Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Are You Studying the Enemy?

A few months ago a friend suggested a book to me. I won’t put the title, but it was about the enemy and learning to defeat him. Without hesitation, I ordered it, but when I went to read it, I could not make myself stay focused long enough to get through any of it (and that is very unusual for me). It has been sitting on the nightstand in my bedroom until yesterday, and now it is in the trash can. I’ll go into that a little further in a minute…

The other day I saw another friend post a book they are reading about the enemy, and it hit me. I became so convicted about “studying the enemy” that I threw away the book sitting on my nightstand.  I wanted to share what I have realized through some prayer about this specific issue and hopefully it encourage you while shedding some light on the topic.

I am a pretty big time reader (as I’m sure you can tell from my extensive vocabulary and excellent grammar, right? hahah!!), but over the last few months the Lord has really laid it on my heart to chill out (a little) on reading all of these other books and DIG into the Word. Read the Bible, memorize Scripture, study it, pray it, and read it some more with a hungry heart & desire to be filled with truth. Books are great, & I highly recommend that if you aren’t already, for you to become a reader. (Don’t buy the “lie” that you don’t like to read.) But here is what I know, friends. The BIBLE is our ultimate source. It is the living, infallible, convicting, sharper than a double edged sword, WORD of God. It is our instruction manual and a love letter from Him to us. It is a remedy for every issue we face and a prescription for every ailment. It can give us direction, teach us about leadership, marriage, parenting, finances, and trials. It will teach us how to live like Christ, even in a fallen world.

So here’s the deal.

Make no mistake. We DO have an enemy, and it is important to be aware of him. He is described in John 10:10 as a thief who wants to kill, steal, and destroy. 1 Peter 5:8 describes him as a roaring lion prowling around looking for someone to devour. I am convinced he specifically wants to attack marriages because that will wreak havoc on families and churches, all of which are so dear to the Lord. So yes, he is there, and we must be aware that we are facing an enemy. Ephesians 6 talks about our enemy…

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[c] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

However, I think it is unwise to try to study his tactics.

I know some of these books are written by some big names in the Christian community. And I haven’t read the books, so I am not saying that there is false information in them. But, I believe when we read them, we are focusing on the WRONG thing. In this case, I think the best defense is a great offense. Rather than studying the enemies schemes, we should focus on efforts on getting to know the know the TRUTH. Getting to know our loving Savior. Getting to know his Word, and knowing the truth so well, that we immediately recognize the lies and attacks of the enemies. (I know this is kinda deep, so I hope you’re following me here.)

I know I’ve shared this analogy before,  but I think it’s worth sharing here because it’s so applicable to this topic. In other cultures, children are taught how to run the family business from an early age. When teaching their children to recognize counterfeit money, they do so by having them study REAL money so very well would immediately recognize a fake.

The same thing is true with what Jonathan and I do in our business. We are in nutrition, but rather than giving people a huge list and teaching them the things they CAN’T eat, we help them focus on, study, & learn to prepare the foods they should be eating.

I also know some people that say things when they’re praying like “Get behind me, Satan.” Friends, I believe it is DANGEROUS to talk to the enemy. Do not even give him a foothold. If you feel him attacking you in some way, pray God’s Word and know the victory has already been won. No weapon formed against you shall prosper.

Doesn’t that make more sense? Don’t focus on the lie…the enemy…or the list of rules. Focus on the TRUTH. Developing a deeper relationship with the Savior and get to know him better. It’s not about rules, it’s about the freedoms you’ll have by being under the umbrella of protection God gives to those in his will.

So…Here is the good news! The Bible clear lays out for us how to defend ourselves against the enemy in those remaining verses of Ephesians 6. We must arise EACH morning and put on the full armor of God. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—

I hope that wasn’t confusing.

I know that’s a lot and I’m not sure that I got it out quite the way I wanted. But my whole point is this. Don’t study the enemy or his tactics. Know you have an enemy, and defeat him by saturating yourself with the TRUTH of God’s Word.