Skip to content ↓

Post the Strongest Soldiers at the Weakest Gate

Post the Strongest Soldiers at the Weakest Gate

The bridge was drawn, the gates were barred, the watchmen were posted to the walls. From their vantage point they observed the enemy armies draw close, they watched as the officers divided their force into ranks and regiments. They heard the great shout and looked on in trepidation as the enemy units surged forward. And now that the great battle was at hand, the order was shouted from on high and passed from man to man: “Post the strongest soldiers at the weakest gate!”

Though the new man has been brought to life within us, the old man has not yet been fully and finally put to death. Though we are clothed in Christ’s righteousness, we are still peeling away the soiled layers of our own unrighteousness. Though we are saints, we remain sinners—sinners prone to temptation, prone to sin, prone to taking steps along the wide road that leads only to destruction.

Each of us faces unique temptations, so that what is unthinkable to one man is desirable to another and what repulses one woman intrigues another. What one Christian is able to immediately put to death, another may have to strive against for a lifetime. Our predilections are as unique as we are, which should be no surprise when we acknowledge we have a mortal enemy who has made a long study of humanity and has become an expert in fitting the temptation to the man.

With such an enemy contending against us, self-assessment becomes a key aptitude for the maturing Christian. We must know ourselves well enough to understand what sins we are most prone to: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, covetousness, anger, wrath, malice, slander—on and on the biblical lists go. None of us is immune to any sin, but none of us is equally swayed by all sins. Along with the skill of self-assessment we must also have self-awareness—we must know ourselves well enough to understand the particular forms temptation takes and the particular times it tends to manifest itself—whether in prosperity or adversity, whether in joy or sorrow, whether in morning or evening, whether alone or in a crowd.

And then we do well to heed the advice of one old preacher who often admonished his church with a simple phrase: Post the strongest soldiers at the weakest gate. When we know where the enemy is likely to attack, when we know where our defenses are weakest, we can prepare ourselves for the inevitable onslaught. For some, the weak gate is the eye and their temptation is to lust after a naked form or to envy what others have and they do not. For some, the weak gate is the imagination and their temptation is to allow their minds to dwell on what is false and dishonorable, on what is evil and worthy only of condemnation. For some, the weak gate is wealth for when they have it they put their trust in it and for others it is the affirmation of men, for when they lack it they feel abandoned by God.

No matter the weakness, the solution is the same: To make our most earnest efforts toward holiness in that very place. It is good to pray against all sin, but crucial to labor in prayer against that specific sin. It is wise to tell our friends about our weaknesses, but wiser still to confide in one trusted friend about the full strength of the attack and the pitiful flimsiness of the defense. It is right to discipline ourselves toward all godliness, but absolutely necessary to carefully customize our habits so they lead us away from that particular weakness, that particular sin, that particular temptation.

The greatest part of our striving for holiness should be right where the attack is strong and the defense is weak.

The strongest lifeguards are stationed where the riptides are most threatening, the most capable platoons at the point where the battle line is weakest, the most experienced firefighters at the spot where the inferno is mostly likely to burn out of control. And the greatest part of our striving for holiness should be right where the attack is strong and the defense is weak. In all our efforts to put sin to death and come alive to righteousness, we must be diligent in posting the strongest soldiers at the weakest gate.


  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (May 23)

    A La Carte: How a wife entrusts her husband to God / Everyone has their own facts now / A better way to look at missions / The secret of contentment / Hospitality—a command for our joy / Are you barely hanging on? / and more.

  • Redeeming Sex in Marriage

    Redeeming Sex in Marriage

    Surely few things in this world are more mysterious than sex. Surely few things give such clear evidence that there must be more to them than the sum of their parts. On the one level, sex is a simple biological function that exists to populate the earth with human beings. On the other level, it…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (May 22)

    A La Carte: What should we think about paedocommunion? / Ten questions for readers of erotica / You are an influencer / Do you believe your pasture’s green? / Adam poisoned me / Kindle and Logos deals / and more.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (May 21)

    A La Carte: A theology of immigration / Christian catholicity in an online age / Violent pornography’s assault on the marriage bed / Heresy that warrants no apology / Franchising church / With each passing moment / Kindle deals / and more.

  • Why Do I Feel Such Profound Loneliness?

    This week the blog is sponsored by Moody Publishers and is written by Steve DeWitt. The story of human loneliness has its roots in the character of God and God’s purpose in creating us.  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created…

  • Stop Swiping Start Serving

    Stop Swiping, Start Serving

    I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that in the past few weeks, you have probably not gotten rip-roaring drunk nor participated in a debauched drinking party. You have probably not given yourself over to rampant sexual immorality or a life obsessed with sensuality. At least, I hope not