September 14 & 21: Know You Enemy (Part 1&2)
As we continue our examination of Spiritual Warfare there is a serious need to remind ourselves of the what we are faced with.
In Ephesians 6:12 Paul tells us that we need to remember that our battle is not with other human beings. That Our war is in the spirit realm, the realm from which the things that we feel, see and touch (that world we encounter with our five senses) was made from that same spirit realm. That by coming to an understanding of that reality we can begin to see that we are called to a higher, a more effective and a more important battle than any warfare being performed by any physical army.
Instead of attacking the men and women that are used as pawns in the greater battle, we go into battle with the forces, the rulership, the ideologies, the governing powers behind the move to distract from the real agenda being played out. In 2Cor 10: 4 Paul reminds us that the weapons of our warfare are spiritual in nature. They are not weapons that are aimed at flesh and blood referred to as ‘Carnal’ in the King James. Instead Our weapons are mighty, weapons provided by God himself, that can affect the required defeat of those aimed in what is truly a spiritual attack.
We are commanded to turn away from those thoughts and agenda and ideologies that would set themselves up as a substitute for God; or as a denial of the very existence of God; or, for that matter the presentation of a false god. But, to be able to do that with any certainty we need to understand how our enemy works.
There is a much clichéd saying: “Know thy enemy!” But, the fact that it is a cliché does not change the truth behind it. The best way to understand what an enemy does is by understanding how and why they act (their motivation). How they react and respond to certain stimuli. If you know what sets your enemy off, or you know what effect a move you make will have either on their actions or thinking, you are in a much better position to be able to anticipate their next move
Satan has allowed himself to become a cliché in the minds of the majority of churchgoers across the globe. Little devils associated with fun and being kinky. Angels as weak little babies with wings and a bow and arrow firing love darts. So much so, that it is not uncommon to see ‘christian’ youth in devil costumes and horns for Halloween. One poor old churchgoer is quoted as saying “The devil has been after me. Bless his holy name!”
They either believe that he devil, or Satan doesn’t exist, or that he is capable of doing them harm, so much so, that some of them will fight you if you begin to talk disparagingly about him; they start to talk in whispers, as if they’re afraid he might hear them
Add to that the incredible global lust for horror films that depict devils and demons as powerful entities. I read this as a yearning of the human spirit for the supernatural. A recognition that there is more to this life and to this world than what we can see feel and touch.
This obsession with Satan though is more due to the lacklustre display of churches more interested in their religious displays and affectations than any reliance on the importance and the reality of the supernatural; Christ’s body, here on the earth is called, in fact commissioned to walk as a world-changing supernatural force for good in this world.
Instead of hero, Christ is seen as a wimp. Instead of changing the circumstances church goers are controlled by them. Prayer, even among many members of churches, is seen as the last resort, the action of the desperate. With those that say they are Christians accused of needing a crutch.
Instead of acts of healing churchgoers have come to believe that God has made them sick to teach them something (yet come Monday morning they are off to see the nearest doctor, or attend their local pharmacy to avoid the lesson). Instead of welcoming those whom Christ himself declared he came to save.
Churches have become “members only” clubs that have dress and behaviour codes that place unreal expectations on the sick, the lame, the drug addicted street kid, the young teenage girls and boys caught up in prostitution and any of the homeless and unwashed. Their acts of piety take precedence over service. The poor are an afterthought and the pantry shelves are filled with tins of baked beans.
The wars and battles around the globe fill the newspapers, television RSS feed and Facebook with ‘christians’ calling for the worlds armies to go in and decimate whichever group “Our Team” is against, this time. The suggestion, that the work of the church is on its corporate knees and face before God in intercession, is greeted with aggression, accusations of cowardice; greeted with disdain as the last bastion of the weak and impotent.
Religion, in fact it’s more a case of ‘Religiosity’ has blinded the minds of the church and the body of Christ, in general, to the true nature of their Authority, their power and their position of victory here in this world. Religiosity has taken the fundamental act of Prayer and disempowered it through repetition of childhood prayers and rote rituals that mock the very dynamic nature of the most effective weapon that the church, as the very Body Of Christ, has at its disposal.
Religiosity has taken the force of Righteousness in the life of a believer and diminished its effectiveness by tying it directly to the individual’s actions alone. The suggestion that it is the measure of your behaviour, rather than the declaration of your standing, as a child of the living God, has robbed so many Christians of the very force that would have helped them to become the living examples of that relationship they profess to be in, yet fall short of at every turn.
It is no wonder the rest of the human race, those outside of the church, have regarded us as a laughing-stock for so long; that they want no part of what ‘religion’ has to offer.
These are the very wiles of the Devil, the very deceptions that beset the members of the body of Christ who do not know who they are as a result of their relationship with Jesus. It is also the reason why Paul calls us to renew our minds, to bring our thought life into captivity, to “Put on the mind of Christ.” In the process of doing just that the believer’s awareness of how they have been deceived grows and a familiarity to the tools and deceptions of the enemy become apparent.
We were NEVER promised a life of ease, floating on a graceful cloud of life without trouble. We were warned that we would face tribulation, attack and have to learn to avoid the traps that the enemy has placed in our paths. If you were told otherwise someone either lied to you.
Or, assumptions were made that were unrealistic. Jesus himself said: “Don’t worry about tomorrow, there’s nothing you can do about the troubles that it has in store. Instead, concentrate on the task you have at hand today.” Matt 6: 34 (paraphrased)
You are a supernatural creature (1Cor 5:17), you operate in a physical world and can be bound to only operating within your own strength reserves. But, you are also capable, as a human being, of operating in that super-natural world.
In that world you, as a Christian, as a believer in Christ Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit and guided by the Word of God are capable of so much more than your limited human resources. When you learn to rest into that power, that anointing, that you have on your life, as a part of the Body of Christ, you will discover how effective and powerful your prayer life has the potential to be.
It simply takes a decision, on your part, to believe that it is so and to act on that belief. A decision to accept that you are more than your limited imagination has the capacity to contemplate until you take that step.
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