Things are pretty tense in Korea right now. Since the death of North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong Il a few weeks ago, and his son, Kim Jong-un (in his late 20s), assuming the role of supreme commander, South Korea is understandably concerned about the near future. There has never been a peace treaty agreement between North and South Korea since the Korean War in the early 50s, and North Korea has amassed over a million soldiers along the demilitarization zone.
My two sons and I visited Korea
three years ago and made the short trek north to the demilitarization border at the furthest point civilians were allowed (Dorasan Station). I was surprised how, at that time, South Koreans were nervous of the real possibility of an imminent invasion being threatened by their one-time countryman. They were already then convinced that war could break out at any time. Now, with a new dictator in place, a young man with whom they have little familiarity, they are concerned all the more. And they are getting prepared.
Training for special forces along the border is so intense that they are conducting exercises shirtless in the bitter cold winter, wanting to be ready for anything. Commander Choi Ik-bong of the special forces said, “Our members are holding this drill to be able to survive in the enemy’s camp, overcome freezing cold weather––20 degrees below zero in the mountain area––without any help from our army. They train as if it is a real battle and they will fight in a battle as if it’s a kind of training.”
The best preparation for any battle, whether it be military, athletics, or more importantly, spiritual, is to practice real situations before they are encountered, so that the your response is automatic. It’s far better to think through how you will handle something, and practice handling it that way over and over (even if in your mind), so that in the heat of battle, you don’t have to think about it, you just do what you had decided ahead of time to do, automatically.
Many of us gave into peer pressure when we were teenagers because we found ourselves on the spot, not sure how we should respond. Linda and I used to ask our older two kids, and now our one teenager at home, what they will do in certain circumstances. It’s good to run young people through hypothetical situations before they face real challenges, so that they immediately know what they should do. Being “battle ready” means knowing how you are going to respond.
Daniel did that. He was a young man who faced incredible temptation while being surrounded by intense peer pressure. But when facing it, he didn’t have to think about what he was going to do. He had already made up his mind. Daniel 1:8 says, “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself…”
The South Koreans are readying themselves because they know an attack is imminent. Sure, it may never come, but how foolish would they be if they were caught unprepared, knowing the possible danger they are in?
For us, we don’t need to think about, “What if the attack never comes?” We know it will, there is no doubt. Temptations, spiritual attacks, pressure from the world, our own fleshly desires, and the evil one, are constantly threatening. Are you prepared? Are you in the Word? Are you spending committed time alone with the Lord? Have you made up your mind ahead of time how you will respond?
I’m not advocating rolling around in the snow with your shirt off. (And I’m not going to do that either.) But be prepared. Your adversary, the devil, is real, he is out there, and he is attacking. Don’t let him catch you off guard!