FROM the New Testament book of Matthew in The Bible:

‘AGAIN the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’

THESE words are highly relevant to our present-day spiritual war. Evil, or Satan, has always been present in our world. Never has that been so obvious and blatant as in the last two years except, of course, to those whom Satan has ‘blinded’ (2 Corinthians 4: ‘Satan who is the god of this world has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe’).

The way Jesus responded to The Devil’s temptation is all important. He didn’t argue about Satan’s right to give him ‘all the kingdoms of the world and their glory’. Why? Because he knew The Devil is indeed ‘the god of this world’. Instead he refused adamantly to have anything to do with him. No negotiation, no talks, no protest – he just walked away and claimed the moral high ground, which was rightfully his.

That’s a lesson the world’s best and most famous tennis player Novak Djokovic is yet to learn.He travelled to Australia either expecting to be allowed past The Devil’s rules or to negotiate a way through. He should, in my opinion, have said a massive ‘no’ to the Australian Tennis Open – one of the kingdoms of the world with very high prize money – and send a message he will abide only by God’s rules and have nothing to do with regulations that restrict human freedom.

Tremors would have shot through not only the tennis and sporting worlds but the worldwide system of ‘vaccine passports’. For, whereas the integrity of the Australian Open would hardly be compromised by the loss of a dozen lesser players, the absence of the best player on the planet is a seriously big deal, not least for commercial reasons.

But the price of doing so was too great for Novak, good and brave man though he undoubtedly is. His eyes are firmly fixed on becoming the winner of most Grand Slam tennis tournaments in history. In spiritual terms, he wants the ‘kingdoms of the world and their glory’ and, if it takes a compromise with The Devil, so be it.

He can’t now claim the ultimate victory whatever happens on the tennis court. A spiritual war is fought with spiritual weapons, not traditional sticks and stones or ways of protest. Spiritual warriors don’t seek better personal terms with evil: Instead, they say ‘away with you Satan’ or ‘fuck off, Australian government’.

By trying to play with the system’s cards, he has forsaken the moral high ground. Either his exemption is granted and he co-operates with an evil system, therefore giving it legitimacy’ or he is sent home, defeated. with his tail between his legs.

It takes someone of immense personal strength to do the right thing. Usually, such a choice involves personal cost – in this case, the temporary or permanent ending of a fantastic sporting career. But let’s not feel too sorry for Novak.

Millions of people throughout the world are being challenged to stand by their principles and lose their jobs and livelihoods. And many, praise God, are making the right call. Perhaps Novak’s stance on vaccination is because of being harm caused by jabs in the past rather than a conscientious objection. Unless he speaks up, which he isn’t obliged to do, we will never know.

But by being prepared to compromise with evil, he has not done humanity any favours.

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