Knowing our Enemy…

In my twenty years in the U.S. Navy, working in the Combat Information Center of four naval warships… one of the keys to victory, either in real world operations or naval exercises was the need to know our opposition or enemy. It is critical to success.

For the Christian, there seems to be temptation and challenge for us at every turn… whether it is love of money… power and prestige… lusts of the flesh such as sex, drugs, alcohol… there seems to be challenge to our desire to walk holy and Christlike before the LORD.

But all these things are not our true enemy- they are weapons of our true enemy, who is Satan… for the Apostle Paul declare to us in Ephesians 6:12… For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Our real enemy dwells in the heavenlies… he is, we are told the prince of the air in Ephesians 2:2. He is our enemy. He hates you and he hates me. So we need to understand his strategy to attack us.

Satan’s target is our minds. We are told in 2 Corinthians 11:3… But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

Satan’s weapon is lies. It was how Eve was deceived in the Garden. The devil asked her in Genesis 3:1… Indeed, has God said… Then he goes on to twist and pervert what God had indeed said. And he does not appraoch us as some demonic evil that seeks to destroy your life and soul… Not at all. He comes masquerading as an angel of light… yet again, Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 11:14… No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

Satan’s Purpose. The devil wants to make you ignorant of God’s will for you. So that you are of not heavenly use to God’s kingdom. That is why he lies and pervert’s God’s word. Because God’s word reveals God’s will for the Church and for you and I directly. We know this from Acts 22:14 where we read… And he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth.

Our defense. Only God’s word can reveal and defeat Satan’s lies. Truly, our only defense is the inspired word of God and the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. It was the defense that Jesus used against Satan when Jesus was in the desert being tempted by this old snake… Jesus said again and again… It is written (Matthew 4:1-11)

So saints… do you feel like you are under attack? Well, you are, the devil is relentless. But defeat his attacks- stay in God’s Word. Once a week on Sundays is not enough… it’s just enough to get you tripped up. Stay in God’s Word daily! Daily!

 

The Frustration of the Flesh…

Walking with Jesus in this life is simply a blessing! Being “in Christ” makes waking up every morning something to look forward to. Yet, because we live in these “earth suits” that we call “the flesh” we often- perhaps more than we care to admit… do those things that we know are not pleasing to the Lord. That is called sin. Anything that is not pleasing to the Lord. The Apostle Paul had the same “frustration in the flesh” to we experience. He spoke of it in Romans 7: 15-24… (Message Translation)

I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.

17-20 But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

21-23 It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

24 I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?

I just love Paul’s brutal honesty. We all struggle with our flesh… each and every one of us. Even you.

And if Paul had ended his letter to the Romans at chapter 7… I think we would all feel a little deflated… but Paul went on… to Romans Chapter 8, and he answers his questions at verse 1, where we read: Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

When we fall short in this journey that we call life… Paul let’s us know that there is no blame placed on us. No judgement assigned to us. No disapproval from the Lord… and that is because we are 1) saved by grace- Ephesians 2:8-9, 2) Jesus knows what we are going through down here- Hebrews 4:15 and 3) Jesus is even now interceding on our behalf- Romans 8:34.

This is good news and it is freeing. We need to live our lives, daily desiring to grow in Christ likeness… but when we do those things that we know we shouldn’t… confess, repent and move on… under no condemnation. Jesus frees us from the “frustration of the flesh.”