Know Thy Enemy

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“In the days when monsters and giants and fairy folk lived in England, a noble knight was riding across a plain. The Red Cross Knight had never yet faced a foe, and did not even know his own name or where he had been born. But now he was bound on a great adventure, sent by the Queen of the Fairies to try his young strength against a deadly enemy, a dragon grim and horrible.” So begins one of my boys’ favorite stories, “Saint George and the Dragon,” retold by Margaret Hodges. Throughout the story, George battles this evil, deadly dragon. His foe is far superior in strength, and George’s life is continually at stake. George is repeatedly knocked down and left for dead, but his strength is restored to fight another day, until he finally defeats the dragon.

In many of the fairy tales I read to my children, the enemy is very apparent. They are ugly and bold and vicious. The battles are fierce and the hero often is wounded, but in the end, our hero always wins. In our daily lives, our enemy is not always so apparent. It is often disguised as a nasty co-worker who seems to be trying to tear us down. Or, it could be a friend who broke our trust, or a toddler who refuses to use the toilet (ask me how I know).

On Monday, we discussed the idea of self-promotion and self-demotion. The examples above fall into the self-promotion category. The other person seems to be the enemy and is preventing me from getting what I want. We think we should have career advancement opportunities, we deserve to have true friends who never hurt us, our children should always do exactly what we want them to, and so on. But in each of these cases, there is an unseen enemy seeking to destroy us. We cannot change the actions of the other person, but those actions are not what will ultimately destroy us. Our responses to these people—anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness—are what will ultimately destroy us. Sometimes, the enemy comes from within. We decline an amazing job opportunity because we are afraid to fail. Or, we close the door on a budding friendship because we are afraid to get hurt. In these cases, we believe lies about ourselves, and we allow the devil to defeat us with those lies.

1 Peter 5:8
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

As human beings, and more specifically as Christ-followers, our enemy is not another person, and it is not ourselves. It is the devil. He knows our weaknesses and will exploit them to bring about our ruin. We need to remember who our real enemy is and engage him in battle through Scripture and prayer.


Questions:
Are you more likely to view others as an enemy to be defeated, or are you defeating yourself?

What are some of the ways that the devil is attacking you through others or through yourself?

Next Steps:
As Christ followers, we have a deadly enemy in the devil. We need to take active steps to guard ourselves from his attacks. Think about your answers to the questions above. Find some passages in your Bible that you can refer to when you are feeling attacked, so you have something to fight back with.

As we continue through 1 Peter this week, we focus today on 1 Peter 3. We encourage you to read through this chapter in your Bible. Or, you can listen to it through the StreetLights Bible. You can download the app or visit streetlightsbible.com.

Prayer:
Lord, sometimes I forget who my real enemy is. I view others as the cause of my difficulties and lash out against them, or I allow my own fears to prevent me from taking important steps. Remind me that I am not alone in this fight and that through Jesus and Scripture, I can stand up to the attacks of the devil.  Amen.


This post was written by Julie Mabus. Julie Mabus is a writer with the LivingItOut Bible Study. She has a passion for thinking about big ideas, art, reading, and seeing God reveal himself through creation. She is married and is homeschooling her four young children.


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