Andrew Jefferson learned three important secrets about withstanding the enemy.
Andrew Jefferson stared intently into the early morning shadows at the edge of the clearing a few hundred yards from the garrison. Was that a movement over there? No, just a bush swaying slightly in the breeze which had sprung up since dawn.
He pulled his coat closer about him and rubbed his hand wearily over his rough chin. It seemed days since he’d had any sleep. Oh, he had spent a few hours tossing on the narrow cot in his quarters behind the storehouse. Captain Rogers had handed over the command of the garrison to him six days ago, and had left to take up responsibilities at Fort Mason, one hundred and fifty miles to the west. Ever since then, the weight of the duties that were now his had been pressing on him. This early morning watch was not his job, but he was using this time to think.
Behind him stood the garrison which was now under his control. Sixty-two men, a few women and children. Outside the fort was the clearing. And beyond that—enemy territory.
Almost mechanically his eyes swept over the clearing once more. Things had been quiet at the post for several weeks. There had been no sign of the enemy since Corporal Dixon had narrowly missed being seen by a scouting party over a fort-night ago. But a constant state of watchfulness was essential.
His mind jumped back to the morning when Captain Rogers had left. As they had done so often before, they had taken breakfast together in Captain Rogers’ quarters. His duffel bags were packed and stood beside the door. The room was stripped bare, even the blankets from the bed had been rolled and placed by the bags. It was then that the enormous duty Andrew Jefferson was taking on had really hit home. One lonely little garrison, just a handful of people, and around them the wilderness. Some of the impact of that realization must have shown on his face, for Captain Rogers had offered him some advice.
“There are three keys to resisting an enemy attack, Jefferson. First of all, you must be alert. Make sure your sentries are always watchful. Never let up for a moment. Don’t think that just because you haven’t seen the enemy for a while that he isn’t there. He is only waiting to catch you unprepared.
“Second, make sure of your defenses. Check them continually to see that they are strong, that nothing is out of repair or weakened in any way.
“And last, Jefferson, fight with every weapon available. Put forth your best effort to hold off the attack.
“Remember, it may mean the difference between life and death!”
He could do it. He would do it! A fresh surge of confidence and determination swept over him as he watched the morning sun climb above the foothills to the east. He thought of Captain Rogers’ final words before he rode out of the garrison, “God keep you, my son.”
With God’s help, the little garrison would stand.
* * * * *
Andrew Jefferson faced a challenge—to withstand the enemy and protect the little garrison under his command.
Did you know that you, as a Christian, face a challenge just as exciting and a whole lot more important? The enemy you face is Satan. The effort you make to resist him will mean life or death for you—spiritual life or spiritual death.
The three keys that Captain Rogers outlined for Andrew Jefferson can also be applied to our fight against Satan.
First, be alert. Satan has a lot of tricks. If one doesn’t work, he’ll try another. He may leave you alone for a while, but don’t quit being on the look-out. He will be waiting to catch you unprepared.
Second, have some strong defenses. What are they? Read your Bible. Ask God to give you strength. When Satan does come to tempt you, use what you have learned in the Bible and the strength you have gained through prayer to stand against him and do what you know is right.
Third, fight back with every weapon you have. If Satan puts a wrong thought in your mind, try putting a Bible verse in its place. Sing a church song. Talk to a Christian friend. Concentrate on the things God would have you think about. Pray!
Our key verse tells us that if we resist the devil, he will flee from us. Stand fast! With God’s help, you can win the victory.