The Real, Spiritual Enemies of the Christian Life
You have enemies. Plenty of them. They are real, and they are worth your attention. But, they aren’t who you think they are.
Your enemies are not the people:
thinkruin all your plans
- Who really get under your skin (and they know it)
- You let rob you of your joy
- Gossiping behind your back
- You take your subtle digs at
makeyou roll your eyes
- You look down on
- Who have hurt you or those you love
- You are waiting to unleash your anger towards
- You are dreaming of revenge against
Those people? Yeah, not your enemies. Not really. At least not the ones you should spend any time at all fighting against. Those enemies, the ones that receive your anger, they actually deserve your love.
After all, didn’t Jesus say, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44) Yes, yes He did say that.
So, don’t make this harder than it needs to be. Don’t try to justify your hard heart. Don’t even think about convincing yourself that revenge will be sweet and that you will be vindicated.
Just, love those people.
Your Real Enemies
Because, the truth is that you have enemies that are actually worth your time. You can’t see them, you’ve often ignored them, but they are there. They are spiritual in nature, and their number is three: Sin, Death, and the Devil.
You don’t often give these enemies much thought. You don’t think they’re worth your time. But, take the advice of Mark Twain who once said of Satan, “We may not pay him reverence…but we can at least respect his talents.” Satan is your real enemies. He’s lying to you. Deceiving you. Tempting you. And He’s good at his job. But, while you’re off dreaming of revenge against those you should be loving, he is going about his work unencumbered. Satan loves it when you forget him. Sin also reigns free when it’s forgotten.
I think the reason you spend so much more time and energy on the enemies you should be loving is that with them you feel in control. With your earthly enemies, you can exact revenge. You think you have some power over them. You can tell your earthly enemies off. You can take your subtle digs. You can ignore them or lob potshots towards them.
But, spiritual enemies are much harder to fight. And sometimes you feel totally powerless against them. After all, you’ve told God you’ll stop sinning, but you can’t seem to quit. You’ve fallen for all the devil’s lies. And one day, death will knock on your door too. When it comes to your real enemies, you feel powerless, afraid, and helpless.
Victory Over Your Enemies
But, never forget that you have Jesus. He brought you victory from the cross and empty tomb. And one day, believe it or not, He is coming again. And on that day your victory will be complete. Sin, death, and the devil will be defeated once and for all. The battle will be won.
But, until then, love your earthly enemies. Give them the kindness and compassion and mercy that you’d like to receive. And then fight your battles against your real enemies, the unseen ones, with all the confidence that the war has been won and the victory will be yours. Trust that Jesus has
Remember who your real enemies are. Don’t forget that Jesus has defeated them. Then love everyone else.