check mate

checkmate shadowA while back I was preaching at Havering Christian Fellowship, and during the worship I was drawn to one of the banners at the front of the church. It was very simple image consisting of a black and white chequered pattern with a cross radiating out from the middle. I felt the Lord give me a prophetic word for the church, which I shared on the day, but thought I would encourage you with today also.

As I looked at the picture hanging there I thought of a chessboard.  It’s like our lives are a chess match, and the objective of the enemy is to rob us of our pieces, and manoeuvre us into a place of defeat and abdication. Sometimes we see the move coming and can respond early but at many other times it strikes from a hidden place and puts us in difficulty. He relentlessly attacks us from all parts of the board, stealing our peace, joy, hope, strength, faith, relationships, health and security, and lining them up as trophies on the side of the board. Once our defences are weakened, he seeks to chase us into ultimate defeat or stalemate at the very best.

No doubt the devil is a good chess player, and many times he will outplay us, but he is not a master player. That honour belongs to Jesus. The enemy of our soul has no defence to the most powerful game plan of all; the cross. The cross at the centre of the chessboard is Gods ‘checkmate move.’ It’s the eternal divine masterstroke that ensures victory for us no matter what stage of the contest we are in today.  No matter how many moves ahead the devil plans, the divine work of the cross is always one move ahead. All his plans have been obliterated in that one move! As the Bible says in 1 Jn 3:8 ‘For this purpose Christ appeared to destroy the work of the evil one’

My point is this, the moment the checkmate move has been made, the game is over. No matter how an opponent chooses to react or respond; it’s irreversible! He may try a number of moves to get out of mate, and even strike out to take your pieces, but when its check mate, defeat is inevitable. Its just a matter of time before he realises he is out of the game. The cross is Gods checkmate move. It has been played masterfully and our victory has been assured. What you and I are experiencing in our struggles today is the lie of the enemy that he still has some control over the outcome. He is deluded, and has continued to deny defeat since the moment Christ rose from the death and proclaimed checkmate! He is still looking for a loophole or a way of escape and in the process will attempt to convince you that he is still in the game by striking out at you and removing your pieces from the board. We need to hold our course and trust the work of the cross to bring us victory.

One of those little annoying things that happens to me sometimes, is when I am unable to watch a football game live, but don’t want to know the score until I can watch it later. More often than not I get through the whole day only to find out just before I settle down to watch it when some well-meaning person blurts out the result! As annoying and frustrating as this may be, it does completely change the way I watch the game. Knowing the end from the beginning transforms your perspective. If I know my team has won, then I will won’t get concerned or discouraged no matter what happens during the match. In fact we could be 3-0 behind and down to 9 men at half time, but still I will remain confident and positive because I know the end result. Likewise in our walk of faith we can live in the truth that the game is over and victory has been assured. It might not look or feel like that for you at the moment, but the reality is the final whistle has already been blown and the result is irrevocable.

The cross didn’t just give us a fighting chance of survival it totally destroyed the strategy and plan of the enemy and assured us of eternal victory. The bible says that Christ has ‘disarmed the (devils) powers and authorities, and made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross’ Col 2:15

Be encouraged today the cross has checkmated every move of the enemy in our life. Sure, the chess game appears to be going on but rest assured we are in that period between the checkmate move and the abdication of the enemy. The end is guaranteed. Hold your ground. Stand on the truth. Look to the cross.

Saw a film recently and I quote one of the characters when things were not going well “everything will be all right in the end. If everything is not all right then it’s not the end!!”  This is just wishful thinking if you rely on yourself, but its an assured hope when you rely on Christ!

Checkmate!

Have a great day

Chris