Know ourself and know our real enemy. Sun Tzu, in the Art of War, said that if we know our enemy and ourself we do not need to fear the result of a hundred battle, if we know ourself but not our enemy we may suffer defeat for every victory, and if we know neither ourself nor our enemy, we are sure to lose every battle. Where do we stand in these three categories?
Christians are in a battle. The moment we accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and started to live in God’s light, we are in constant battle with the devil. We are at war. We may not be able to see it as we are able to see physical war but we experience the effects and the evidence of it. When we lose the joy and desire to read God’s Word, when we suddenly find His Word dull and incomprehensible, when we lack the luster to serve God, when our love turns cold for others, when God’s truth becomes unappealing, when we rationalize that it is okay to give in to temptations, when we succumb to ideas and habits that do not please God, when we give in to addiction, and many, many more. Usually, it starts with a seed of thought in the mind. Then, when watered by disobedience and feeding of flesh, it buds and grows into a full grown sin. The enemy’s expertise is to attack the mind and make it first appear so enticing or innocent that we could easily rationalize that it is okay. Such is the battle we face every day. It is important, that as Christians, we are fully aware who our real enemy is. Our neighbor is not our enemy. Our churchmate isn’t too. Our Pastor, who may have preached about the sin we have been hiding all along, is not our enemy. The devil is our enemy. And the spiritual war we face is as real as we are. It is not fictitious. The Bible clearly says that the devil is our enemy.
Why is it important to know who we are and to know who our enemy is? Like what Sun Tzu said knowing onself and knowing the enemy is the key to victory in battle.
Who are we? When we received Christ in our hearts we become His children (John 1:12) and we become joint heirs with Christ if we suffered with Him (Romans 8:17). This truth is the very key in our fight against our enemy, Satan. Satan and his forces are defeated beings. They want to appear like beings of superpowers and they invoke fear, oppression, and bondage because their goal is to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). But by knowing who we are in Christ and by knowing the truth in Christ, Satan cannot control us or oppress us.
“Having stripped the principalities and the powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”– Colossians 2:15 (WEB)
The devil is real and he is actively at work. Our enemy is not flesh and blood. Our enemy are the powers, the rulers of the darkness, and the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”– Ephesians 6:10-12 (WEB)
We hear people being demonized or possessed by evil spirits. These are not fictitious stories because the Bible gives an account of a person being posessed by demons (Mark 5:1-19, Matthew 8:28-32). As a teacher, I had close experience with some students suddenly possessed by demons. Three times was when I was teaching in class. I remember one student suddenly cried out in panic that there are these “beings” surrounding her. Soon, 5-6 boys had to hold her down on the floor because her strength was overpowering. Another situation was when I was taking a break then suddenly some students, obviously looking for a teacher to help them, called me up upon seeing me in the room. They asked me to check on their classmate in the second floor. When I arrived, I saw the familiar scenario. Her classmates were all frightened and shocked while this student seemed to be violently hysteric inside the room. Her voice changed from that sweet teenage girl to a growling man’s voice. Some call it drama. Others call it a psychological behavior and discredit any link to demon possession. But, I believe, that it is obvious when it is a drama or when it is fake. For one, it is impossible to fake such great physical strength from a young teenage female body. So, I would really dismiss drama. As for chemical imbalance in the brain or a psychological factor, of course, it is very likely, but we should not also easily dismiss demonic possession. However, let us leave it to the people who are expert on that. So, what is the point? The point is, demonic forces are real. They may be seen in possessions and oppressions but they are also evident in our every day affairs in a much less obvious and subtle cirumstances if we are just keen of how the enemy works. The enemy can attack our health, our relationships, our habits, and generally, our way of thinking. So, we are asked to put on the whole armor of God so that we could stand against the wiles of the devil.
Because our enemy is not flesh and blood, we must also put an armor that is not flesh and blood. God counsels us in His Word to wear the COMPLETE ARMOR so that we can stand against the enemy. If we miss one part of the armor, we can never be ready or secured to face the enemy. Wear the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with the Good News of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and praying at all times in the Spirit and being watchful (Ephesians 6:13-18).
This is who we are in Christ and this is what we should do. Like our battle for CoVid, we wear masks and face shields and apply alcohol or disinfectants to ward off infection. In our fight against our enemy, we should also always wear our armor to ward off the attacks of the enemy and to fight back using the sword of the Spirit. Stay in the Word of God, love it and hunger for it as we do with foods, and walk in it with all vitality of the Spirit.
“Be sober and self-controlled. Be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Withstand him steadfast in your faith, knowing that your brothers who are in the world are undergoing the same sufferings. But may the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”– 1 Peter 5:8-10 (WEB)