The Enemy: 4 Things You Need to Know
It started with one simple question:
Have you ever experienced spiritual warfare?
This question was asked by a university professor to his students. It was this question, or more specifically their answer, that spurred this seasoned professor to deeper levels of curiosity and study.
And it’s the essence of this question that provoked me to mine the Scriptures regarding an often overlooked topic.
To the professor’s surprise, the overwhelming response from his students was, “No. I have never experienced spiritual warfare.“
I believe for many of us, the response would be similar. We haven’t heard voices, seen visions, or had levitating objects in our homes. But when I started to study and reflect on my own experiences, I realized it’s time we rethink what our answer should be.
Why does it matter? What does our understanding of spiritual warfare have to do with our lives? Everything!! Our sense of peace and productivity, our calling, our marriages, our kids.…They all hinge on whether we follow the loving and liberating voice of our heavenly Father, or follow the father of lies.
That’s why Peter said, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Did you see that? Not the adversary, not an adversary. YOUR adversary the devil.
And while volumes could be written, I have four very simple words to help us understand our enemy. Knowing and walking in light of these four words positions us to rise above his schemes.
Our enemy is a:
Tempter: Have you ever considered temptation a form a spiritual warfare? The Bible says Jesus was tempted by the devil (Matt. 4:1). Matthews 4:3 plainly calls him the tempter. The one who tempted Jesus is who tempts you and me. The enemy knows when we disobey God, our intimacy with God (and others) suffers, our peace and power weaken, and we position ourselves in his path of deception and destruction.
Opportunist: Following the temptation of Jesus, the Devil departed UNTIL a more opportune time (Luke 4:13). Isn’t that fascinating? I’ve noticed it is when I step out to do something for the kingdom, I sense a certain yet intangible heaviness, a weight….a resistance. It may appear in the form of emotional weakness and doubt, relational conflict, or mental vexation. The enemy, in his craftiness, seeks out the opportune times to enter.
Liar: Packaged in the temptations of the enemy are lies. John 8:44 says the devil is “A liar and the father of lies.” So when considering spiritual warfare, let’s not think of daggers, dragon, and swords, but know the enemy attacks our mind with lies, and we MUST cling to GOD’S TRUTH.
Limited: Standing against the enemy’s schemes centers in knowing Satan is no match for God. We need not fear, cower, or relinquish when we sense the enemy’s ploys, His power is LIMITED!! We can follow the model of Jesus who boldly refuted the tempter’s lies with TRUTH.
The Devil: Tempter, Opportunist, Liar, Limited (as an acronym, T.O.L.L.).
Remember these four words, share them with your friends, your children… and the next time you’re feeling heaviness, temptation, or resistance, know it may be your adversary. So stand strong, knowing when we submit to God, and resist the devil, he will flee (James 4:7)!