If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles. -Sun Tzu, ancient chinese strategist and philosopher
That is one of my favorite quotes. It is in my opinion, one of the basic principle of warfare.
Now let me tell you, the art of war, I know well.
I have led many a battalions on the red battlefield.
I have fought on land and I have fought in water.
I have fought in air and I have fought in space.
I have led armies equipped with swords and spears.
Led them to charge the enemy castle on horseback.
I have led armies of tanks and fighter jets.
And also armies equipped with the technology that is to be invented yet.
I have led armies that use dark magic to raise the dead.
And make them fight against their former comrades.
What I have led, I have also fought against.
But through all of it, one principal remains the same.
Know thyself and thy adversary…
Hmm… now that I have put my feelings aside in form of a not so well formed poetry, I can move on to the real content. Strategy games have a special place in my heart. Because in those games you have to use your mind to win. Of course, you can just build a gigantic army and massacre the enemy forces but what’s the fun in that? The way I like to play is to have a smaller specialized army with a plan!
There are many tactics to be used in warfare. However, they all can be categorized in 3 main activities. They are as following. 1. Reconnaissance(Gathering intelligence): * Exploration: One of the basic activity of any strategy game is, exploration. It is also the most important one. The information gathered doing exploration is used in every other activity in the game. It is also important for staying updated on the advances of your enemy. But let me point out some very important things. * Locate and capture the resources: It goes without saying that if you want to train a capable army, you need a lot of resources. Exploration helps you to find those resources. * Locate your enemy: Another very important point is the location of your enemy. If you know where your enemy’s stronghold is, you can, to some extent, predict the direction of attack. * Gather info about your enemy: Information about you enemy is also very important. What kind of weapons do they use? What are the numbers of enemy forces. How many foot soldiers/mounted units(mounted on horses or camels)/ranged units/siege units(the ones that can do some mass destruction) are there. * Map of enemy stronghold: How is the enemy base is structured. Which place should you avoid and which place if struck effectively, will be most deadly to the enemy. 2. Applying the information: Now that you have gathered information, it’s time to apply that information to formulate an effective strategy to win the game! Let’s look at some important points. * Shortest and safest routes to important places: Sometimes the enemy may be between you and some important resources. In that case, you may need to find a safe route. If that’s not the case, go for the shortest route. * Know your enemy’s strength: From the information you gathered about the numbers of enemy forces you can understand the attack tactics of the enemy. You will be able to decide if the enemy likes melee combat or ranged. Or, if they like tanks or jets. * Plan your defenses: According to the type of tactics the enemy uses, you can set up your defenses to counter their most powerful weapons. * Know your enemy’s weaknesses: Now that you know the strengths of the enemy, think about at which places the enemy’s forces are lacking. Find out their weak points. * Know your strengths: Understand your military forces and what the strengths are. You might have very advanced melee units but maybe your ranged units are lacking or vice versa. * Know your allies: It is very important to understand your allies. If you cooperate with your allies well, you may become unstoppable. Because, your allies may be able to supplement for your weaknesses and you for theirs. * Find the ideal battleground: At which place you will fight when you attack? The place must favor your forces/tactics and make it difficult to fight for the enemy. * Form a strategy: Now that you have done all that analyzing, it’s time to formulate a strategy. A strategy that exploits your enemy’s weaknesses and uses your strength to do so. If your enemy relies on a lot of melee units, create a few strong and powerful melee units to hold them back. While, a large number of archers rain death upon enemy’s melee forces! If he relies on archers, then you need very mobile and powerful units to counter the archers. A knight, melee warriour mounted on a horse or a camel will be very good. But if you can not find out that the enemy uses a lot of melee units but you do not have powerful ranged units, then go for your strength. Whatever it may be. The last thing you should do is to go in one on one battle. That way anyone can win. * Hit and run: While you are doing all these planning and exploration, one of the very important strategy to use is hit and run. Annoy your enemy! Distract him from his own planning. Especially, hinder the enemy in resource collection. If he does not have enough resources, he will not be able to train a very good army. * Support is very important: When your army goes into war, take a few healers/medic/monks with you to heal your units. Also, if your army is mostly melee, take some heavy hitting ranged units with you so that while your melee forces deal with most of the enemies, 1 or 2 enemies per 10 are killed using ranged weapons. 3. Execution: * Hit and run: Execute hit and run as planned. You should use very mobile units for this. Preferably, mounted archers. If you do not have any such unit then use something that moves very fast so that they can run away alive when the enemies come! * Full attack: As planned, lure the enemy in your ideal battleground and then finish them off! * Be ruthless: Once you have formulated a plan, execute it ruthlessly! Do not stop, or give the enemy a second chance to make the fight more interesting… I have done it and lost many battles!
That is not all that I know but I think it covers most of the very important points. Why did I write this? Well, I find a lot of similarities in strategy games and my christian life. Pretty much every one of these points can also be made about christian life. So, I am going to make those points. Here I go… 1. Reconnaissance(Gathering intelligence): * Exploration: In real life, the activity of exploration consists of exploring your environment. Places and people around you. You will also need to explore yourself, as some of the offense comes from our own self. The information gathered through exploration will be used in every aspect of your christian life. * Locate and capture the resources: What are the resources in christian life? Bible. Good books. A good church. Good mentors. Locate and capture them!(Also, once you are through with the books, pass them around) * Locate your enemy: In christian life, the enemy doesn’t have a specific place. So how do you locate him? Well, for that you have to explore yourself. What is your sin? What temptation lures you in doing sin most of the time? That is the enemy’s stronghold on you. Locate it. * Gather info about your enemy: Now that you have located your enemy, gather info about him. How? Read books about the particular sin/temptation you are facing. How does the attack of temptation start. Is it in a particular place/situation? Or in a presence of your friends? Gather information about it. * Map of the enemy stronghold: What are the sins/temptations that are there in your life other than the one that we talked about. Other than the stronghold, what wrongs are you doing in your daily life that you know you shouldn’t do. 2. Applying the information: * Shortest and safest routes to important places: Well, what are the important places in christian life? The church I think is very important one. Then there is library. There might be more that I might have missed. But, there isn’t much difference in this aspect of christian life from the game. Find out the shortest and safest routes to those important places! * Know your enemy’s strength: From the information you have gathered, see if there are any patterns. There might be a certain place or situation. Maybe it is because of the company of your friends. * Plan your defenses: Once you have identified the patterns avoid being in those places/situations at all cost. * Know your enemy’s weaknesses: For this, you don’t have to go anywhere looking for answers. I’ll tell you what the enemy’s weakness is. If you are a christian, the enemy doesn’t have any authority over you. You have authority over him. The authority to you is given in the name of Jesus Christ. Call on that name and see the enemy flee! * Know your strengths: What are the things that you are good at? Focus on those things. Make your skills more sharper. Use them to attack the enemy. You can take pretty much any skill and turn it in a weapon against the enemy! If you are confused or don’t know, ask me in the comments. I’ll be happy to help you. Also, help others who don’t have the talents that you have. * Know your allies: In games you won’t find may allies. However in a christian walk you will find many. Help them and they will help you. One of the ways to cooperate or keep in touch with your allies is to go to the weekly fellowships or cell groups. Don’t miss it. You and your allies will grow together. Don’t let the enemy isolate you. * Find the ideal battleground: In a christian life where are the battle fought? If you don’t know, let me tell you. They are fought on your knees. In a prayer. Only there you can fight and win. Only in the presence of God, you have assurance of victory. So, you need to have a place where you can go and pray. A place without distractions. A quiet place. You should also have a specific time for prayer. Early in the morning or late in the night works good. * Form a strategy: A war is a short term thing(especially in a game). However, christianity is lifelong. So we need to have a mission statement for our life. For this, I would suggest you go and read Rick Warren’s Purpose driven Life(download ebook). * Hit and run: How can one do hit and run in a christian life? Well, by saying “No”. When your peers ask you to do something that you know is wrong, say “No”. They might or might not ask why. If they do, you got your chance to do some damage to the enemy! * Support is very important: Yes support is very important. However, how can you support your christian life? No, it’s not the people that will support your christian life. It’s your habits that will support you. So, form good habits for basic things as reading bible and praying. Also, form habits for things that you have included in your mission statement. 3. Execution: * Hit and run: I have told you how to do hit and run. The only thing I can say here is do it as frequently as you can. * Full attack: Full attack comes in the form of execution of your mission statement. It will take a long time, so you need to be persistent, consistent and strong. Take on the full armor of God. * Be ruthless: Yes, be ruthless. Once you have decided to do it, do it. It doesn’t matter if you are tired or not. Being tired is not a reason to break your habit. It’s just an excuse.
One more thing I’d like to mention is this:
James 1:13-14 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. (ESV)
In a christian walk, the attack does not come from only outside. It also comes from within. If you apply the quote that I started with in a christian life, to some extent, your self and the enemy are one and the same. So, knowing yourself, your weaknesses and strengths are very important. However, If you are to dish out any offensive, you can not do it by yourself. You must rely on God.