As I looked at my blog post categories, it was obvious I’d avoided discussing our relationship with enemies as if by simply ignoring them they would vanish into thin air. Truth be known, I hate to admit I have enemies; it feels like failure. But let’s take the lid off these relationships and see what God has to show us.
We have three subtypes of enemies.
- The arch enemy—Satan
- Enemies of the cross
- Enemy of Self
I Peter 5:8: Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Oh, he just never gives up. You and I are no match for him. The only one who has ever defeated him is Christ. So, knowing this, you and I are going to need to be prayed up and hiding underneath the shadow of His wing. He waits and watches until we are at our weakest. He knows our weaknesses and times his onslaughts so they can have maximum impact. We would benefit by knowing his tactics:
- Strikes when you are alone, weak and vulnerable
- Questions the word of God (Eve)
- Encourages doubt (Eve)
- Encourages you to shift blame (Adam)
- Encourages you to take matters into your own hands (Cain)
- A Tempter (Jesus)
- Is a Master at finding your weak points: Lusts of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life
Christ showed us how to defeat Him.
- Through the Word. Each time you heard Christ refer to what God has instructed. . . “
- Your desire must ONLY be to do the will of the Father
- You must be prayed up
- Be on mission with the Father
ENEMIES OF THE CROSS
Philippians 3:18-19: For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.
Believe it or not there are people who become an enemy simply because you have been covered in the blood of Christ. They are influenced by our arch enemy who wants revenge. David recounts the torture from this type of enemy in Psalm 44, calling upon the Lord to save Him because of His unfailing love.
These enemies don’t want to hear a message of repentance and forgiveness. They want to continue down their broad road without seeing any billboards that indicate they might be on the wrong road or have missed a turn. They will conspire against you because your faith and lifestyle convict them. You will recognize them because they
- Flaunt their ungodliness in your face
- Try to make you feel you don’t belong to their club unless you participate in their sin
- Are not seeking knowledge; therefore, the Word of God is an unwelcome voice
- Are critical—look for you to make a mistake so they can hold it up
- Talk behind your back
- Make up lies about you
- Do not like reproof
- Celebrate when you are hurting
- Haughty, high-minded
- Caught up in the things of the world
This type of enemy always blindsides me because they come out of left field. It seems I’m journeying with someone, deeply loving and caring for them, when suddenly I find I’m being attacked. I must confess that my instinct is to withdraw. In truth, it is my time to get into the Word and run into my strong tower so I can rise above the conflict to observe the battle that is raging. I need to call upon Him for He will fight for me.
Romans 7:14b-15: I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
Yes, like Paul, I’m my own worst enemy. I let my emotions, pride, fears, greeds, lusts and weaknesses rule when I should be leaning more on my Master and letting Him shine through me. And when others see these things in me, they reject me and eagerly point a finger at my failures. I’ve been doing a lot of research on my personality type; we each have one. It is a very good thing to be who God made you to be; but it is important that we understand our strengths as well as our weaknesses and greeds (See Deb Potts book, How to Deal with Prickly People) so we constantly stay alert to areas vulnerable to attack.
God gives us a great reference guide for how to conduct ourselves in Romans 12. Pull this out often and see if you have erred in any way. Hasten to make amends.
To be honest with you, as long as I am walking around in flesh, there is no way I can defeat these enemies alone. But, praise God, I do not have to raise a white flag of surrender either. Victory will be won day-by-day, battle-by-battle as I lean on Him. I will fight the good fight of faith until He conquers all my enemies at His coming.
Until that day I thank God even for my enemies. They remind me to get into the Word, to daily cleanse my heart, to trust in my Lord, to run to Him, to rest even in my anxieties and to cling to the Rock. I’m reminded that I must stay close to Him because my hiding place—my safe place—is in His shadow.
Psalm 57:1: Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.