War in the twenty-first century is significantly different than it was in the past. Not only has technology evolved but so has the field of battle. Where in the past the field of battle was clearly marked out with armies standing on opposite ends – often in uniform bearing the insignia of their country or their leader… today, these battles have moved into more populated areas using subversive tactics. While this isn’t the moment to argue the morality of pre-emptive strikes or covert operations, let’s just say that in this arena, it is a much greater challenge to tell friend from foe. This is why there seems to be so much more collateral damage – civilian casualties – on both sides in any conflict.
Yesterday, reflecting on the battlefields of years past, I wrote about the spiritual battle that comes hand in hand with following Jesus. And I think we have a lot in common with the way that wars are fought today: it’s difficult to tell who our enemies are. Gratefully, these enemies haven’t changed much – and the narrative of Jesus’ own temptation by the Devil (Matthew 4:1-11) presented us an unholy trinity of the world, the flesh, and the devil himself against whom we Christians are called to fight.