Sun Stzu said, “Hence that general is skillful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skillful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack. O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible; and hence we can hold the enemy’s fate in our hands.”1 (Book 6:8,9)
Jesus came to save the world from a powerful enemy. Jesus did not win by conventional means. He fooled the blinded and carnal-minded, and won by not fighting their fight, but instead by appearing weak and not up to the task of defeating satan. He was “meek and lowly”, Mt 11:29. His followers were blue collar workers, the despised, and rabble-rousers. Still, the spiritual mind was attracted to Him; the
unspiritual was repelled. Jesus did not fight evil the way evil fights a war. He did not garner favor with the rich and powerful in order to expand his power base. He did not assemble a mighty arsenal. He did not amass great wealth. But He engaged the enemy with unbeatable truth and with His own flesh on the front line of battle, He died. And through death to life, He shook the enemy to the core as no conventional, human, materialistic plan could do. Jesus did not knock the walls of the evil city down by battering rams, but by marching and blowing trumpets so that the power of God brought the evil down.
“During the Gulf War, a small team of U.S. Navy SEALS created a diversion so convincing that it completely fooled the Iraqi army. About a dozen SEALS stormed the beaches of Kuwait and created such havoc that Iraqi generals believed the U.S.-led attack was coming from the sea. Iraq sent the majority of their army to repel this fake attack—only to find they had been duped as the main U.S. force came through the Saudi Arabian desert! Within hours the war was over, and it all started with less than 20 soldiers!”
Jesus doesn’t use deception. But His approach was indirect as a spiritual approach will always appear to the material mind. The ungodly of the world are fooled by noise and visual effects. It’s not an accident that denominations are filled with noisemakers and sprarkly things. Substance utterly baffles the world. To the world, such is inept and boring and unsatisfying. It’s why the world scratched its head at Jesus. It’s why a couple of Apostles could twist a Sanhedrin in knots. It’s why Paul could turn the Pharisees against the Sadducees and the Sadducees against the Pharisees.
When the British liked the straight marching lines with rifles blasting and bayonets ready, the colonists perfected the guerrilla was unconventional tactics against a conventional army. The American colonists did not fight according to the enemies rules.
To defeat a powerful enemy, you have to be wise and unconventional. The people of Israel with God’s guidance were deft at this. One author said of Joshua,
“When he did invade Canaan, he drove straight into the middle of that narrow country in order to divide it in half. That way he could fight one half, and then turn to face the other half, (which is what he did). He strove to take the strategic high ground in the central highlands. By choosing to campaign in the mountains, he favored his troops’ fighting abilities, and negated the chariot strength of his opponents. When he did win battles, he followed them up utilizing the principle of strategic pursuit.”3
Love, Faith, and Hope are simply unbeatable. An open Bible will bring down more walls than threats or sophistry. Will we have the mind of Christ? If so we cannot fight according to the world’s rules. Jesus said to be wise as serpents, but innocent as doves. With truth and love, the enemy will be divided, disarmed and unable to withstand. The enemy will appear to win a skirmish here or there, using threats and lies, but the war belongs to God. More and more I see that we must have the wisdom of God to advance the cause of Christ. We must be wise to accomplish the mission of the great commission.
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