You may think you know exactly who your enemy is. Your enemy is your unhappy spouse. Your enemy is your stubborn teenager. Your enemy is your ungrateful boss. Your enemy is your friend who said something you don’t like. Your enemy is the economy or the job market. Your enemy is your sickness. Your parents are your enemy. In short, you may think life is your enemy.
The truth is that most of the time you are wrong. You are likely to believe the enemy is the people and circumstances you encounter. When this happens your energy is spent fighting the wrong target!
You need God’s wisdom to identify your actual enemy, otherwise, you become like the fool in Proverbs who is clueless about why he is frustrated and struggling.
But the way of the wicked is like total darkness.
They have no idea what they are stumbling over. (Proverbs 4:19)
Humans are born at war with God. Ephesians 2:1-3 tells us that the world is filled with people who, while dead in their sin, are very much alive to the leadership of the evil one. Then there is the matter of your flesh. When you consider the darkness of your heart you see evidence the enemy’s legacy.
The world, the flesh, and the devil are your true enemies, not the people and circumstances that you typically war against. The world, that is the culture you interact with, is antithetical to God’s truth. Paul says your true enemy is deceptive. He does not want you to recognize that you are a captive to seeing life the way he wants you to see it! Make sure the things you think and believe and practice are based on Scripture and not empty, deceptive thoughts.
The Cross calls you to be proactive. You must be on the offensive, taking every thought captive for Christ as Paul urges in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. Do not use the world’s methods of combat, but use the Spirit’s weapons. Here are three examples of just how different the Spirit’s idea of combat is from your natural response to problems.
When you are sinned against, return good for evil. (Romans 12:17-21)
Love your enemies. Matthew (5:43-48)
Consider others more important than yourself. (Philippians 2:3-5)
These three examples offer a radically different offensive strategy. This is possible because of the grand story of redemption. Christ, by his sacrifice, has made it possible for you to engage your real enemies. The victory over sin won by Jesus means true freedom. You can now identify your true enemy. More importantly, you can draw strength from Christ’s power instead of being angry or frustrated with your current list of enemies.
Because of Easter you no longer have to stumble around in the darkness!