Know Your Enemy (Part 1)
[ Preached by Pastor Kenneth Chin at Acts Church Malaysia – 11 June 2017 ]
Try and picture the enemy. What does the devil look like?
In your mind, is Lucifer a huge, menacing, cruel being with horns surrounded by fierce flames and evil-looking creatures? That is indeed the way he has been portrayed by the minds of many great artists and thinkers.
But the Word of God, which is truth, says otherwise.
Read | Isaiah 14:12 – 17
The enemy works overtime to make us think he is a creature that is perhaps equal to God, and a tough adversary for any God-loving Christian on this Earth. Yet from those verses in Isaiah, it is clearly not true! The Bible promises that in the end, we will look at the devil and go, “Huh?! That’s Lucifer whom I have feared all my life? He’s so tiny!”
The Word of God reveals the enemy for who he really is – a proud angel thrown from heaven, a shadow that cannot even lift a finger against the mighty God we serve.
Yet how does he remain such a powerful opposing force in our everyday lives? The first thing we need to realise is that the devil is apt at deceiving.
John 8:44 | You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Revelations 12:9 | The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
The bible states that he is a masterful liar, unable to tell even a shred of truth. He connives to stoke the fear within you and bring it out, intending to paralyze and distract your thoughts.
He wants you to think he’s in control. He does this by seizing the thoughts in your mind and forcing you to speak it into being. Proverbs 18:21 says that the tongue has the power of life and death, and the enemy knows this as well.
Suddenly the weird ache in your body grows into fear as you wonder aloud, “Is this cancer?”. The pain in your back destroys your spirit as you say, “Could this be the kidney problem that runs in the family?”.
This is not saying we should ignore our bodies and avoid professional medical help. Always exercise wisdom when necessary, but realize this – that the power of the tongue works both ways.
The enemy becomes frustrated when you choose to declare God’s Word and Healing over every pain, ache and discomfort in your body, instead of words of fear.
When you deny the enemy’s lies instead of confirming it, the devil’s first weapon fails. But he has other ways to influence your mind and bend you to his will. In 1 Corinthians 12:10 – 11, it is stated that one of the gift given to Christians is “the power to discern spirits”.
The devil is also the prince of this world, and under him are principalities of darkness (Ephesians 6:12) that exist in our everyday lives. These dark spirits and principalities work to discourage and erode our will.
Christians that are careless or carefree are especially in danger. This influence darkens the atmosphere in schools, offices and homes. It manifests in gossip, malice and jealousies. But there’s hope. Not only do Christians have the power to discern good from evil, they also have the power to defeat it.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 | 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.
Our weapons are God’s Word and the power of our salvation through Jesus Christ.
We have the ability to pull every authority not of God that has been placed over our heads and cast it down to the soles of our feet, diminishing its hold over our mind and spirit.
But we need to exercise it, to speak it into life and declare places, conversations and hearts free from the grip of this darkness. This is why it is encouraging that Christians come together in twos and threes to pray for their schools, workplaces or homes.
When we declare God’s presence, we also declare a change in the atmosphere that others can also tangibly feel.
Lastly, we need to train our thoughts not to be afraid, but to be empowered by the boldness of Christ. Instead of fearing one agent of darkness, train your mind to see a thousand angels of Heaven instead.
It has been said that our mind is the devil’s playground, but it does not mean it should stay that way. Instead, focus it on God’s goodness and protection, and declare freedom from the lies of the enemy!