Do you have an enemy?
Is there some type of nemesis in your life that always seems to come against you? No matter what you say or what you do, they have some type of negative comment to share. Do you sometimes feel like the people closest to you might be your enemy? Maybe you feel as though you are in constant battle with a significant other, or there is always some underlying tension with your child or teen.
We will encounter many types of people in life and develop many different types of relationships. Nowadays, there are all kinds of types of relationships: friends, family, framily, enemies, frenemies, mentors, acquaintances, associates, peers, and on and on.
There are times when relationships will become confrontational or experience friction – but does that make a person our enemy?
No, it does not.
As we focus on RENEWING OUR MIND, we begin to see life from a new perspective and that includes relationships. It is in our power to accept or reject the idea of “enemies” in our life.
People are not our enemies.
There are 2 types of enemies to our soul and neither of them is the person that tries to get under our skin or push our buttons.
Enemy #1: Self
In our study, Rivers of Living Water, we explored the concept of our reactions. Are our reactions more about what is in our heart than what is happening in our life? Does our reaction to a circumstance or situation reveal what is already within us? The good and the bad.
Paul wrote these words nearly 2000 years ago (the winter of AD 57-58), but I feel I could have penned these exact thoughts any day last week.
“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.
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.
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?
The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.”
Romans 7:17-25 MSG
Do we self-sabotage? Do our reactions escalate issues? Is there a better way to interact with the people around us and fight our spiritual battles? Are our actions and reactions indicative of our sinful nature and our propensity towards sin?
Let’s meditate on these scriptures:
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
James 1:12-15 ESV
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”
Do you ever feel this internal struggle? What is your natural response? How can we move to respond in a new way?
Enemy #2: Satan
The obvious enemy is Satan. It is so much easier to say something is happening in our life because satan is on the attack and that may be true.
The word of God offers us these sobering warnings:
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your enemy, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
So how do we battle the enemy? What strategies can we use to fight against his meddling and menacing in our life?
It starts with submitting to God and resisting the temptations.
“Submit yourselves, therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
But it does not end there. The word of God equips us with many weapons to help us walk in the goodness and abundance of God, even in the midst of an attack or battle.
More on our weapons of warfare to come, in the next installment of the “Renew Your Mind” series.
I am so thankful that you are here and a part of this study.