engage unless engaged first.
The LT responds with this simple, yet powerful reply… “We’re already engaged.”
The LT then gives the weapons free signal to the sniper and the sniper begins to kill key enemy rebels as the LT and the rest of the team moves into the village. The team then begins to also kill all the rebels that they find as they make effort to STOP the attack upon the village.
So, why do I tell you about this portion of the movie?
When you look out over your city, or over your loved ones, or at the people where you work and IF YOU COULD SEE all those enemy spiritual forces shooting people with FIERY DARTS… what are YOUR Rules of Engagement?
What happens when darts are being fired at “you”?
Do you run, hide… or do YOU FIGHT because YOU ARE WEAPONS FREE to engage the enemy?
As Christians YOUR RULES OF ENGAGEMENT… is to be weapons free when you encounter satan moving against you!
Another portion of the lesson I received on Drum during the ACTIVE SHOOTER class. Once law enforcement arrive on the scene, the first to arrive become what is referred to as, FIRST RESPONDERS.
Their sole job (Rule of Engagement) is to hunt down the ACTIVE SHOOTER and STOP the shooter. When they encounter wounded people, people crying out for help, people bleeding, maybe severely hurt due to those wounds… the First Responders do NOT HELP those who are wounded.
To respond in such a way in helping those who are wounded, DISTRACTS them away from their Rules of Engagement. Time spend tending the wounded GIVES the ACTIVE SHOOTER MORE TIME to kill and wound more people. The ACTIVE SHOOTER is first stopped and THEN response concerning the wounded begins.
Do we as Christians spend all our time dealing with the effects of fiery darts and don’t act as FIRST RESPONDERS by dealing FIRST with what is shooting the darts? We DON’T STOP the enemy from shooting those fiery darts?!
Couple weeks ago I spoke on a Friday night and raised an issue about how the enemy will MAKE us fight him the way that he WANTS us to fight him… NO!
YOU are to fight the way God has equipped you to fight, with the biggest, heaviest, SWORD available. YOU are to DESTROY the enemy and MAKE Him stop!
I’ll end with this… a question and answer through Scripture that you can reread later and reflect on: HOW should you fight with your sword or as we know, is the Word of God, when those with you are RUNNING away or are hiding?
2 Samuel 23: 9 And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel had retreated. 10 He arose and attacked the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand stuck to the sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to plunder.
YOU FIGHT, never letting GO of the Word of God and the Lord will hand you your victory.
EVEN WHEN, those who ran and hid, return and claim the riches of the victory.
DO NOT be discouraged by this… if you are, you just got hit with another fiery dart!
Strong, James. Ephesians 6:17, Strong’s Concordance, Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Nashville, TN, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2010, 158