Knowing the Enemy
Tuesday - February 1st
Scripture to Read Today: Ephesians 2:1-10
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
One of my fondest memories of my little brother, Troy, happened when he played in a funny kindergarten basketball game. The game took place during halftime of a varsity high school game at the Christian school we attended at the time. Somehow the school made a halftime fundraiser out of a short ten-minute game between two halves of the varsity game.
The biggest laugh of the night came at the outset of the game. In the chaos of the tip-off, Troy ended up with the ball and drove to the basket (which had been appropriately lowered). He even made the basket. However, what was obvious to all, except for Troy, was that he made a basket for the other team.
We all watched as Troy dribbled the ball (dribbling is a bit of an exaggeration) toward the basket with his own team trying to stop him. He even had to push his teammates aside to make the shot. His determination to score the first basket with a lack of awareness of which basket he was driving toward and how his team tried to stop him left the crowd laughing out loud.
Completely unaware of his mistake, Troy ran down the court after his big score like he was Lebron James after making the game-tying shot in the final seconds of an NBA Championship. His 5-year-old swagger added to the laughs. It was so great! To this day, Troy makes some excuse about why he made that basket for the other team.
Troy failed to recognize his opposition, adding to the elements that shaped his big, funny mistake. While it was funny with Troy, it isn't funny when we fail to recognize our opposition as Christians. The Bible identifies three of our enemies as we seek to live and love like Jesus: 1) the world, 2) the flesh, and 3) the devil.
In Ephesians 2:1-2, the Apostle Paul describes how spiritually dead we were before we came to Christ. He says that positionally, we were dead in our trespasses and sins. He then says we lived out the proof of that deadness when we "followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air." Notice that Paul mentions two of the enemies of the Christian - the world and the devil.
Paul knows how important it is to understand the opposition to our Christian lives. We need to name the enemies we face. Later in Ephesians chapter six, the Apostle will tell us we should not give place in our lives for the devil to get a stronghold. We need to understand that the devil will do all he can to distract us from getting to know Christ and living for Him daily. Satan wants to distract us from what God says should be our focus - knowing Christ and living like Him.
Today, recognize that the world's philosophies, the drives of our flesh, and the opposition of Satan are real.
Ask God to help you remain aware of the enemy and ask Him to protect you from the devil's attacks!