With the release of ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ on disk yesterday, I think it’s only fitting to use this movie to illustrate a point.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the book, and now movie, series, Katniss is the main female character and Peeta is the main male character. They were victors in a modern Gladiator-style ‘game’ in the first move ‘The Hunger Games.’ In the second movie, ‘Catching Fire,’ they are sent back to the game or arena, with the other remaining victors to viciously battle it out. One other important character, played by Woody Harrelson, is Haymitch, their mentor. It is his job to help prepare them, physically, mentally, and emotionally, for the battle.
Ok, now that you’re mostly up to speed, here’s where things get good. In Catching Fire, Haymitch is prepping Katniss for the arena. She is just beside herself that she has to go back, since winning the games has generally bought you a ticket out of future games. In her thinking, she views all of the other contestants as the enemies. She is trying to get herself in the mindset that, in order for her to win again, she will need to kill all of the others.
During one scene, Haymitch tells her, “Katniss, when you’re in the arena…you just remember who the enemy is.”
See, Haymitch wanted her to remember that the other contestants in the ‘game’ are forced to be there, just like she is. They don’t want to kill any more than she does. They are pawns in the government’s game just as she is.
I think that we believers could take a cue from Haymitch to remember who the real enemy is. We need to remember who we are truly fighting against. Recall what Ephesians 6:12 tells us:
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
In his commentary, Matthew Henry says that, “The combat is not against ordinary human enemies, not merely against people made up of flesh and blood.” See, most people think that the people we encounter during our daily lives or our arena, are ‘out to get us’ or are being difficult because that’s who they are to their core. But that’s not the truth. The truth is that they are simply pawns in the enemy’s games. He is using them to achieve his purposes.
Matthew Henry goes on to say, “Our enemies fight to prevent our ascent to heaven…because we grapple with spiritual enemies; we also need faith in our Christian work, because we need to draw in supplies of spiritual strength.” The devil wants nothing more than to keep you, yes YOU, out of heaven. He wants to see you suffering an eternal damnation, separated from God.
Because we are fighting this battle, we need to have supplies of our spiritual strength. Which is where Paul further goes on to tell us in verses 13-17 to put on the full armor of God so that we can stand our ground. He instructs us to stand firm with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with readiness that comes from the gospel of peace, and to take up the shield of faith. Finally, he tells us to take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.
All of these weapons prepare us for the spiritual warfare that is going on around us and within us.
We, as believers, need to remember the words of our Savior Jesus Christ, found in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
It is not the desire of our loving, heavenly Father that we would perish or that we would fall prey to the enemy. He desires that we would come into a relationship with Him and draw upon His strength, use the weapons we have available to us, and bring others to Him.
Ephesians 6:17 instructs us to, “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Fellow believers, lets put on the full armor of God this morning and attack the real enemy and not one another.