I am now reading Shiloh, a historical novel by Shelby Foote about the Civil War battle of the same name. On the first day of the battle, the South routed Union troops, forcing thousands of blue-coated soldiers to quit the battlefield in fear. But late in the day, Union reinforcements arrived on steamboats. The novel depicts Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest pleading with his fellow Southern leaders for a night attack against these newly arrived troops. He reasoned that if they allowed these new troops to get off the boats safely, the next day they would have to fight a much stronger force. Instead, he said, they should strike now and end the battle while they had the advantage. Every other Confederate general refused to fight, however, saying their men were too tired after a grueling battle.
There is a strategy to winning a war. One reason that many of us enjoy games of strategy, from chess to Scrabble to baseball to backgammon, is that we employ those same thinking skills in a less violent undertaking. In all of those cases, winning occurs through sound reason, strict discipline, and anticipating our enemy's moves.
Scripture tells us that there is an unseen war going on in our lives, a battle between the forces of good and evil. God's side is stronger, without a doubt, but if we live in ignorance of this war, we can unwittingly aid the enemy's side. This Sunday, we'll conclude our study of Ephesians with a look at this unseen battle and how we can win, from Ephesians 6:10-18. It's Lord's Supper Sunday, so come ready to observe the sacrifice of our Lord, too.