Do you like action movies? Or are you more of the love story kind of girl? Me-I like my action movie. Give me heroes and heroines who fearlessly face their foes, defend against injustice, don’t lose hope in the heat of the battle and slay all evil doers. Maybe I just never really grew up and still like to think that could be me. I like to think I would be strong, courageous, brave in the face of danger, and daring.
But it’s always so simple in the movies. The enemies are usually obvious, making defending and attacking much easier. I mean, if you don’t know who your enemy is, how can you defend against them, much less attack them? And in life our enemy is much more subtle-so much so that we often forget who he really is.
Who are our real enemies?
You see we are all in a battle. As Christians we realize this and have been reminded that our enemy is not flesh and blood, but spiritual forces of evil (Eph 6:12). Unfortunately, we often forget who our real enemy is and even more often we find ourselves fighting flesh and blood, sometimes even our own brothers and sisters in Christ.
We can take a lesson from King David here. If you’ve studied any ancient history or read much of the Old Testament, you’d probably say that King Saul, who preceded David to the throne, was an enemy of David. I mean, he did chase David all around the country trying to kill him. In most people’s book, that would make for quite the enemy.
But if you read 1 Sam 26:7-11, David has a perfect opportunity to kill Saul for the second time. But he actually refuses to do so, calling Saul “the Lord’s anointed”. Not quite the title one would give to their enemy. But maybe David realized that Saul wasn’t actually his enemy. Saul may have been the means the enemy was using to attack David, but Saul wasn’t the real enemy.
Recognizing our real enemies
If you’re like me, you may find yourself facing difficult circumstances, difficult people, and other hardships of life and just think you’ve hit a rough patch. And while I don’t want to give more credit to the Enemy than what’s due him, I do think we often forget we are in a real spiritual battle, facing a real spiritual foe. And while it may not be Satan himself attacking us, many times I do believe his demons are at work around us trying to thwart God’s plan.
The problem is that we too often brush these attacks away as “life”. And if we don’t realize we are being attacked then we don’t use our weapons-the armor of God. In Ephesians 6: 13-18, right after we are reminded who are enemies are, we are told that we have all we need to fight our enemies. God has prepared an armor for us that provides protection and a weapon to attack our enemy. But if we lose sight that we are in a battle, we’ll also forget to use our armor.
Defeating our real enemies
Two important parts of our armor is the Word of God and prayer. We must know God and know His Word if we are to stand against the devil. And that is just what God intends for us to do. Fight! Our armor is an offensive armor intended for use as we charge ahead into battle.
Matthew Henry wrote
We have enemies to fight against, a captain to fight for, a banner to fight under, and certain rules of war by which we govern ourselves.
I wrote about Christ being our banner (read that post here). Banners often stood for victories won and Christ has already won our victory. Victors don’t run from the battle, they charge ahead. And we should charge ahead, knowing Christ has won the war and will fight our battles for us.
Is everything a spiritual battle?
I do want to add that not all our “rough patches” in life are battles against Satan or evil forces. Often these tough times are God-sends to grow our character, build our faith, or prepare us for things in our future. Most often it is for all three.
The good thing is that the same weapons used for battle will also help us during these times of preparation-Scripture and prayer. Drawing strength from God’s Word and drawing close to our Lord allows Him to pour out His grace during these times and carry us through.
I am reminded of this over and over again as I read through my good friend Julie’s new ebook A Place Prepared. She tells of her journey so far and shares her trials, heartaches, and victories. But more importantly, God’s hand is clearly seen as He weaves the tapestry of her life into the masterpiece of His perfect plan. (You can get your own copy of the ebook here.)
What I love most about A Place Prepared is how Julie is discerning enough to look for and see God’s hand in her struggles. Whether our struggles are evil forces of Satan attacking us from the outside or God growing us on the inside, we are wise to realize the spiritual aspect. And we are even wiser when we use our weapons already given to us-Scripture and prayer.
For more encouragement from Scripture:
You can also find more encouragement from Julie at Hallway Initiative