Dealing with enemies

Exodus 23:22 “But if you . . . do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.”

The Bible talks a lot about our enemies. Do you realize that you have some? God warns us often about them in His Word. Usually, when we think about enemies our thoughts may turn to such things as the enemies of our country, such as Isis or in the past, the Nazis. Perhaps we think about those of other political ideologies as our enemies. Maybe it’s a person who has harmed us or our family in some way. However, the Bible warns us that our primary enemy in all the world, one that is an enemy to every person on the face of the earth, is one that Peter called “your enemy, the devil” who “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (I Peter 5:8).”

The Bible not only tells us who our enemy is, it also exposes his weapons, which are lies. Jesus called Satan “a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44).” His lies are called “arguments” and “lofty opinions raised against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5).” He first used his lies against Eve in Eden, questioning the Word of God with “Did God really say?” and “You won’t surely die” if you eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He always works to cast doubt on the Word of God and to promise things that are directly contrary to its truths. He is a master at “half-truths” when all half-truths are, in reality, nothing more than lies. He even tried lies on Jesus when he tempted him in the wilderness with promises of glory and blessing if Jesus would just worship him.

The devil lies to us in many ways, typically through people and means that he has infiltrated with his deceptions. He tells us money is the ultimate means to happiness, or he entices us to think that it will be better for us to get involved in sexual sin that is in conflict with the only sexual relationship God has ordained, i.e., that between a husband and a wife, for life. He lies to us through false religions that tell us that our natures are wonderful and good and we need only discover the good that is already within us to have a wonderful life. Another lie is that we can somehow gain favor with God if we do this or that religious practice, eat (or not eat) this or that food, pray this or that prayer, or give money to some cause, etc., etc.

The Bible calls itself a weapon, a sword (Ephesians 6:17), that is designed to demolish Satan’s lies. God desires that we fill our minds with it and equip our self with his Truth as the antidote to the lies that are means to divert us, entice us, blind us, and dupe us into self-destructive choices and lifestyles. Jesus told us – and he rebuked the devil – with these words: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).”

Victory over the enemy of our souls is available to us if we simply heed God’s words. Just as he told Israel in Exodus 23 above, we are to carefully obey him and do all that he says. We have an enemy who wants to kill us, steal from us, and destroy us (John 10:10), and we have the choice to either listen to his lies, or to listen to and obey the Truth of the One who has come that we “may have life, and have it abundantly.”

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