Haters Hate and Liars Lose: Knowing Your Real Enemies

This post is by Sarah Bubar of Unlocking Femininity.

Confession: I LOVE CHOCOLATE.

Specifically, Dove Chocolates. I don't know if it's the morsels of chocolate wrapped so perfectly in foil with happy little messages to think on as the little pieces of heavenly goodness melt away in my mouth or if it's the fact that they come in these tiny little portion-controlled bites. Often times, I use them as rewards for myself: "Okay, Sarah, if you can get one more chapter read, you may have two pieces of Dove." I can attest to the success of this type of motivation—it's what got all my papers done in seminary. It wasn't the grade. It wasn't the satisfaction of a project complete. It was the chocolate.

But the last time I indulged in my confectionary treat, I was alarmingly taken aback by the messages Dove was sending me. Most of the time, the messages are fun, frolic-filled, frivolous quips on the necessities of bubble baths and massages. "Indulge," they would tell me. "Daydream," they would say. But this day, this chocolate was especially disturbing to me. "Love rules without rules," it taught. "Let your sensuousness shine through," it encouraged. I sat there, wheels turning faster than those at Nascar, aghast at the lies I had just been fed . . . in the form of chocolate.

And it got me thinking: Our enemies REALLY hate us!

Our enemies may be formidable, sneaky, and absolutely hateful toward us, but it's the God of the universe who ABSOLUTELY loves us!

There are numerous places within Scripture that tell us we have enemies. But who are they exactly? Taking its cues from Scripture, early Christian litany spells out who they are: the world, the flesh, and the devil (Abelard, Exposition of the Lord's Prayer). We know this in theory. We've made movies about them, written songs expressing our struggle with them. We call them "enemies," for crying out loud!

Yet so often we take a lackadaisical approach toward these enemies. "Sure, they're not our 'friends,' and they probably don't necessarily like us . . . but, I mean, they're not all THAT bad. They're more like worthy opponents picking up a game of ball. Ya win some; ya lose some. Right?"

But that's not how Scripture puts them. They're out for blood (John 10:10) . . . your blood. And I fear until we get the magnitude by which they loathe our existence, we'll always be living in defeat. We must realize this truth: They absolutely hate us!

The Devil

It's no surprise the devil is considered your enemy. He was God's enemy from the beginning, constantly trying to trip mankind up in his web of lies (Gen. 3). But he's not your quintessential red-caped, pointy-horned, wildebeest-resembling devil we see on the tops of people's left shoulders whispering deceptions into their ears. He's trickier than that. Paul warns us of his many masquerades in 2 Corinthians 11:14: "And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light."

Tricky, right? He's called the "Father of Lies" by Christ Himself (John 8:44). Satan tried to set himself up as God ages ago (Isa. 14:13–14), and he has been messing with us ever since (Luke 22:31). But lest you think it's just you and God against the prince of this world, know this: Satan is only the ring leader of our "enemies." We have a couple more—ones that are closely knit to ourselves.

The World

That's right, the world absolutely hates you. Dove convinced me of this the day I heard it say, "Go ahead . . . let loose; lay all inhibitions aside and do whatever you want to do." Sure, they disguised it in a pithy little note that read, "Indulge your sense of adventure." But the message couldn't have been clearer. The world wants you to screw things up. It wants you to be just like them. I'm not being cynical here; Christ warned us of this in John 15.

Our world is sneaky, too. The world is like Lindsey Lohan's character in Mean Girls, who gives you a "diet bar" telling you it will help you lose weight when in reality, its sole purpose is to gain weight. They get you with Dove chocolate wrappings and magazine articles that encourage you to be sexier, thinner, more provocative because those are the people who are really happy. I mean, if Jessica Biel can keep the "good girl next door" image in a see-through top and booty shorts, why can't I?

They lie to you in TV commercials whose mantras are that men are dumb and women should rule the world. They tell you cleavage is normal, and if you've got it, flaunt it; the sexier, the better. They leave out the part about preferring your brother and protecting his thought life and the part about how empty you still feel after you've become what they've made you. Their aim is instant gratification, and consequences take a backseat to the momentary pleasure that a thrill-seeking drive awards you (Heb. 11:25). Scripture warns us against these tactics when it tells us not to go after the world (1 John 2:15–17).

The Flesh

If Satan is the liar and the world is the mean girl, then our flesh is that spoiled rotten child who screams and pitches a fit when it doesn't get its way. Why? Because the flesh wants what it wants, and it wants it NOW! Satan and the world may be formidable enemies, but we all know Satan gets it in the end (you've read Revelation, right?) and the world is passing away. But the flesh is probably the scariest enemy out there. Partly because I carry the flesh with me wherever I go.

Partly because my flesh is at times extremely loud and demanding. And partly because my flesh has a perverted bent toward righteousness. It wants to be holy and good, sure, but it wants to be so devoid of God and His working in me. Romans 7:18 assures me of this:

I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.

This is why Galatians challenges us to not feed the flesh and reminds us it has been dealt with at the cross of Christ (Rom. 8:13; Gal. 5:16–25).

Make no mistake about it—your flesh will lie, cheat, and steal from you. It will tell you that one time isn't that big a deal. It will convince you that everyone else is doing it, and they're happy. It will tell you it doesn't need help; it's strong enough on its own. And when it comes to confession, it will own up to its wrongdoing, just shy of submitting to God. This is what our flesh is capable of, and it absolutely hates you.

                                                                ~~~~~~~~~~~~

So what's a girl to do to free herself from this villain-stricken world in which she finds herself? The beauty of it is that Christ has already won the victory for us. Our enemies, as ominous as they are, have already been dealt with by the blood and cross of Christ.

1. Realize their fate.
Colossians 2:13–15 talks about how Christ dealt with Satan and his henchmen, the principalities and rulers of this world, and it wasn't a slap on the wrist. They got what was coming to them, and they'll get more in the finale (Rev. 20). The world is already passing away (1 John 2:17), it doesn't hold a candle to the promises God gives to those who follow Him (Ps. 84:11; Matt. 7:11; Luke 11:13; James 1:17), and it is getting replaced with something better in the end also (Isa. 65; Rev. 21)! And the flesh, well, that too was taken care of at the cross and resurrection of Christ (Rom. 6:4; Gal. 2:20).

2. Stop believing their lies.
We just have to stop buying into the lies our enemies are manufacturing. We need to stop giving them power over us through our obedience to them. It really is that simple. Stop obeying them, and they'll stop dictating what you have to do (Rom. 6:16). Make the wise, gutsy, and tough choice to say “yes” to God’s truth and “no” to the lies.

When you start fortifying your faith, when you start actually taking God at His word, godly behavior will be a natural outworking of that faith. When you start believing the truth of God's Word over the lies of this world, you will start living out verses like Colossians 3:5 and 1 Corinthians 6:18

3. Follow the instruction booklet.

When you look at Scripture, God gives us numerous instructions of things we can (and should!) do to deal with these kinds of attacks. Here are just a few:

  • Don’t intentionally expose yourself to input that feeds the lies (Rom. 13:14).
  • Get rid of anything that’s fueling the lies in your mind (Matt. 5:30).
  • Use the armor God has given you to protect yourself (Eph. 6:10–18).
  • Ask God for wisdom to know what to do (James 1:5).
  • Pray, pray, and pray some more (1 Thess. 5:17)!
  • Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus (Heb. 12:2).

And there are so many more ways where God tells us how to be proactive in this battle.  That’s why it’s so important that we know God’s Word and meditate on it day and night (Josh. 1:8).

4. Learn who's got your back.
When you can finally realize who your true enemies are, the One who has your back becomes starkly obvious. God is for you (Rom. 8:31; Ps. 56:9; Isa. 41:10). He has "exceedingly abundant" things to offer you (Eph. 3:20–21). His burden is light, not cumbersome (Matt. 11:29). God is the One who has your back. He's the One who wants the best for you. He's the One who wants to give you true heart happiness and contentment (John 10:10).

Yes, our enemies may be formidable, sneaky, and absolutely hateful toward us, but it's the God of the universe who ABSOLUTELY loves us!

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