Friday, June 26, 2009

Recognizing the Enemy

"Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not
ignorant of his devices."
2 Corinthians 2:11

The key to experiencing victory in your life may lie in your ability
to recognize your enemy. Can you recognize the work of the enemy
in your life? Most people would say, "Yes!" However, I am convinced
that a vast majority of Believers cannot? When I think of the
battle that we, as Believers, must wage in life against evil, my
thoughts gravitate towards the war in Iraq. Militarily, the U.S is
far more powerful and sophisticated in training and weaponry, but
yet and still, we are experiencing an ever-increasing number of
casualties. There is a reason for this. The reason is our enemy
is hard to recognize. The enemy in this battle does not always
wear a uniform by which he can be easily identified. In many
instances, it is not a he but a she. Women, children and unassuming
old men are sacrificing themselves in order to inflict as much
damage on the U.S. Armed forces as possible. Armed Service men
and women face daily, the possibility that the person who just walked
by or is eating at a diner across the street, is actually there to
steal, kill and destroy any future or hope they have.

On a daily basis you and I wage war against an enemy that we
cannot see and who does not want to be recognized. When most
people think of evil, or picture the enemy, they visualize a man in a
red suit with horns and a pitchfork. Many look for what Hollywood has
depicted as evil - some wild and out of control person. Evil is
much too clever to be so obvious. Satan experiences the most
success in secret, carrying out covert operation in the lives of
Believers. Strategically, killing, stealing and destroying people's
hopes, dreams and lives while going undetected. This is his primary
mode of operation.

This is why Paul instructs the Corinthian church (and us) not to be
ignorant of, the devices of the enemy. Many people wonder, "How
did I get in the condition that I'm in?" "How could I have done
what I did?" "Why do I feel this way?" "How can I think about or
meditate on such things?" If you've thought or said any of the
above, you've been attacked - and didn't know it.

You must understand that evil will very seldom come at you as
full-blown evil. It will present itself as something harmless,
inconsequential, small and even cloaked as something good. It does
this because it knows that "good people" will not readily embrace
something that is obviously evil, so it must appear to be something
other than what it really is. This is why so many "good people"
become victims to bad habits, bad relationships and find themselves
in bad situations. They've allowed something that appeared good
into their lives, which turned out to be something other than good.

This takes spiritual discernment. Jesus understood this and was
able to discern between what appeared to be genuine concern for His
well-being and demonic activity. When Jesus told His disciples of
His pending suffering, Peter pulled Him aside and proclaimed that he
would never let Jesus suffer. Jesus looked Peter straight in the
eye and said: "Get behind Me, Satan!" (Matthew 16:23). What
appeared to be genuine concern by a friend was actually a device of
the devil. As a matter of fact, the first place we find a demon
mentioned in the New Testament is in a place that we would least
expect it. It was not in a graveyard, nor some dark enchanted
forest - but in church! Mark 1: 23 records, "there was a man in
their synagogue with an unclean spirit"
. In every instance the
enemy presents himself in a place and manner that would not cause
those who are his target alarm. He uses "good people" and "good
places" to camouflage his true identity and objective. He depends
on us not being able to detect his presence and activity until it
is too late. He employs gradual compromise to bring us to a point
of vulnerability and weakness.

Some of you may be wondering, "Why is it necessary to recognize
the enemy?
" The answer is your life depends on it. Your ability to
detect the enemies' point of entry in our lives will not only affect
the quality our lives, but its quantity as well. You may not
recognize the one thing that you've given place to in your life
that is an agent of the enemy to keep you defeated, frustrated and
broken. As long as it is allowed to stay, nothing will change.

Here are 10 ways to help you rightly appraise and discern the
things that are presently part of your life, as well as those
things you are considering allowing into to your life.

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Does it draw you closer too and strengthen your relationship
with God or does it draw attention to yourself?
2. Will it cause others to see Christ more clearly?
3. Is Jesus and the Kingdom of God glorified in your doing it?
4. Can it be supported biblically?
5. Is the benefit an enduring one or does it only satisfy an
immediate need?
6. Is your life being enriched or depleted by it?
7. When speaking to others about it can you be nakedly honest
regarding every detail and your involvement in or with it?
8. Do you have to rationalize its legitimacy in your life?
9. Do you have genuine God given peace in your spirit concerning
your involvement or decision(s)?
10. Must you comprise God's Word or morality for it?

By shining the light of God's Word and truth upon our lives we are
now able to detect the enemies presence and position ourselves to
wage a more victorious warfare!

By Dr. J.C. Matthews, Senior Pastor of Dunamis Life Ministries and Chancellor of The International Kingdom Institute; and a dear friend, in Christ!

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