Who is Our Enemy?
Who is Our Enemy?
Most Christians agree that there is an enemy and his name is Satan. They know he is the origin for wickedness and evil and a host of atrocities happening throughout history and he is called by many titles. Rev. 12:9
There is another enemy mentioned in the Bible. This is referred to in scripture as 'the flesh'. John 3:6 What is the flesh? Though the Bible does at times refer to 'the flesh' as our skin and blood and bones .. There is also another meaning for 'the flesh'. 'The flesh' is 'the total person living outside of God's will and apart from God's guiding influence through His Spirit.' Rom. 8:5. We can even approach our Christianity in 'the flesh'. We can pray, preach, teach, go to church, read the Bible, fast, tithe, etc. and do it alll in the flesh. We can become fanatically religious in 'the flesh'.
So, how is this flesh able to control or even influence the believer? 'The flesh' begins it's work in our thought patterns and our actions, and is at work over our lifetime. 'The flesh' has a victim mentality. 'The flesh' is a way of thinking that leads to failure. Failure comes from making bad decisions and bad decisions come from allowing our emotions to rule over us. 'The flesh' is the mechanism used to get our needs met apart from God and it is selfish and self centered. 'The flesh' is manipulative as wants it's way. Eph. 2:3
Once, we are reborn, the desire to do things our own way and get things accomplished in our own strength, does not vanish. There is no 'delete' button for our former way of thinking and acting. Rom. 12:2
However, once reborn, there is now placed within us a desire to think and act in the spirit. 'The flesh' still opposes the things of God and a battle is waged for our souls, while we are on this earth. Just as our spirits are in agreement with God and the things of God, our flesh is in agreement with the devil and the things of the devil. Rom. 7:23-25
There is only one way and one way only to conquer the flesh and that is by the Word of God. No message nor word from man truly has the power to change your life from the inside out, but the Word of God. Once we believe, receive and act on the Word of God, we will begin to see changes in our selves, in our lives. If we do not see and experience improvement in our lives, we must judge ourselves and our thoughts. More than likely, we have a stronghold in our mind preventing us from experiencing God's best. 1 Tim. 4:6, Luke 11:28, Acts 20:32, 1 Thes. 2:13, Heb. 4:12
The enemy of our inheritance is not the devil, it is 'the flesh'. The devil cannot stop us from walking in the spirit if we choose to walk in the spirit. He can only tempt us to walk in 'the flesh'. And God's Word says that we cannot be in both 'the flesh' and 'the spirit', and we must choose which way we want to go. Rom. 8:9
Though Jesus has told us that 'the flesh' profits us nothing, we are still tempted to walk in 'the flesh'. Why would we want to do something that is not going to profit us in any way? Because, our old way of thinking is determined to have us believe that there is gain and profit in doing it our way. Over a lifetime, we have bought into the idea that our 'fleshly' actions have produced results and this is what is known as a stronghold in our minds. That if we do so and so this way, then we will accomplish so and so in the end. Our strongholds must be torn down and replaced with corrective thinking.
How does the devil manage to impose this stronghold in our mind? Many times, it begins when we are small. We begin as infants doing what we can to get results and we continue this behavior even into adulthood and beyond (not as we did as children but in a more 'grown up' style of manipulation). Later, as we grow up, this begins to manifest itself as manipulation and wrong motives and it becomes habitual behavior. Behavior that we barely think about and most label this as 'natural instincts' and find such behavior as the norm. We become self-centered in our desires and even many of our actions.
The Word of God is able to find and conquer all strongholds in our lives. 2 Corinth. 10:3-5. These verses say that what we are truly fighting is in the spiritual realm and we cannot defeat the spiritual realm with our natural minds. We have to battle the opposition (that can even arise in our own flesh) with our spirits. We have to attack spiritual with spiritual. All evil attacks come from the devil. When we attack the spiritual with the flesh, we are defeated and this is what Satan desires to happen when he works to train up our flesh in his ways.
God desires us to renew our minds and judge ourselves and keep a close watch on our thought-life, so that His Word can begin to transform our minds and our souls into His express image. It is our job to keep His Word treasured in our hearts. Psalm 119:11. We must understand His Word. Proverbs 4:7. We must seek His Word. Hosea 4:6 And all with the help of the Holy Spirit. Luke 11:13