Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,
making the most of your time, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:15 NASB
Last weekend I was privileged to attend the Inland Northwest Christian Writer's Conference. The keynote speaker was Dr. Dennis "Doc" Hensley. Dr. Hensley is a professor and department director at Taylor University. He has published over fifty books and thousands of newspaper and magazine articles. He spoke eloquently at the conference. As a good speaker should do, he had us both laughing and crying with every speech.
It was the final message, though, that grabbed my soul.
Dr. Hensley described his first experience after arriving in Vietnam as a young soldier. He was gung-ho, proud of his toughness, ready to fight as he rode the long flight with the others from the American base. They arrived in the sweltering heat of the jungle and stood at attention for what seemed like forever, sweat dripping off their faces.
Finally the sergeant came out of a Quonset hut, dressed impeccably in a faded uniform. He was obviously a seasoned soldier. Hensley happened to be the first man in the first line. The sergeant directed his attention to him.
First he noted his cologne. Hensley admitted with some confusion that he had put on cologne that day. The sergeant berated him for announcing his arrival to the Viet Cong, who could easily tell the difference between their own soldiers and Americans coming down the road in the dark simply by that one thing. Sheepishly, Hensley realized his cologne was a dead giveaway.
The sergeant then pointed out his luminous watch and nine other ways an enemy could find and destroy him and his fellow soldiers in the jungle, just by the way they were dressed. Hensley suddenly realized this was deadly business.
His sergeant opened his eyes about death and life that day. He showed those green, untested men on the tarmac how to stay alive in enemy territory and how to take this new knowledge home to the States. They were words Hensley never forgot; sage advice he determined to live by for the rest of his life.
Know your enemy better than he knows you.
Today I am thinking about my life, about what makes me fall into the enemy's hands. What can I change about the battles I fight, the war I wage against the enemy of my soul? What minefields do I wander into regularly? What propaganda do I allow to color my perceptions of God, others, and myself? What hallowed ground do I give up by default because I don't want to bleed on the battlefield?
Wouldn't it be awesome to break out of old patterns that defeat us and strengthen our enemy? I want to listen harder for the voice of the Captain of our souls, the One who walks before us and has already won the war. I want to be all that I can be, to quote an old military slogan. It's time to regroup, get our new orders, and move forward. There's a world awaiting release from captivity.
What traps do you regularly fall into? In what ways could you better see the way ahead of you and avoid sustaining needless wounds? What are you willing to shed blood, sweat, and tears to gain?