“We are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rul this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.” — Ephesians 6:12
When World War I broke out, the War Ministry in London dispatched a coded message to one of the British outposts in the inaccessible areas of Africa. The message read: “War declared. Arrest all enemy aliens in your district.” The War Ministry received this prompt reply: “Have arrested ten Germans, six Belgians, four Frenchmen, two Italians, three Austrians, and an American. Please advise immediately who we’re at war with.”
It seems that many of us don’t always know who we’re fighting. We quarrel with one another and criticize one another, as though our battle is with our brothers and sisters in Christ and not against the forces of the devil. We argue over music styles because we elevate our own preferences to theological levels. We criticize others for the way they talk, the way they dress, and the way they spend their free time. We point out the shortcomings of others because it makes us feel victorious.
Many of these evaluations are not based on scripture, but instead our own preferences. In doing these things, we lose sight of who the real enemy is, giving him a foothold in the spiritual battles we fight with him and his minions.
We need to understand that the real enemy is the devil, not one another. We need to realize that Satan is constantly trying to confuse us by making it seem that our brothers and sisters in Christ are our enemies by making even the most minor human conflict–at work, at church, with our friends, or in our families–look like the real problem.
The next time you encounter any kind of conflict, pray before you speak or act. Ask God to remind you who the real enemy is, and in the name of the Lord, rebuke the enemy and tell him to be quiet. Then see if there is any conflict left to address.
Defend the faith at all costs. Never compromise. Stand for the holiness of God and for His glory. Never forget though, that the real enemy is not flesh and blood!