“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” ~ Psalm 23:5
You have more enemies than you think. Maybe you’re a nice, easy-going person who never met a stranger, who has lots of friends, and everybody loves you: you have plenty of enemies. I’m really not talking about human enemies here. I’m talking about the subtle ones that pester you every waking moment, and maybe during moments of sleep as well. Maybe you haven’t identified them as enemies. It’s time to do that.
“When a [person’s] ways please the LORD, He makes even [their] enemies to be at peace with [them].” ~ Prov. 16:7
Your most intimidating, insidious, indicting enemies (and mine) are those we can’t see, including fear, anxiety, anger, depression, addiction, despair, loneliness, passivity, and aggression, to name a few. If we can name them (put a label on it!) they begin to lose their power. Anything that can be named is manageable, somehow, some way.
This is the nature of spiritual warfare: we are blindsided in weak moments. Temptation hits us as a barrage of flaming arrows. We were out for a leisurely stroll when BAM! All of a sudden we find ourselves in a dark valley full of shouts, screams, projectiles and shrapnel, surrounded by our enemies and the looming temptation to fall prey.
“A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.” ~ Ps. 91:7
They seem so big. We feel so powerless. And in truth, we are. And we know it. We may first try to look around to find a weapon to defend ourselves, but we find only paltry make-shift shields and flimsy pointy things: maybe the tarp of substance abuse under which to hide; maybe the arrows of blame to accuse someone else; maybe the smoke screen of pleasure to deny reality. But this war is real, and only truth can win the victory.
“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” ~ John 8:32
This is no time to minimize, justify, rationalize, or deny–these are all faulty, inadequate, ineffective weapons. It’s time to call out our enemy by name, and call our “older brother” to defend us:
“The LORD shall fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” Ex. 14:14
For every Scriptural command that exhorts us not to give in to the enemy, there is the assurance of God’s help. To name a few:
*on fear: “I am with you.” Is. 41:10; “I have redeemed you.” Is. 43:1 “I bring you good news.” Luke 2:10
*on passivity: “Stand in the gap” Ez. 22:24-30; “Be strong and of good courage.” Josh. 1:9
*on despair: “Hope in God . . .the help of His presence.” Ps. 42:11
Best of all, we have the promise of God’s presence, so He is ever available to hear our cries for help against our enemies. Feeling angry? Ask God to help you identify the root cause and navigate a healthy outlet and outlook. Feeling lonely? Tell God that you especially need His comfort now. Feeling fearful? God already knows, and He wants you to acknowledge your need for His help.
“My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” ~ Ex. 33:14
“Call unto Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things.” ~ Jer. 33:3
“For you, O LORD, are my refuge! You have made the Most High your dwelling place.” ~ Ps. 91:9
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, I’m at war with my enemy of ________________ right now, and I can’t fight by myself (without succumbing to temptation and sin). You have promised to help me when I call. Deliver me, O God!”