Written by Dawn Rutan
For some time now I’ve been thinking about enemies, though probably not the way some people do. In reading through the Psalms in the past, I’ve tended to think that the many references to enemies don’t really apply to us. Most of us don’t have someone actively trying to kill us. But when we remember that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12 ESV), it’s clear that we do have an enemy working against us and seeking to destroy us (1 Peter 5:8).
That reality brings greater meaning and encouragement from verses such as these:
- Psalm 59:10 – “My God in His steadfast love will meet me; God will let me look in triumph on my enemies.”
- Psalm 92:11 – “My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies; my ears have heard the doom of my evil assailants.”
- Psalm 143:12 – “And in Your steadfast love You will cut off my enemies, and You will destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for I am Your servant.”
Charles Stanley makes this comment in his book Handle with Prayer:
As Satan sows seeds of disunity throughout the church, many of God’s people find themselves in conflict with each other. These conflicts are usually never resolved because nobody deals with the real enemy—Satan. There is no way to win a battle if we don’t know who our enemy is. And because our real enemy is a spiritual being, the only way we can really deal with him is on our knees.
The same principle applies to all sorts of conflict, from family discord to war in the Middle East. All conflict can be traced back to the roots of sin caused by the tempter. It may take some effort to retrain our thinking, because we’re so used to blaming people for everything that happens. That’s not to absolve people from all sin, but to give a little more grace to those who irritate us even though they are doing the best they can. It’s easy to let little things ruin our day when they don’t have to. It would be a far better use of our time and energy to pray for someone (whether a child, coworker or congressman) than to gripe about them, but that doesn’t come naturally.
Whatever shape our battles take in this life, petty squabbles or all-out war, we know that the real enemy has already been defeated through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Sin and death no longer have the victory, and one day we will be able to look in triumph on the enemy. Easter is a vital reminder of “the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might that He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come” (Ephesians 1:19-21).
May this Easter be a celebration of our freedom in Christ and His victory over the enemy!
“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” –Hebrews 2:14-15