To win a war, you must know your enemy.
TAKE IT TO THE ENEMY
Click here for the first article in this series.
IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING
In Second Timothy 3 we are warned about our worldly enemies. This is exactly what we are up against since the first nine verses describe our world today: lovers of self and money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. That’s quite a list.
The Enemy in our Midst
It’s easy to see these in abortionists, traitors, terrorists, in Black Lives Matter proponents, social justice warriors, cancel culture, entertainment and politics. All this is everywhere. But our churches have not been spared. Jesus warned us about the tares intermingling with the wheat (Mt.13:24-30). Sadly, the enemy is among us, and we need the discernment to distinguish the fake from the real thing.
This enemy among us goes to great lengths to look good on the outside. He is controlled by the flesh and thus, misses out on the power for good that comes with genuine godliness. He (or she) preys on the weak whose sins have made them susceptible to new ideas, false doctrine and things peddled as necessary as if the gospel isn’t sufficient. This enemy may attend numerous Bible studies, seminars and conferences and may be able to give the right answers but has never been transformed by the Word.
AS I SEE IT
In the last part of Chapter 3 Paul warns Timothy (and us) how he is to live in stark contrast to the enemies of the gospel. He is to follow Paul’s example in everything, displaying a sincere faith, blameless conduct, patiently enduring suffering and persecution since anyone who desires to live a godly life as a soldier of Christ will most assuredly encounter persecution. Discernment will be in such scarce supply that when things go from bad to worse, many Christians will be taken in by the deception, but we must remain vigilant, holding firmly to the truth we have been taught.
Dependent of the Word
All this may sound lofty and theoretical, but it’s about to become as practical as it gets for all of us when we realize that we are, indeed, in a war and we have been called to the front line. This will be when our Bibles become more precious than we ever imagined. As we search for a word from God, we will discover that every word is important, directly applicable to us and able to provide all the direction, encouragement, or correction we need.
As I have stressed in this series, it’s time to stop playing defense and take it to the enemy. We have already been delivered from the kingdom of darkness (Col. 1:13), but the ultimate enemy is determined to keep those presently under his control securely bound in darkness. Our primary mission is to take the light of the gospel to those still in darkness. To be effective, we must be totally prepared for every eventuality for by now, we should be quite familiar with Satan’s tactics. In an upcoming post we will look closely at the spiritual armor we must learn to use. It is so impressive that we should feel invincible once we learn how to use it. We should be living examples of Proverbs 28:1:
The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion.
We must also make sure that our thoughts and behavior qualify us to be called righteous. Unconfessed sin will diminish the effectiveness of our armor. This is why I have devoted so much of this series to being spiritually prepared. The eternal destiny of those in darkness whom our Master has assigned to each of us depends on our success in battle.
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
Joe Biden’s version of old sayings:
If at first you don’t succeed, get out of the kitchen.
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