If you don’t know who your enemy is, you might get the wrong impression of God. I spoke with someone recently who felt that God had responded negatively to her loving desire to submit to His will for her life. I knew it was not the truth. I could be absolutely sure because God longs for the people He created to love and honor Him. He longs for this because He knows it is good for us.
The reality is that when we are diligently seeking after God, we become more important to the enemy of our souls. We may not have had much dealing with the enemy so we may be unaware of his murderous ways. John 10:10 says,
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
There are two spiritual realities going on in our lives at any given moment. We have our loving God who cares for us as a good Father offering us life and fullness, and we have a prince of the power of darkness who steals away any spiritual life if we let him.
You must be aware that you have an enemy. Recently I took an hour to spend alone with God. It was a beautiful hour, full of great insights that brought me peace and joy. However, it was a difficult hour because I felt uncomfortable where I sat and the heat was harsh. During that time, I had admired the vegetation that grew around me marked with large boulders and dusty road, but eclipsed by beautiful habitation. I delighted in the contrast of weeds and trees and bushes and the beautiful design God gave them. I even saw the beauty of the sticky bush for it minute details and Velcro type buds. The blend of plants and trees and weeds showed the love and detail God puts into creation. I had no idea that the entire time that I was enjoying this hour with God in nature there was a sticky bush right behind me; and every time I moved, it attached itself to my clothing. Near the end of my time, I took off my light jacket and realized the problem. It was a mess to deal with and could have distracted me from the beautiful time I was enjoying with God.
Since I know my enemy, I knew that this was sent to me to cause me to forget all I had just experienced. Rather than concede to my natural, fleshy way of asking “Why me?”. I recognized how important this prayer time had been. It was important enough to cause the enemy to take notice. This encouraged rather than discouraged me. I spent the last few minutes dissecting stickers from my jacket and praising God with each sticker I threw away.
Our enemy is like a lion, a wolf in sheep’s clothes. He manipulates, steals, distorts, murders, and accuses. We must not confuse his ways with the ways of our loving, good, merciful and kind God. We don’t want to focus on him, but we don’t want to confuse his actions with God’s actions. God in His infinite goodness has chosen to allow us this time of spiritual growth with the presence of the enemy. God can use the enemy to help us grow to discern the contrast between his ways and God’s ways. We can see the ultimate goodness of God in contrast to our enemy.