May 20, 2009, 8:01 AM
Who is your worst enemy? Some people will tell you to the face without mincing words that it is a relative—a sister, brother, uncle, aunt or cousin; others a workmate or their boss. In the worst case scenario it could be their parents or a spouse. And they will look no further. The feeling is so deep-rooted; it’s even reached boiling point over, ready to explode each time it is stirred from within. Besides, they have tangible proofs to back it up.
Others will say Satan – our number one enemy. Well, someone has to take the blame for our faults and mistakes and the most likely culprit is Satan. He has been at this game since creation. Indeed, Satan is not a friend but a foe. Our Lord Jesus labeled him as a thief who has come “only to steal and kill and destroy.” (John 10:10) As a fallen angel, Peter qualifies him as “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
He cannot keep still. Once he interrupted a meeting with God and the angels. Quizzed where he had been, he replied: “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth.” (Job 1:7; 2:2) He is looking for people to confound, people to lure into joining him in his disobedience stance of God. He is aware he has been judged and condemned to eternal damnation and wants company. Beware!
Satan is our most dreaded enemy and he seemingly possesses a strong suggestive and persuasive power that sometimes can topple our feeble resistance. His strength however is visible only in the physical realm - that is, in the area of our senses – not with our spirit man. Reason why he is no match for those who are grounded in Christ; because Bible teaches us to “Resist him and stand firm in the faith...” (1 Peter 5:9) “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
Remember Adam and Eve received instructions from God to refrain from eating the fruit of a particular tree. “And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)
Satan, in a calculated move, chose the weak link in the chain as his entry point. He addressed himself to Eve ‘disguised’ as a serpent and sowed doubt in her mind. “Did God really say?” “You will not surely die.” “…you will be like God knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1, 4, 5) That did it! Eve swallowed the bait--hook, line and sinker. Both of them ate the fruit and died—not physically but spiritually. From thence they ceased to be ‘in the image and likeness of God.’ The Spirit of God that inhabited them left them. Their eyes were opened. Satan immediately left the scene and did not await the outcome. Then God came on the scene.
When God confronted Adam about his act of disobedience, he quickly cited Eve as the culprit. Here’s how he put it: “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it.” (Genesis 3:12) When asked “What is this you have done?” Eve responded: “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:13) You can see they were playing at ‘shifting the blame.’
The instructions were given to Adam yet when Eve tasted of the fruit he also took a bite without asking questions. He thus became an accomplice. So who’s to blame? The account did not say that Satan pulled Eve to the tree and thrust the forbidden fruit into her mouth. He only suggested and sowed seeds of doubt and her resistance couldn’t hold.
Failure to obey a single instruction from God jeopardised the status of the couple and is the cause of all our problems today. Satan has through this process usurped the powers given to humanity when God said “…let them (Adam and Eve) rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Genesis 1:26)
We may, by all indications, be the sworn targets of Satan and his demons but we are no longer the weaklings Adam and Eve used to be. At the cross, Jesus nailed all the principalities and powers and crushed them for good that they could no longer have any hold on us. Prior to his ascension, he declared: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations….” (Matthew 28:18) That authority is stronger than Satan’s power. He has given it to us all to nullify the power of the enemy with.
Come to think of it, our greatest enemy is ourselves. A major handicap is our ignorance. A prince who is heir to the throne is aware of who he is and displays his authority. He acts like a king to be. A lion cub will roar like a lion to be. Unfortunately, we do not realize how much power we wield and fall easy prey to the devil’s schemes and ploys to harm us. “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6) God has given us a weapon with which to assail the devil. That weapon is mighty and effective in warfare. Paul the Apostle exhorts us thus: “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”
Our common enemy may be the devil and his cohorts but we have a greater force within us that is invincible before Satan’s threats. Moses in the face of imminent danger facing the Red Sea, hadn’t the faintest inkling what the rod in his hand could do. He did not acknowledge the power he already possessed. Initially he had doubted his ability to face both the Children of Israel and Pharaoh as God’s envoy. God asked him. ”What is that in your hand?’ ‘A staff,’ he replied. The Lord said, throw it on the ground.” Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it.” (Exodus 4:2-3)
That rod became a snake in Pharaoh’s court also as he began to put up resistance. His magicians didn’t think much of Moses’ bluff when they also performed the same feat. The story did not end there. Hear this. “But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.” (Exodus 7:12) How much faith do you have to put up a fight against your enemy? With God on our side, the enemy has been downsized. Use the rod in your hand!