Updated: Mar 23, 2022
RECOGNIZE THE ENEMY SO YOU CAN DEFEAT HIM
Right now it seems that there are conflicts everywhere we turn. We have an enemy that works to divide and conquer. Before our eyes people are being divided and turned against each other—man vs woman, black vs white, husband vs wife, republican vs democrat, state vs federal, masked vs unmasked, vaxxed vs unvaxxed . . . and on and on and on. We are becoming fragmented and distrustful; cautious to share our thoughts out loud for fear of what others might think. There is a battle taking place and we tend to blame PEOPLE for the conflict. We think they are "the enemy" because we can see them and hear them.
But we are focusing our anger and frustration on the wrong "enemy." We look at the person or the people who frustrate or anger us. God says to look deeper - beyond the person we see in front of us to the real enemy.
The battle os very real, and it's important for us to know who the really enemy is and how to fight him.
In 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 KJV Paul reminds us who our REAL enemies is and how to defeat them:
"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through
God to the pulling down of strongholds;) Casting down imaginations,
and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God,
and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."
There is a battle taking place with enemies we cannot see in the physical. Our war is not with "flesh and blood" (people) but with spiritual forces who have established strongholds. We are told these spiritual forces are "high things" that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God. This is referring to 1/3 of God's created angelic beings who followed the angel Lucifer (who is now called Satan) in rebellion and were cast out of heaven.
Isaiah 14:12-15, Ezekiel 28:1-26, Luke 10:18, Reveation 12:10) We must learn to look deeper; to look past the person we see in the physical to the really enemy (Satan) who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy every life, every relationship.
Where is the battle taking place?
In the minds of each man and woman. In your mind. In mine. What we THINK affects how we FEEL, and determines the direction our lives will go.
"As a man thinks in his heart, so he is." Proverbs 23:7
So what am I to do? How do I fight this enemy I cannot see—the one who attempts to gain territory in my mind and set up strongholds?
I've understood for a long time that there is a battle taking place in my mind. And I knew I was suppose to cast down imaginations and take control of my thinking. But recently I learned something I hadn't realized before.
After looking at the wording in the Greek I've realized that the NIV used an unfortunate choice of words. In the last line of the NIV translation it says, "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient TO Christ." This is actually incorrect. In this case the King James version captures the true meaning of the Greek—and one tiny word makes all the difference! KJV/Greek translation says: "bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience OF Christ;"
OF Christ instead of TO Christ. . .
What a difference one tiny word makes!!!!
Obedience TO Christ puts the focus on me and what I do,
Obedience OF Christ puts the focus on Christ's sacrifice —and to my Father's love exhibited by sending Him to die on the cross on my behalf.
In the past I worked hard;
I tried and tried to bring EVERY. SINGLE. THOUGHT in line with God's Word. It was EXHAUSTING and sometimes very defeating. But now when I recognize a thought from the enemy, I bring that thought captive and remind myself that this thought is captive to Christ's obedience on my behalf.
For example, let's say I reacted to a family member in an unkind way and I apologize and make it right. Later the conversation keeps rolling around in my head— I keep thinking "How could I have done that? What kind of Christian am I? I should have said or done that differently! My thoughts make me feel guilt or shame even after I've apologized. That is torment from the enemy!
God tells me I can choose to bring a thought to the obedience of Christ. To His death on cross. Because of His death for me I no longer have to feel guilt or shame. God's word tells me there is therefore now no condemnation for me because I am in Christ. (Romans 8:1) So when the tormenting "should haves" or "how could I haves?" try to occupy my mind, I am to cast it down. I don't have to strain or try hard to do so. Rather, I shift my thoughts to Christ's obedience and visualize that sin at the cross. Jesus has me covered. Every sin I would ever commit was already acknowledged and forgiven at the cross. For me there is no guilt. No shame. In fact, if I continue to nurse guilt and shame I'm actually telling Jesus His death on the cross wasn't enough to cover that sin!
As long as I'm in this world I know I will continue to make mistakes—and sometimes I will deliberately disobey. But Christ's obedience was perfect—once and for all of us! So now I shift my focus from myself and my own attempts at obedience, and instead I focus on what He did for me though His obedience. Recognizing God's love for me, I find my heart full of gratefulness. The enemy simply cannot stand to be in the presence of the love of God, and He flees.
What a difference that has made in my life! Through Jesus' sacrifice and the shedding of His perfect, sinless blood, He made me completely righteous in God's eyes. [in perfect right standing] When He died He covered Every. Single. Sin. When He died, every sin I would ever commit was still in the future. He saw them all and died for each one 2000 years ago.
Now when thoughts come to battle in my mind, I take that thought to the cross of Christ, reminding Satan of the battle that was won for me there. Then I change my thoughts and focus on His perfect love and His beautiful gift of grace — God's undeserved, unearned, unmerited favor.
Join me for Part 2: Winning the Battle- Recognize His Strategy