Who is my Enemy?

Who is my Enemy?

Do you ever forget what battle you are fighting?  I think that I get so angry, so self-righteous, so indignant, so flame-throwing, nail-spitting mad, that I just close my eyes and throw fists every which way I can muster, hitting innocent victims, and only accomplishing more self-hatred.

Oh my,  I’m fighting hard.  I’m fighting the people I love the most.  I’m fighting those who are trying their hardest to help me.  I’m fighting against my own body.  I’m even fighting God who loves me more than I can ever imagine.  I’m blindly lashing out because I am spitting’ mad. 

And by golly, I sure feel like I have all the reasons in the world to be mad.  So in indignation,  I spit in the face of anyone who challenges me for lashing out.

But in my anger, I am having a free-for-all flow of aggression. I have no aim, no real enemy.  Thus, everyone who is actually for me becomes the enemy.  I become the enemy. God becomes the enemy.  But the real enemy remains totally unchallenged, and I imagine that he is doing a little victory dance as I blindly let my fists fly at my most cherished allies.

Why is it so easy to forget?

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [all the people who love you and care about you, your own body], but against rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12, additional comments my own). 

I gravitate toward the softer, sweeter ideas about God and the spiritual world.  I fail to consider the reality of evil, darkness, and dun-dun-dun….Satan.  No one wants to hear about that guy.  I certainly don’t.  Why don’t we?  It doesn’t feel good.  We can’t comprehend evil.  The nature of the unseen realm is that we….wait for it….can’t see it.  We can’t see it, and we can’t wrap our brains around it.   So it must not be there, right?

But wait….why does it feel like I am being hit from all sides?  Why does all of this fighting feel for naught?  Why does evidence show that prayer actually is effective, powerful, and meaningful?  And why in the world is the Bible (you know,  God’s own Spirit-breathed, life-giving word) so hyper-focused on these ideas of Spiritual battle?  Why do I feel like a warrior if I’m not actually created to fight a real, bonafide enemy?  (Hint:  I’m pretty sure my enemy is not other people, my own body, my family, or the medical world).

Maybe I’m the only one who has fallen for this sugar-coated, palatable, white-washed Christianity.  Maybe I’m the only one who has started cringing at any mention of “forces of evil,”  “weapons of the enemy,” and any scripture that refers to life as warfare.  So if I am writing only to myself, it is still worth it. I’ve got some major lessons to learn.  Everyone else can just read along and eves-drop on my internal conversation if you would like.  But based on some conversations that I have had,  I get the feeling that I’m not alone.

I need to start fighting the real enemy again, using the weapons that I have been gifted with from the Father of Lights, who gives wonderful gifts to His children.  He, who has filled us with perfect love that casts out all fear (1 John 4:18), has called us to go forth into battle with our eyes wide open.  And the great thing is that we have a complete set of armor to wear into battle. (Ephesians 6: 14-17).  We are fully equipped, empowered by the Spirit of God, with the Son of God at the right hand of the father interceding for us.

But I’ve got to stop fighting the non-enemies.  As long as I am fighting aimlessly, I will always be defeated.  And as long as I forget who is my real enemy, I will keep fighting aimlessly.

So today, I draw the line in the sand (this may be like my 35th line in the sand–Good thing God is so patient and long-suffering):  I will put on the armor: truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and the word of God.  I will allow the Spirit of God to open my eyes, and I will fight the real enemy.

I don’t know what the outcome will be.   There’s no guarantee that it will result in physical healing, the absence of mental illness, complete resolution of trauma, or the absence of suffering in life.  It will result, however, in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).  And honestly, I don’t think that I could ask for a better life than one filled with all of those gifts.

So watch out, Satan.  I’m no longer turning a blind eye.

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What Can We Do?

I am angry, probably out of my brokenness, possibly slightly out of conviction. I am angry at our culture, our society, and our churches. But I am tired of raging. I need to do something.

I am also torn between two theories: The first is this: We live in a fallen world. We see through a glass dimly. Our vision of God will be unclear in this life. So we live in hope and eager expectancy of the life to come, or we forget that there is so much more than this world. My second is this: The prince of this earth has cast a darker shadow over our western culture. We are jaded, upside down, inside out, and backwards in our view of things because of the massive spiritual battle that is being waged in the heavenlies. Because of this and because of our hardened and calloused hearts, we are living not only in the shadowlands, but also in a place of spiritual blindness and confusion. The enemy has tricked us, and we have stepped into his trap. We are quarrelling about matters that are trivial while we are missing the Glory. We are blinded because we have chosen to look at the wrong things.

I imagine that our condition is a result of a combination of these two theories. It is probably neither one nor the other, but my heart is heavier than a boulder, and my chest aches with the pressure. I am yearning for some light in this darkness.

These thoughts are not by any means original or revolutionary, but in my own heart, something needs to change. I can’t find the light, and I can’t find the truth. Looking at the condition of our country and our culture, I believe that I need to fight through prayer. Somehow, prayer is infinitely powerful, and if this is a battle that is not of flesh and blood, we need to engage appropriately. I reason that this engagement needs to be of a spiritual nature: On our knees.   This is probably already taking place, and I don’t know about it, but I have a vision for an underground prayer church. I believe that we need an army of prayer warriors, who are around the clock waging in this battle against the prince of this world. We are fighting valiantly, but are we fighting in the appropriate realm? We don’t need to fight one another. Denominations don’t need to battle. Liberals and conservatives don’t need to battle. We are not the enemy. Humanity is not the enemy.   We are on the same side, so lets start praying with one agenda: Letting the Light penetrate the darkness. The darkness seems to be winning, and it is infinitely less formidable than the power of the Light. This is silly.

I am not sure what this needs to look like, but I think that it starts with some seriously bruised knees and open hearts.   I think that it starts with humility and desperation. This is not new. It’s not revolutionary in the world of Christ-followers. The saints have fought and continue to battle on this front. But I believe that more of us, including myself, need to join with the saints on their knees. This is where I face-plant before the throne. And I believe that the darkness will not be able to stand against the Light.