As the sun slowly began its rising journey over the trees and the mist slowly burned away above the wheat field, a squad of seven soldiers knelt quietly but nervously, awaiting the signal to attack the bunker that guarded the main supply route into the city. For months, these seven men had trained for this moment. Over and over they had rehearsed their individual responsibilities, which would insure the success of the mission. They had over time begun moving as one – not seven, and now all the training had ended and the plan was now ready to be carried out. This bunker located on a sharp rise just above the road offered the only resistance to the city. The objective was simple: “Kill the bunker, control the supply route, and you control the city.”

Each soldier was heavily armed and trained to carry out a specific task in the siege. Each had also been trained to carry out each of the other tasks in case a team member was wounded or worse, killed. But the success of the mission demanded that at least one of them reach the bunker and deliver the explosive charge that would render the concrete fortress ineffective.

At the precise moment, the signal came and with a barrage of machine gun fire the squad of warriors began their ascent up the hill. Almost immediately they were driven back by the destructive assault of heavy machine gun fire. In the heat of the battle, one comrade was killed. Again they began the deadly climb toward their target and again encountered heavy fire that drove them back with another member of the team falling wounded on the slopes.

Again and again the same thing happened until there were only two commandoes left.As they began one more time to mount the attack, the squad leader began to notice as they crawled inch by inch up the hill that each of the men he had lost had been shot in the back while climbing toward the bunker, not in their retreat away. Within just yards of the bunker and only inches from accomplishing their mission, a sickening realization enveloped him. The mission has been compromised and the real enemy was a member of his own squad. Rolling to his right and looking back, his fear became reality as he stared helplessly down the barrel of an M-1 rifle.

This story serves to remind those believers who are involved in daily spiritual warfare of a tremendous principle: “You cannot take ground from the enemy if the enemy has ground in you.” The result will always be the same – defeat – disaster – and even death. You cannot take what you have already surrendered.

Today as you kneel before God, surveying the enemy out in the mist before you, take a few moments and make sure that no sin has control of your life. The very thing you war against cannot destroy you unless you carry it hidden under your uniform. Its shrapnel cannot pierce the breastplate of Christ’s righteousness unless you yourself slip its razor sharp edges up under that breastplate and hide it in the soft tissue of your heart. Sin is a bullet loaded in the chamber waiting for just the right moment to pierce your back and leave you dead or dieing on the hillside within just inches of that victorious moment when the bunker you face should fall.

“Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to its lustful desires.” (Romans 6:12)