Are You Carrying a Concealed Weapon?

Omar Aleman, Aleman and Associates

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something in your life.” “If you are going through hell, keep going.” “Victory at all costs, victory in spite of terror, victory however long and hard the road may be.”

The World War II Allied Forces were led by talented, experienced and war savvy military officers like MacArthur, Eisenhower, Patton, Montgomery, Portal and De Gaulle, among others. In my estimation, however, the lynchpin of this massive war effort was the enigmatic statesman, soldier and strategist Winston Churchill, the originator of the above-mentioned quotes. An imperfect man, known for his drinking prowess and “straightforwardness,” this chap’s career personalized the winds of war…many victories, many defeats. A charismatic orator with a transparent persona, “the British bulldog” became “the right man at the right time” from the beginning of the war in 1939 until the end of his second term as Britain’s leader in 1955.

Military struggles

The previous world conflict, with its 20 million casualties and regarded as “the war to end all wars” upon its completion in 1918, became nothing more than an appetizer for the Hitler blitzkrieg, which got under way 21 years later. The Paris Peace Treaty was nothing more than a piece of paper as unabated wars have raged since then in the Middle East, Asia and Africa as we currently deal with major conflict in Israel, Ukraine and Yemen, to name a few. Military struggles have become the norm since a coalition of kings pillaged Sodom and Gomorrah in 1880 B.C. and Abram, with his army of 318 men, was able to rescue his nephew Lot, as reported in Genesis 14. Given the inevitability of human strife, which will continue until the final trumpet sounds and the King of Kings reigns for eternity, what is the responsibility of a disciple when it comes to warfare? Should we enlist in the “holy armed forces” or do we become a “spiritual freedom fighter” in the army of One?


We are faithfully reminded, and urged to share it with others, that we don’t adhere to a religion and that instead our confidence lies in our personal relationship with Christ. Yet, in the same breath, we understand the necessity of belonging to, and participating in, group worship in the form of church attendance. The Apostle Paul defines the latter as “the household of God,” an “Acts 2:42 church,” where we devote ourselves to teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer. The recent pandemic tested these symbiotic spiritual beliefs as church attendance became more convenient and sanitized through technology, and we now find ourselves in the midst of chapel skirmishes. Much like the United States military, the church is dealing with a dearth of holy conscript recruitment given the general dismay with organized religion. What to do?

We previously discussed the first earthly war, which resulted through the auspices of Satan and his angels, who created the first heavenly conflict when they rebelled against the God of Heaven. This cosmic clash is the grandfather of them all, as we read in Ephesians 6 that “that our struggle is not against flesh and blood but rather against the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” This is a formidable adversary, yet we are reminded in the same chapter that we must take individual responsibility in fighting this enemy by donning our personal holy armor on a daily basis. Institutions and organizations are perceived to be as strong as its weakest link; in order to successfully engage in daily combat with such a powerful enemy we must shore up our divine chain of command. And this should start independently with us. 

Weapons of war

weaponIn the long list of earthly combat, we have seen the proliferation of sophisticated weaponry. David slayed the giant with a smooth stone, Samson used a donkey’s jawbone to kill Philistines by the thousands, the Roman Empire chariots became the prototype of the 20th century tank, the Maxim machine gun was the killing instrument of the early 1,900’s, the nuclear devices dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki led to victory followed by the Cold War, and today the armed drone is becoming a power player. These weapons, however, are totally ineffective against the Satan-led spiritual principalities of darkness previously described. The fact of the matter is that we possess two ultimate instruments to successfully wage war against our spiritual enemy, but have lost many battles and taken heavy casualties due to our unfamiliarity with their use. 

As every infantryman should be intimately acquainted with his rifle and sidearm, so should every professing Christian with the Scriptures and prayer, their assigned safeguards. In the Christian soldier’s training manual under Ephesians 6:17-18, we are ordered “to take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (rifle) and to pray in the Spirit on all occasions (sidearm)”. Later in the handbook, specifically in Hebrews 14:12, the Bible is described as “living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow.” The spiritual sidearm is also described at length throughout the volume; for example, Mark 11:24 reminds us that “whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” And given the perpetual state of this all-out war, we must carry, use and not conceal these arms whether at base (church) or in hand to hand combat (world); thus the importance of meeting and sharing with your fellow combatants along with being vigilant while on assignment.

United we stand

We understand that “the battle is the Lord’s,” which means that in the end we will join Him as conquerors; in the meantime, He put us here for “such a time as this,” and it is our responsibility to take our cross and fight the good fight. In the midst of his anguish, as the carnage in Europe relentlessly persisted, our friend Winston Churchill understood that in order to prevail we needed the greatest ally of all. He thus asserted that “United we stand secure. Let us then move together in discharge of our mission and our duty, fearing God, and nothing else. It is with devout but sure confidence that I say: let God defend the right”…shalom and amen.

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