The Enemy Within
The Enemy Within
Who is our enemy? Read again these verses of Ephesians chapter two and see if you can identify the evil trio: And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. (Ephesians 2:1-3) Did you identify the enemy? 1) The ways of the world, 2) The evil desires of the flesh, and 3) The devil who lies.
THE WAYS OF THE WORLD.
These are those enticing influences which bombard believers from the outside. The world allures and entices us with its persuasive wisdom, appealing fads and adventurous lifestyles. Worldliness is a virus in the Christian heart. If not arrested, it can and will destroy us.
How do we deal with such an enemy? I believe Jesus and John give us the answer. Jesus said that we are in the world but not of the world. We must understand that we can live in the world, and at the same time have the heart, attitude and disposition of Jesus. He was in the world but did not give in to its ways. John writes, Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15) The real battleground is in our affections. Love mentioned here in the Greek is agape, a love of the will. Somehow, we must stop being captivated with the world, loving the world, dating the world, courting the world. It’s not easy, is it?
OUR OWN EVIL DESIRES.
As long as our spirit is housed in this body we will struggle with our flesh nature, which is triggered by lust of the flesh, lust of the eye, and the pride of life. This nature has always been our enemy, and it is an enemy that we must learn to control. Denying this nature exists does nothing to make the enemy disappear; it only makes it easier for Satan to work in us! Paul says, For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality… impurity… sensuality… 20 idolatry… sorcery… enmities… strife… jealousy… outbursts of anger… disputes, dissensions... factions… 21 envying… drunkenness… carousing… and things like these. (Gal. 5:17-21) Recognize any of these sins? Sure we do! Why? Because they come from within us. They are a part of our fleshly nature.
SATAN WHO LIES.
Scripture calls him a Liar, an Adversary, the Accuser. He told Eve, “It will make you as wise as God.” He told Cain, “You’re not your brother’s keeper.” He told Lot, “Materialism will insure the good life.” He told Nadab and Abihu, “One fire is as good as another.” He told Achan, “A little materialism never hurt anybody.” He told Solomon, “If one wife can make you happy, think what a thousand could do.” He told Ananias and Sapphira, “You deserve a place of honor.” He told Demas, “The world can be yours.” We’ve all heard these lies, and at times have bought into them.
Well, how do we identify Satan’s work in our thoughts? If it is anti-Christ, if it squelches virtuous, lovely, thinking and good deeds, if it inhibits acts of compassion and kindness, it is from the Devil. He that knows to do good and does it not — has been influenced by Satan.
This spiritual warfare is real. This conflict is fully engaged every day. But the victory can be ours. Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. I am praying for your victory, and I ask you to pray for mine.
With brotherly affection – Andy