In the United States Marine Corps, part of my training involved Enemy Prisoner of War (EPW) handling. The 6 rules of EPW handling are:
1. Search. The prisoner is searched to ensure that he is completely disarmed.
2. Silence. The EPW is to be made silent. Can’t have detainees communicating with each other for obvious reasons.
3. Segregate. You segregate the captured. To have multiple EPWs realize that they are not alone could rise some sort of hope of escape/rescue.
4. Safeguard. Safeguard the prisoner from harm while preventing him from escaping.
5. Speed. Speed the EPW to the designated collection point, away from the battle.
6. Tag. Every captive is tagged with information like date of capture, the location of capture, etc.
One of the main objectives is to keep an EPW out of the fight, to remove any hope of fighting, to remove any hope period. Providing a deep sense of being alone is one of the objectives of EPW handling.
The enemy has often, daily, hourly, constantly deployed these tactics against me. At the moment of sin, at random times of the day, I find him initiating “Operation: Lie and Fear.”
In my heart and thoughts, I feel alone and captured. Cut off. Behind enemy lines.
He wipes his rear with The Geneva Convention, Supernatural War Crimes are sure to be my fate. Naked, bleeding, alone and afraid I am captured by my accuser.
The good news is, Scripture acts like a Corpsman (US Navy personnel that Soldiers in the US Army would call a Medic) ready to revive and give life-saving care for my wounded soul and mind.
The Enemy: As his EPW, he searches for any weapons on me, specifically Scripture. If he finds Scripture on me, he makes an attempt to twist it and then uses it as a weapon against me.
Good News: Jesus used Scripture to reject the devil (Matthew 4:1-11). The substitutionary atoning death and imputed righteousness of Christ, a true search of “me” would reveal Christ in place of me. The devil can search and accuse all he wants.
The Enemy: He will make an attempt to silence me. He floods my thoughts with “there is no use to pray. Now is the time to hide from God. No one can relate to your situation nor have any answers for you.”
Good News: There are times when I don’t feel like praying. I know, I know, not what a regenerate, sanctified individual is supposed to say, amirite? When the devil tries to silence me and lie to me that praying is futile, the greatest news ever is that Jesus is praying for me (Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:34; 1 John 2:1).
The Enemy: His goal is to segregate me from other sinners. He slides under my cell door lies for bread that there are only righteous individuals around me who would look at me in disgust.
Good News: When the devil lies to me that I am cut off from others, that no one else is a sinner like me, I remember Romans 8:1. I am reminded that Jesus is the bread of life. Scripture comforts me in knowing that the enemy cannot cut me off from Christ (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5). The devil cannot separate me from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39).
The Enemy: He will want to safeguard me in his grasp with lies, upon lies. Lies that will even appear to be the truth, twisting of Scripture, heresy, anything and everything to keep me looking at me rather than Christ.
Good News: When the devil lies that he has me in the palm of his hand, it is written that Jesus said: "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out (John 6:37).”
The Enemy: At the moment of sin, I often find the devil salivating to escort me and my thoughts to his collection point. He quickly tries to convince me that he has instantly removed me far and away from God--away from any reconciliation with Him.
Good News: God has reconciled me to Himself already in Christ, on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:19). So fast it happened before I was even born.
The Enemy: He stands ready to tag me and bag me as an enemy of God, as a resident of hell. At the moment of rejection from other Christians, there he is to whisper “did God really say that the blood of His Son saves sinners all by itself?” The devil will always point us to our feelings about our faith in order to produce a fear of insecurity about the faith we have been given about what we know; the truth of Whose child we truly are. Side note: the devil will never point us to Christ as our substitute Savior.
IDENTITY IN CHRIST
In Christ, all of the enemy’s tactics that are designed to make me think that I am his prisoner are exposed as nothing more than a fanciful lie; no more real than the god that he thinks he is.
He can only accuse me of who I am outside of Christ. He has no case if he dares to make the attempt to accuse me of who I am hidden in Christ.
God loves you more than you think He does and Christ’s good news is “gooder” than you think it is.
The war is over. The battle has been won by Christ. You and I, my fellow forever family in Christ, are more than conquerors courtesy of Christ’s victory over sin, grave, devil, hell and even ourselves.
The enemies of God have been reconciled by Him into His adopted children. It is finished.
In the end, the devil will be God’s EPW (Revelation 20:10).
A rare Native Atlantien that still lives in the Atlanta area, Zachary James Cole grew up in the Bible Belt of the American South. He became a United States Marine in January of 2004 and served on Active Duty until January of 2009. He was deployed to Iraq twice during Operation: Iraqi Freedom. While in the desert conducting convoy security and nighttime security patrols, Zack was overwhelmed with the nearness and love of Christ. He has a love of history, the outdoors as well as an unwavering love of his favorite local sports teams. He earned his M.Div in Theological Studies from Liberty Theological Seminary. Zack is a co-host of the podcast: The Liberty Tree. After coming home from the Marine Corps he found a Church home at Suwannee Station Family Life Church in Suwannee, GA where he now serves as an Associate Pastor. Zack lives in Sugar Hill, GA with his wife Bonnie and their two sons, Cade and Knox.