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Talking Back to the Enemy

Written by Melody Franco

Do you believe you have an enemy?

What a way to start a blog post, I know.

But seriously, do you? Not just theologically, or conceptually, or confessionally, but functionally? Do you believe you have an enemy?

Now, I am not going to get into a full-on biblical theology of the devil, evil, or the demonic (please see Pastor Danny following his sabbatical for that), but I do think all of us can and should grow in recognizing the spiritual warfare taking place in our world and in our own souls. After all, as was aptly put in The Usual Suspects (1995), “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist.”

This past week as I was following along with the Waypoint Bible Reading Plan (not a paid advertisement), 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 stood out:

“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.”

So, yes, Paul says we are in a war, but this war is not fought with worldly weapons of brutality and violence, but rather, non-worldly weapons possessing “divine power to demolish strongholds.”

This sounds great, but what actually are these weapons with so much power? And what “strongholds” need destroying?

Rather than talking about what we may first think of as spiritual warfare, such as exorcisms or demon possession, Paul makes a leap—he starts talking about the thoughts of believers.

In his book, Live No Lies, John Mark Comer argues that the primary method/strategy the devil uses to attack people is deception and lies. In John 8:44, Jesus refers to the devil as “a liar and the father of lies.”

The origin of every lie is the devil.

I bring all of this up because lately I have noticed an apathy in myself towards destructive thought patterns I have left unchallenged for days, months, years…

“Being loved means being the favorite, so I need to be the best.”

“Their success is a threat to me.”

“God is more pleased with me when I read my Bible than when I don’t.”

“I am not actually that sinful.”

“What I can do for God is what gives me value.”

And on,

and on,

it goes.

We all have lies about God, about ourselves, and about others that are waging war within us. None of us are exempt.

But how do we fight back?

“We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

After spending forty days and nights praying and fasting in the wilderness, the devil tries to tempt Jesus to sin by telling him lies about his identity (see Luke 4). Two things stand out to me in how Jesus responds to the devil (aka, spiritual warfare):

First, Jesus recognized lies.

Jesus knows it is the devil who is speaking to him. He doesn’t passively accept what is said, but calls it out as untrue.

Pay attention to your thoughts for an entire day and notice, do they align with truth? If not, what are the underlying lies you are thinking and believing about yourself, about God, and about others? Consider writing them down.

Second, Jesus proclaimed Scripture.

Jesus talked back. He proclaimed truth in response to each lie, aligning his thoughts and actions with the reality of his identity as the Son of God.

What is a verse you can memorize and meditate upon in response to each lie you wrote down?

Now, this is a lot to take in. Trust me, I’m right there with you.

But be encouraged—our victory is already won! We wage war against the enemy, not to earn the love of God or to prove our faith or righteousness, but to live more fully into the identity and freedom that is ours through Christ!

And as we await the fullness of our redemption, we do not fight alone. So let us not lose hope, but continue to remind ourselves and one another, through the power of the Spirit, what is true.

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