The Psalmist declares, “The enemy hath persecuted my soul.” With this statement we are forced to ask ourselves, “Who is the enemy?” When you can identify the enemy, you can best recognize his tactics and defend yourself against their attacks. But again, who is the enemy?
I seems best to first recognize who is not the enemy. The enemy is not a person. Some may incorrectly identify their boss, spouse, neighbor, the lost or even disciples of other religions as their enemy. This may appear to be true, but is not. Remember, Paul said that we wrestle not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12). Therefore people will not and cannot ever be our true enemy.
Our enemy is a spiritual enemy. Ephesians 6:12 states, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” These spirit beings may be oppressing people to move against you and if so, they are the enemy and the individual is just their pawn. The boss who rides his employee because he is a Christian is not the enemy, but a tool used by the enemy. Those who attack believers by speaking lies, backbiting or spreading gossip are nothing more than the same. Children who depart from Christ and seek to attack their family for their beliefs are just tools in the enemy’s hand. Against earthly people, we cannot fight nor can we win because the battle is so vast. However we can fight against our true enemy.
Our method of warfare is prayer. We must pray to God against the true spiritual enemy. As God thwarts their wiles against you, the tools or pawns in their hands crumble. When we fight our battles in this manner and recognize that people in our lives are but tools in the enemy’s hand, it enables us to love our earthly opponents and to have empathy towards them. We marvel when we hear how a believer reaches out to people in this manner. We think them to be spiritual giants, but all they simple have that we may not is the spiritual insight to recognize who the enemy really is.
As you fight your way through your battles today, make sure that you do it on your knees. It is there that the true enemy is defeated.
Many years ago, I served in a prison ministry to the Spanish speaking population. I remember needing clearance to enter the facility and to make it to where the bible study would be held required that I pass a few check points. I needed to have my picture taken and on each visit, I was required to empty the contents of my pockets. The prison staff did this to make sure that all the inmates stayed within the prison and none would escape. For me, it was nothing to walk in and out of prison, but for the inmates it was a different story.
However, I must say that I myself have been held in prison on many occasions. As the Psalmist, my soul too was in prison (Psalm 142:7). It was not held with iron bars, but instead with the trials or circumstances of life. My spirit was shrouded in and my soul was bound within the walls of my troubled circumstances. Most people did not care to even take a second look at my circumstances and of the few that did, there was little that they could do to help. Escaping the circumstances or finding refuge was impossible (Psalm 142:4). My only deliverance could come from God and he would only move in his time.
Eventually deliverance came but in a manner other than what I expected. Instead of God delivering my life from the circumstances created by others, he delivered my soul through the circumstances. As men of war could take refuge in a strong tower, my soul was able to take refuge in God. His word delivered me from fear to comfort. His presences strengthen me from worry to hope and his promises broke the chains binding my soul and gave me liberty. The circumstances in life were very much the same, but my spirit and soul found refuge in God.
While in the midst of trials, continue to seek after God by searching his word and lifting your heart before him in prayer. You too can experience this deliverance from a trial while still in the trial. When you do, God will be exalted in your eyes and you will be compelled to praise him before men.
Recently I spoke with a man whose wife had just called to say that she was leaving him. Needless to say, he was distraught and angry. As I witnessed his hurt and anger, I asked myself, “Why do people who are supposed to love you, hurt you on purpose?” Do they really hurt you purposefully or are they doing what they want to do, but know that their actions will bring you hurt? I pondered this thought and considered my relationship with God. I do not hurt God purposefully, but I know that my sin does hurt him. When I fall to the temptation of sin, I cease regarding God and how my actions will affect him. As I am drawn away by my flesh, I am only concerned of my self.
But then, God in his mercy is willing to forgive me. Why? He has every right to act in hurt and anger, but he chooses not to. Many will say that he acts this way because of Jesus’ blood and they are right. But with his foreknowledge of how I would act, why did he still choose such a plan to enable him to be forgiving? He could rightly have said, that man’s heart is wicked and that even with being purchased from sin, adopted into his family and fellowship with himself established, he would continue to willfully sin. Therefore, I will not redeem man and instead allow him to plummet into an awful judgment. And yet, he chose not to. Why?
The only possible explanation is that God’s love for me is of greater importance to him than avoiding the hurt that I will bring because of my continual disobedience. Does anybody else love you in this manner? Do you love anyone this way? Oh, what a wonderful God we know and serve. His love is endless and because of it his mercy is renewed everyday. Stop today and ponder this wonderful love and the person who loves you with such endless love.