American Sniper is a book and a movie about a Navy SEAL sharpshooter that had 160 “confirmed kills” out of 255 “probable kills” in Iraq (I do not recommend this R-rated movie). In reading up on Chris Kyle I am amazed at the love he had for his country and his fellow soldiers. He would not so much talk about all the lives he saved in Iraq, but he often talked about the ones that he could not save. Can you imagine seeing so much evil and hatred in a part of the world that is not your home yet you are there trying to bring goodness and freedom from tyranny? Evil abounds in all corners and crevices of the world, and every day there are many trying to hold on to the little bit of goodness that is left.
It is easy to write about “confirmed kills” and “probable kills” sitting safely behind a computer screen in western Kentucky with the police sitting in the parking lot outside my window. But, as I am reading about “confirmed” and “probable kills,” I think about Satan. The wiles of the devil (Ephesians 6:11) and the fiery darts of the wicked [one] (Ephesians 6:16) are haunting my mind at this moment. How many “confirmed kills” can I sit back and count that the devil has taken of friends and loved ones that have passed from this world? I think of ones so many years ago that I was too ashamed to speak to about my Savior. How many loved ones, even now, can be considered “probable kills” because I am afraid I will run them off by showing them the error of their ways? Satan doesn’t hold anything back in the spiritual war against Christians. Those fiery darts come from far (friends and family) and near (sometimes those sitting in the pews).
As a preacher it is easy to put those that never walk into our doors as lost, or “confirmed kills,” because we can write it off as, “Well, that is their choice.” Too many times preachers hear the stories of members of the church concerning their loved ones (parents, spouses or children) that have gone on to meet their maker unprepared for eternity. These are no doubt “confirmed kills” by Satan. But what about the “probable kills?” Those that have fallen into error. If we give up on teaching them, then we also give up on their only way of hearing truth. Then we mark them as a “confirmed kill.” Wounded soldiers fight for every breath on the battlefield and they are not counted as fallen until there is no life left in them. We should fight not only for our brothers and sisters in Christ, but also those who were created in the very image of God that refuse His Word. We should fight whether they refuse it totally or just bits and pieces of it as they follow the doctrines of men.
Every day we are on a battlefield. We don’t have to go overseas to see evil and hatred abound. In the U.S. we don’t see blood and guts like others see. We see a much more cruel enemy that invades the lives of all whom we know, and then some. We see sin. (Romans 3:23) The Gospel is the answer to the sin problem, but too many are ashamed to put forth this grand and glorious message. (Romans 1:16) Satan thrives on the lethargic attitudes of those who are to proclaim God’s Word. Satan shoots his fiery darts at those who present half truths in teaching God’s Word. Our enemy’s “confirmed kills” are extremely high, but they don’t have to be. We have the opportunity to put life back in those that are dying by trusting in God and His Word. Jesus is willing for His soldiers to go into the wilderness to find that one lost sheep rather than to stay with the ninety and nine (Luke 15:3-7). We need to be more concerned over those that are lost. Remember what Nehemiah said, “Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.” (Nehemiah 4:14) Also Paul warns his Christian brethren, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit ye like men, be strong.” (1Corinthians 16:13)