It is important to know who your enemy is.
If you want to win a battle, it is important to know who your enemy is. If a person has a brain tumour they probably have pain in their head, and it is true that aspirins can be taken for headaches, but taking an aspirin is not going to help. The real enemy, the tumour, needs to be dealt with. Or for another example, what about the war against drugs? An important job of the police is arresting drug dealers on the street, but the war on drugs cannot be won unless the drug cartels etc are dealt with. Or look at the current situation in the Middle East (at the time of writing in 2016). Much of the turmoil there has been caused because we did not know who the true enemy was. We have taken out evil dictators like Saddam Hussein and Colonel Gaddafi, not realizing that it was their oppressive regimes that were holding back the real enemy, which was radical Islam. This enemy has now been unleashed.
We need to stop focusing on the pawns and go after the king.
It is the same for us as Christians. We need to learn who the real enemy is and stop focusing on his (often unwitting) foot soldiers. We need to stop focusing on the pawns and go after the king, Ephesians 6:12 in the J.B. Phillips translation says, “For our fight is not against any physical enemy: it is against organisations and powers that are spiritual. We are up against the unseen power that controls this dark world, and spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil“. The devil has become proficient at keeping us focused on anything apart from him, and if he can convince us that he doesn’t actually exist, then even better. When someones speaks harshly against us, we need to recognise who is behind the attack. That person may be having a bad day, or they may just be a nasty sort of person, but either way it is the devil who is prompting them, trying to upset us and get us out of walking in love. Why? Because faith works by love: no love = no faith.
The devil is well practiced in giving you justifiable reasons of why the curse is operating in your life.
Or maybe you didn’t realise it would be cold out and you didn’t take a coat. When you start feeling unwell, the devil will whisper to you that its your fault for not wearing a coat. The devil is well practiced in giving you justifiable reasons of why the curse is operating in your life, “Well this is your fault because……“. But don’t look at the symptoms and just accept them, recognise the curse when you see it and refuse to accept it. Yes it would have been better to have worn a coat and if you can be prepared, you should be; but when situations take you by surprise, that does not give the curse a valid reason to operate in your life. Stand your ground and refuse to accept it, refuse to give it permission to operate in your life.
They pray & beg for God to help them, and yet their situation does not improve.
John 10:10 in the J.B. Phillips translation says, “The thief comes with the sole intention of stealing and killing and destroying“. When something comes under those categories we need to recognise that its not just bad luck, its not just ‘one of those things’, it is the work of the devil, and that means we can stand against it. Of course recognising who the enemy is and actually knowing how to deal with him, are two very different things. There are many Christians who can see that the devil is the one responsible for destroying their lives, but they don’t know what to do about it. So they pray & beg for God to help them, and yet their situation does not improve and they don’t understand why?
Paul actually understands what God means.
Paul was in a similar place in 2 Corinthians 12, he had just described the various attacks he had come under in 2 Corinthians 11 and now he asks God to remove the messenger of Satan that is working against him. God doesn’t give Paul the answer that he wants, God doesn’t remove the messenger of Satan; instead God says, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). It is here though, that Paul differs from many Christians, in that Paul actually understands what God means. Paul understands that God is not saying, “Look, you’re just going to have to put up with the situation, but hey, chin-up, my grace will help you“. Paul understood that God was saying that He’d already given Paul everything he needed to walk in victory. In the very next verse Paul boldly declares, “When I am weak, then am I strong“. Paul understood that it was God’s grace that would bring him the victory, not just bear troubles cheerfully.
Did God change His mind?
Paul talks about his persecutions again in 2 Timothy 3, but this time he says, “But out of them all the Lord delivered me“. Did God change His mind and decide to help Paul out after all? No, Paul learned that through the death & resurrection of Jesus Christ, God had already given him all the tools he needed to walk in total victory over Satan. So firstly, learn to recognise who your real enemy is and secondly study the epistles (the letters) in the New Testament and learn to use the authority that is already yours. One resource I can recommend is the book, ‘The Believers Authority’ by Kenneth Hagin.
If you have any further questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.
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