Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Word Study Wednesday: Know Your Enemy

Ephesians 6:12 "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (NIV)

"If you're not popular in Hell, then there's something wrong," my minister said one night. I laughed, but the impact of that statement has stayed with me for several years. Why? Because if our enemy, satan, is not battling us, then we are not a threat to him. If we are not a threat, then we, as Christians are not doing what God has called us to do.

Last year, my enemy attacked. Weird things happened. Illness, depression, nightmares, and falling down a flight of stairs all within a few months. Worse yet, these attacks were not limited to me. My family experienced illness and nightmares as well (except for the youngest).

I reached out to several friends - one of them a minister. After explaining every crazy thing happening to my family and me, he asked if I had done anything or made any decisions affecting my spiritual life. DING! I realized then that my spiritual awakening and decision to begin writing for the glory of God led to these attacks. My friend reminded me to put on the full armor of God - the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with the readiness from the gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (my friend Robbie has started a series on the armor of God. Click here to read the first installment). I also prayed. I prayed by myself, I prayed with my children, I prayed with my friends. I prayed with anyone who would pray with me. I walked throughout my house and read scripture out loud (thanks to a suggestion from another close friend). I also became angry. I didn't shy away from the battle. After several weeks, things returned to normal - a new, more aware normal.

Our enemy doesn't just attack in large, noticeable ways. He also uses subtle battles to his advantage. For example: yes, I decided to write again, but how long did it take me to create a blog or attempt my first article? Longer than it should have. I allowed distractions. I permitted negative thoughts. I didn't look to God during these times and the enemy won - temporarily. Or rather, he postponed defeat.

Our enemy comes to "...steal, kill, and destroy" (John 10:10) and will use whatever means necessary to carry out his plans. But, God is greater. God is the Almighty. He will:
" you from the fowler's snare and from the
deadly pestilence. 4He will cover you with his feathers and
under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and
rampart. 5You will not fear the terror of night, nor the
arrow that flies by day, 6nor the pestilence that stalks in
the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday..."
(Psalm 91: 3 - 6)

It is extremely important to know our enemy. I guarantee you he knows us - every weakness, every fear, every button to push. We need to know his so that we are prepared to battle. Our Commander has the plan. Follow it and don't forget your armor.


Robbie Iobst said...

Amen and Amen, Jo! GREAT POST!!

Joanna said...

Thank you, Robbie.

smithsk said...

Robbie recommended your blog on FB. I'm so glad I read it. It is a great encouragement. Susan

Rebeca said...

Wow, I have just come out of and am going through something very similar right now! Thanks, Joanna! When it was really intense I had to play Christian music constantly or the enemy would be a pest. We can't forget that we are in a battle-ever.

denise said...

Yep. I like this. It speaks to my situation and I needed the reminder.
You worked your fingers to the bone writing this and the results are worth it.
Thanks Jo.