The Enemy

Satan

Satan has declared War on us. Some people, even some Christians, get frustrated and bothered by “the battle” language used by the Band of Brothers’ ministry. Yet the Bible often uses battle language to describe our struggle. For example, the Bible teaches that Satan, “the god of this evil world,” declared war against “all who keep God’s commandments and confess they belong to Jesus.” (Rev. 12:17) And God said to Satan after the fall of Adam and Eve that, “From now on you [Satan] and the woman will be enemies. Your offspring and her offspring will be enemies.” (Gen. 3:15) We have an enemy whose “purpose is to kill and steal and destroy” us. (John 10:10) So as disciples of Christ, we are being attacked! “Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy.” (1 Pet. 5:8) So we are warned to put on the armor of God, “For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.” (Eph. 6:12)

This life is not easy – and there is an obvious reason – we have an Enemy and we are in a War!

Standing Firm against Satan and His Demons. It is important to understand the strategies of the Enemy. Satan is referred to in the Bible as the “great accuser.” (Rev. 12:11) The very name “Satan” in the old testament means “accuser.” Satan is “a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44) His greatest weapon is to bombard us with lies and condemnation about how worthless we are and how hopeless are our circumstances. In other words, Satan constantly condemns us. His core strategy, similar to his assault on Adam and Eve, is to lie to us so that we will question God’s good intentions towards us. Satan wants us to believe that God does not have our best interests at heart and that we need to take control of our lives and our well-being.

Satan will do everything he can to convince us that we have no special place or unique identity. God the Father revealed Jesus’ glorious identity to the world when he pronounced, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:17) After this, Jesus went into the wilderness to face the accuser. Satan tried to plant a seed of doubt and he mocked Jesus’ God-given identity by beginning his temptations with, “If you are the Son of God….” How did Jesus always respond? By raising up his “sword.” He responded with the truth from “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph. 6:17) Jesus did not send warring angels to his rescue, which He had the power to do: “Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly,” Jesus proclaimed? “But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled …?” (Matt. 26:53) So the most effective way to fight against the Accuser is to do what Jesus did – He wielded the power of the sword by speaking the truth from the Word.

Swinging our Swords. Satan will try to do the same with us – challenging our true identity and our glorious heritage as brothers of Christ. He will lie to us constantly. So how do we respond? With the truth from the Word of God – for “the truth will set us free.” Whereas Satan’s greatest weapon is lies and deception, our greatest weapon is the sword of truth from the Word of God. Yes, Satan will bombard our minds, but we can “stand firm” against “the accuser” by “fixing our thoughts on what is true, and honorable and right…” and “the God of peace will be with us.” (Phil. 4:8-9) Because our mind is the great battleground in this War, we are instructed to “take captive every thought” and to bring each thought under submission to Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5 NIV) Of course this is “easier said than done!” As men, we are constantly confronted with images and temptations that arouse our flesh. We are fearful, tired, and thirsty. And we are tempted to seek worldly power and wealth. That is why it is essential to have other brothers in our foxholes who will fight with and for us with honesty, humility, truth, and grace. We were not meant to do this alone!

No reason to fear Satan. We now have the power of the Spirit in us: “The One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4 NIV) Therefore, we have the choice to stand strong against any temptation, condemnation, or discouraging thoughts that come our way. “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) As Christ’s disciples, Satan is not worthy of our fear or even our focus in this war! A great offensive against Satan is not our primary mission. We should not let Satan distract us from our primary mission which is to love God and love others. Remember, we have the Spirit of God in us – the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. For “God did not give us a Spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Tim. 1:7) So followers of Christ need not fear Satan. In fact, the picture given to us in the book of Isaiah, after Satan is finally thrown into the fiery pit, is one of dismay as the veil is removed and we finally see our enemy face to face: “Everyone there will stare at [Satan] and ask, ‘Can this be the one who shook the earth and the kingdoms of the world? Is this the one who destroyed the world and made it into a wilderness? Is this the king who demolished the world’s greatest cities and had no mercy on his prisoners’?” (Isaiah 14:16-17) In other words, “You’ve got to be kidding?” “Why did we ever fear such an enemy when we had God on our side?”

Although there is no need to fear Satan, we must never underestimate his power of deception. We must stand firm against the accuser’s lies, condemnation, discouragement, and temptations so that we are not taken out from our primary mission. And the best way to stand firm is to pick up our swords and speak the Biblical truths against Satan’s fiery arrows of lies.

Satan has no power over death. Rest assured that Satan does not have the power over life and death! “For only as a human being could [Jesus] die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death.” (Heb. 2:14) But no more! We will not die until our time has come as determined by our Sovereign King. So there is no need to fear death, because as disciples of Christ, we will not die until our work for Him is finished. And we will not die until we have lived out the mission for which we were created! “...And they were not afraid to die.”

“And the Saints overcame the accuser because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of their testimony. And they were not afraid to die.” (Rev. 12:11)

The World

“Yet true religion with contentment is great wealth. After all, we didn’t bring anything with us when we came into the world, and we certainly cannot carry anything with us when we die. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil. And some people craving money have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6:6-10

Being distracted from our mission by the World. Last but not least, we are warned that the lure of power and money and the other pursuits of the world can distract us from living out the glorious mission for which we were created. This is especially true for men. For the good message “is crowded out by the cares of this life and the lure of wealth, so no crop is produced.” (Matt. 13:22)

It is so easy for men to believe the lie that achieving wordly success and money will lead to contentment and peace. Many proclaim, “If I only had plenty of money, then I wouldn’t have any real problems – The pressure would be off!” Why is it then, that the Bible warns us about the landmine of money more than any other issue that can take us out as warriors for Christ?

In one study several years ago, young stock brokers on Wall Street who earned around $140,000 consumed on average 1 1/2 alcoholic drinks a day; they used marijuana, cocaine or heroin about 2 ½ times a week; they smoked around 30 cigarattes a day, and they had trouble sleeping. The brokers who made the most money struggled the most emotionally. Another study showed that people who came upon quick wealth in the DotCom years were very likely to be clinically depressed and to feel like life had no meaning. We believe that money will solve our problems. The great disappointment and depression comes when money does not solve any of our real problems. Where is the peace that was supposed to follow riches? True peace never comes as a result of weath. The Bible teaches this lesson over and over again. But this is one warning that we often refuse to take seriously.

“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” The Pharisees, who dearly loved their money, naturally scoffed at all this. Then he said to them, “You like to look good in public, but God knows your evil hearts. What this world honors is an abomination in the sight of God.”

Money is a moving target. It never feels like enough. And its claws won’t let go. Of course money can be used for good. Wise men brought their wealth to the Christ child; Zacchaeus gave ½ of his wealth to the poor; wealthy women helped support Jesus and the band of disciples; and Paul lists “giving” as a spiritual gift. But too often we use the “lack of money” as an excuse to not engage in the battle for Christ. But God does not need our money; He desires our hearts and our commitment to Him.

Money, per se, is not evil, but the Bible teaches that the “love of money” is the root of all kinds of evil. So when does money become the object of our affection – our idol – our God? How much time to we spend thinking of money or the pursuit of money? What relationships do we sacrifice in order to make more money? Do we place our security in how much money we have in our bank account? How hard is it to give money away? These and other questions are very important to ponder and to take honestly before our King.

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We Few, We Happy Few, We Band of Brothers. ~Henry V

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