Our unseen enemies

Today, we celebrate our nation’s 55th birthday. Only a few weeks ago, we had a national election followed by a new cabinet being sworn into office. Let us remember and pray for our nation as well as our leaders, as instructed by God in scriptures. In regard to our nation, may we pray like the Psalmist in Psalm 147 by first extolling and praising the Almighty Lord (v12), for He strengthens the bars of our nation’s gates and blesses us within. May He continue to grant peace to our borders.
For the first time in our nation’s history, this year’s National Day Parade will be scaled down considerably. Another difference is that this year, every household will receive the ‘goody bag’ that on all previous National Days was given only to those attending the parade. Among the things in the bag are three essential items, which at one time were (and still are in some parts of the world today) the most sought-after protective tools in the fight against the current Public Enemy Number One, COVID-19. These are thermometers, face masks and hand sanitisers. In the absence of a vaccine against the virus, these items are the primary defensive tools we have in our current battle.
One cannot but find the fight against this virus similar to the Christian’s spiritual warfare. Firstly, like the spiritual enemy, the virus is unseen but its presence is a certainty and its destruction is massive. Christians have been warned from the very start of our faith about the presence of our unseen enemies, i.e. the rulers, the authorities, the powers of this dark world, and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph 6:12). Against these, we are asked to put on the armour of God, just as we are asked to put on our face masks in order to be protected from infection by the virus. In the current situation, those who underestimate
Secondly, the virus threatens our economic interests and so forces us to take reckless risks. Countries have rushed to open up their economic activities and let their guards down in their fight against the virus even when they are well aware that they face a full assault by the virus (second and successive waves of infections). Similarly in our Christian walk, there are times when we may be tempted to compromise on our faith and let our guard down because we fear losing out in our economic interests. Paul warns in 2 Timothy 3 that there will be a time, particularly in the last days, when people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money and many other pleasures, so much so that they exist as Christians only in form and not substance, having been completely taken out of action by the enemy. ‘They all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ’ (Phil 2:21). May we be warned against falling into such an abject condition.
Finally, the virus is highly infectious. Some people mistakenly feel that they are individually accountable if they choose not to wear face masks in public, without knowing that their actions actually endanger those around them. If already infected, they may be spreading the virus to others around them.  Similarly, we must be cognisant that our Christian conduct infects others around us for good or ill. Those who refuse to wear face masks because it is inconvenient to them latch on to medically unsupported views that agree with their actions. Similarly, we are warned about a time when Christians will not put up with sound doctrine but will instead gather around teachers who say what their itching ears want to hear.
I have listed these few examples, but many more can be drawn. The key aim is to remind ourselves of the unseen but entirely real warfare that we Christians are engaged in daily.  Because we are battling invisible forces, we naturally have a  very  low awareness of  how precarious our situation is. And just like the present virus, we cannot pretend it is not there, nor can we wish it away. We must stand firm, defend and fight in the armour and strength of our Lord every single day, while living to please God. – Eld Peter Seah