4 Ways to Defeat the Enemy
By Christine McGivern
When we think about our world’s enemies, we think of groups like Boko Horam, ISIS, and Al Qaeda. Every day, the reports on TV and comments on our Facebook feeds seem to focus on some new controversy, another outburst of violence, or generally disrupting news of the atrocities these terrorist groups are committing. It’s easy for us to get upset, heartbroken and incredibly angry at these groups. While these groups do mean us harm, they are not our greatest enemy.
Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “…our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Our greatest enemy, Satan, seeks to kill, steal, and destroy, but Jesus came to bring life to the fullest (John 10:10).
Life to the fullest is found in loving others, not hating them. When we focus on hate, we lose an opportunity to show the love of Jesus to those who need it most.Paul describes the spiritual fight this way: “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 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” (2 Corinthians 10:3- 5 NIV).
“Life to the fullest is found in loving others, not hating them. When we focus on hate, we lose an opportunity to show the love of Jesus to those who need it most.“
When Paul says “take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ,” to respond to tragedy, injustice, or persecution with anger, and helplessness, we are to take those emotions and feelings, lay them before Jesus, and ask how He would like us to act.
Any time people are harmed and the innocent are taken advantage of, God notices and cares. What can we do from halfway around the world? Can we make any kind of difference? We can have confidence in our God as not only the just Judge and righteous Ruler of the earth but also the compassionate Creator and Father. Micah 6:8 says God wants people “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Christians are called to make a difference.
Just like the military has a duty to fight our nation’s battles, we are called to fight spiritual battles. These fights are not won with guns or tanks. Spiritual battles require a different kind of weapon — love. Here are some ways to love those who hate us:
1. Pray for them.
Jesus says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Prayer is a powerful weapon. It changes others, and it changes us. By praying for people who oppose us, we are reminded that the person is no different than we once were. He or she was made in God’s image and desperately needs a relationship with Him.
2. Trust God to change their hearts.
The Gospel can solve the problem. When we submit our lives to Jesus, He changes hearts the same way God describes in Ezekiel 11: “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 11:19). Only God can change hearts, and when He does, it creates a lasting change in behaviour.
3. Expect God to move.
We can expect God to do what seems impossible, because Jesus promised us that, with God, all things are possible. God will make everything right in His time, and we can trust God to do what only He can do. We all have spiritual battles to fight today — co-workers who know how to bring out our worst, children who test our patience, spouses with animosity toward Jesus. The key to overcoming these challenges lies in remembering who the enemy is. Our greatest enemy is Satan, and we can fight back with confidence knowing that Jesus has already won (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).
4. Pray for world leaders.
They need God’s wisdom and discernment to make tough decisions that will affect millions of lives. Leaders and authority figures need understanding beyond themselves to navigate difficult situations. We can especially pray for them to make decisions that are both good for their own people and for all people (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
We celebrate one who, despite being hated and despised by humanity, still loved humanity. They beat him and eventually killed him but He rose again declaring that love can never be defeated by darkness. Maybe temporarily it may feel like it can, but light destroys darkness 10 times out of 10 and love destroys hate every time. Today we must gather around love as the only response to such atrocities. Love has to be our heartbeat in times of such pain and uncertainty.
Whatever you do tomorrow, if you choose love over hate then bit by bit you are driving out the hatred that can come to try and entangle us.