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In all that swirls around us today, from top headline news stories to the day to day struggles, I'm aware, more than ever - we're in a battle in this life. We face an active enemy every single day that we're here breathing air. We may not see it, we might forget, it's easy to lose focus, and get distracted on all that doesn't really matter.
But the truth is, spiritual forces are still at work.
Every wise soldier knows he must do one thing. To get him through the battle. To take him into tomorrow.
Know who the enemy is.
Unless we know who the real enemy is and how he operates, chances are, we will not win. We must know his schemes, understand his battle tactics, know his weaknesses and his strengths. We must know what he looks like, and how he disguises himself. We must live aware.
The same is true in life. Yet sometimes we forget. Often in the day to day of life routines, we lose sight of who the enemy really is. And we start fighting one another, even turning against our own team. Divided families, separated friendships, split churches – we lose power and effectiveness when we fight against ourselves. And nothing could make the Satan happier than to see us at war with each other.
Other times, we assume we’re fighting the right battles, against opposing forces, but our focus gets blurred. We wrestle and struggle with those that disagree with our beliefs, values, or what we stand for. We spin our wheels, wearying ourselves with critical words and judgmental tones. And in it all, with energy zapped, and more anger than love, we miss it.
God’s Word reminds us, “For 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” (Ephesians 6:12).
There’s one who lurks around us today. He’s real. He’s alive. He’s deceptive. He’s crafty. And his primary goal is to strike you down, along with as many others he can drag down with you. He waits. He searches. He watches. Looking for the best time to attack, at your weakest, most vulnerable moment.
Satan is the real foe we face. And he’s not just some guy in a red suit, pitchfork in hand. Don’t be fooled. He’s far more deceptive.
He wants you to fail; he wants you to quit; he wants to render you completely ineffective. His main goal is to steal, kill, and destroy.
He seeks to gain ground today in as many lives as he can, and in every corner of our world, for he knows his time is limited.
But we don’t have to let him win.
God has much to say about his devious schemes. And though he never tells us to be afraid, he does tell us to be on guard and to live aware.
In 2 Corinthians 2:10-11, Paul reminds believers to forgive those who have wronged them, "in order that Satan might not outwit (take advantage of) us. For we are not unaware (ignorant, uninformed) of his schemes (evil purpose, thoughts, plans)."
God has a plan for our lives. The enemy has a plan for us too. We have to determine which voice we’re going to listen to, and who we will choose to follow.
What the enemy looks like and how he works – 10 things:
Times you can know he will attack:
Protecting yourself from his schemes:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” (Ephesians 6:10).
“Greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Debbie McDaniel is a pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids and a few too many pets, dramatist and writer. She has a heart to communicate God's hope though the everyday moments of life - the good, the bad, the ugly, and the ones that take your breath away. A lover of every sunrise, forever needy of His grace, this Texas girl finds joy in the simple gift of each new day. Debbie invites you to join her at www.freshdayahead.com, and Facebook and Twitter.
Publication date: June 29, 2015