Identifying the Enemy

I’m sorry to say it’s not a very happy 240th birthday for our nation. More Islamic terror attacks – here and abroad. Paris, Brussels, Chattanooga, San Bernardino, and more recently, 49 killed in Orlando and 42 killed in Istanbul, with over 200 injured. Ok, whose fault is it this time? Where will we shift the blame? To guns? To mental illness? To right-wing media? To left-wing media? To climate change? You may recall that less than a week after the Islamic radicals attacked Paris, eight nations came together to talk about the real enemy, the real threat to the human race – climate change! Are you kidding me? We overlook the obvious enemy, and implicate a straw man. We refuse to acknowledge that a religion that has been making war for nearly 1500 years continues to act according to its nature (see Genesis 16.11-12, which speaks of the nature of Ishmael’s twelve sons and their descendants, which are the Arab/Muslim nations of today). Some in our country refuse to ever say Islam and terrorism in the same sentence, but they have no problem implicating the Bible, Christianity and God-established morality as causes of terrorism.

Why is it so important for us to recognize and pinpoint the enemy? It’s simple – you can’t fight and defeat an enemy you refuse to identify! It would be like trying to hit a target that you won’t take aim at.

But wait … have we truly identified the enemy? When we turn to God’s Word we learn that to identify our real enemy, we have to go beyond politics, beyond man-made religions or philosophies, beyond guns, mental illness, urban blight, immigration, poverty or any other supposed “cause.” The real enemy is the devil, Satan, the ancient serpent, the great red dragon (Rev 12.9), the deceiver of the whole world, our Adversary (1 Pet 5.8), “the spirit at work in the children of disobedience” (Eph 2.1-3), the “god of this world, who blinds the minds of those who do not believe” (2 Cor 4.4). He is the enemy behind every enemy, and SIN is his weapon and our root problem. That’s right, S-I-N. Not just the sins that our modern world loves to hate (prejudice, human rights violations, gun violence, pollution, etc), but the sins our modern world loves to love (fornication, adultery, homosexuality, filthy language, lies, slander, blasphemy, double standards, abortion). Do we believers also shy away from identifying these things as “sin” because of the pressure to be politically correct? Remember, we can’t fight and defeat an enemy we refuse to identify – that goes for the sins around us and within us (1 Pet 2.11)! If we refuse to identify the real enemy, we cannot and will not overcome that enemy.

Finally, the inspired apostle said, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph 6.12). See, our fight is not AGAINST people, it is FOR people! We are fighting the spiritual enemy to free people from sin’s control and enslavement (John 8.31-36; Rom 6). Church, know your enemy!

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