One evening some time ago, whilst rowing down the local canal, I saw a shocking thing! A little chick, whose mother duck was nowhere to be seen, suddenly disappeared under water, right in front of my eyes, without a trace! Its little cries a few moments earlier had made me turn round to see where the noise was coming from. And then that cute little thing was gone! The canal had seemed such a peaceful and safe place only seconds before.
Something, perhaps the otter I had seen earlier, harassing a duck in the canal bank reeds, or a fish, dark and unseen, had snatched that little chick, which had become separated a short while before from its mum, brothers and sisters. I was told later that a pike had probably taken it.
When we become separated from one another and from those who care about us, we too become vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy. Satan and his minions can then pick us off more easily. There is a saying: ‘the wolf loves the lone sheep’. Just think of those African wildlife programmes, where the lion selects the youngest or most vulnerable gazelles which have become isolated from the herd. They become easy prey.
In our Christian walk, especially in times of difficulty and temptation, it’s important for us to have brothers and sisters in the Lord to whom we can turn, without embarrassment, for support, prayer and encouragement. Then we will more easily be able to resist the schemes of the devil.
No soldier goes into battle alone. He goes in with his platoon around him to cover his blindside. In ancient Greece, a Spartan soldier’s battle partner was called the paráklētos or paraclete in English. This analogy is used in scripture and revealed to us as the Holy Spirit. For example, in John 14:16-17, we read: …I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
We, as individual members of God’s mighty army, need also to be joined in close fellowship to one another, humbly aware of our need of God’s and our brothers and sisters’ protection and guidance. For then we will remain safely in His will and be victorious in battle!
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, help me always to seek Your will in the details of my life and especially when I’m alone and vulnerable, please help me to humbly seek your loving protection and the support of a trusted brother or sister. For in so doing, You can deliver me from the world’s deception and pride in self-reliance and independence. Amen.
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