Concentration was so important to Paul that he wrote on one occasion: “When I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia” (2 Cor. 2:12–13). Paul passed by an open door for lack of help.
Many of us wish we had an Apostle Paul to travel with, not realizing how much the leader also needs the close follower. Without his helpers, Paul was not greatly used in Athens or Troas. When the earthquake occurred at midnight in Philippi, it was not Paul alone who prayed, but Paul and Silas. There are many other instances in the Bible where concentration proved important to the gospel ministry.
If you find that you are scattering your witness in “dogfights” or the enemy is using concentration on you because you insist on taking the whole ship or base or city alone, then you need a partner. You may be partly effective in your lone witness, and you may think you have no need for a wingman. Perhaps you do not, but maybe the wingman needs a leader. Remember that in warfare it is not enough to be faithful but only partly effective. We are after the objective.
You may wonder where you are going to find a partner. Start by asking God to send him or her along. You may have to lead the person to the Lord. Once you meet him and before you minister together, you need to be one in purpose and as complementary as possible. Study together, pray together, talk together, and reprove one another in the Lord. There should be openness and honesty between the two of you, and no unconfessed sin to hide. Then you can meet the enemy with combined firepower.
A few years ago aboard a carrier in the Pacific, two junior officers met every afternoon to offer concentrated prayer for the ship. Soon one other officer received Christ; this increased the concentration fifty percent. In two months ten officers and over thirty enlisted men were reached for Christ through this concentrated prayer and witness. The witness continued.
Concentration also plays a vital part in mass evangelism. In chapter two, it was brought out that when the army on the offense does not possess an overwhelming superiority, it is not feasible to launch an attack along the whole front to take the objective. In such a case a decisive point must be selected against which to strike a decisive blow. An overwhelming superiority must be gained at the chosen point. This superiority is obtained by transferring forces from the rest of the line to the decisive point. This weakens the rest of the line, but enough should be left in order to keep the enemy occupied. Even if minor defeats occur along the weakened portion, it is not crucial, because in the meantime you have served the decisive blow that defeats the enemy at the decisive point.
An excellent example of this is found in Montgomery’s preparations for the first battle of El Alamein. In his own words, “Then from the bits and pieces in Egypt I was going to form a new corps, the 10th Corps, strong in armour; this would never hold the line but would be to us what the Afrika Korps was to Rommel; the formation of this new 10th Corps had already begun” (Bernard Law Montgomery, Memoirs of Field-Marshall the Viscount Montgomery of Alamein [Cleveland: World Publishing, 1958], 93.
Montgomery concluded that Rommel would make his main effort on the south or inland flank. This was the Alam Halfa Ridge. Since Montgomery weakened his northern flank in order to concentrate on Alam Halfa, he strengthened it with mine fields and wire so it could be held with a minimum of troops. At Alam Halfa, the decisive point, he concentrated two mobile armored divisions, the 44th Infantry Division, and his newly formed armored division of four hundred tanks dug in behind a screen of six-pounder anti-tank guns. From August 31 to September 6, 1942, the Afrika Korps pounded against this line, all the while being hit hard by the mobile and dug-in tanks and by the British Desert Air Force. Rommel retreated on the 6th with a decimated Afrika Korps. He had been defeated, and Montgomery had won a decisive victory. Thus, concentration achieved the turning point of the war in Africa.
(To be continued on Friday…)
*Excerpted from Principles of War. To purchase, visit ccmbooks.org/bookstore.