Ephesians 6:10-11 "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil."
John 2:16-17 "Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world."
With thse thoughts in mind, today's post is all about identifying the three common enemies faced by every Christian. In the opening passage above we see them underlined: the Devil, the world and the flesh. The contexts of both scriptures indicate the following:
Ephesians 6:11 warns the reader of the "schemes" or "methodologies" of the Devil. Who is the Devil? A brief sketch of his personage and career reveals the following:
1. He was originally a powerful angel named Lucifer (Ezekiel 28; Isaiah 14), perhaps an archangel, who got his eyes off of God and instead focused on his own beauty. Shortly after the creation week scripture records Lucifer, now Satan or the Devil, leading 1/3 of the angelic hosts astray, who in their fall became the myriads of demons occupying the various orders of the kingdom of darkness. (Revelation 12)
2. The Devil or Satan is a creature who is a liar (John 8:44), a deceiver and prince of the power of the air who blinds the hearts of unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:1-4). As a creature, the Devil communicates his malevolent intentions through the vast network of demonic hosts we see mentioned in Ephesians 6:12.
3. We know the Devil tempted Jesus on three occasions in Matthew 4, and the Devil's aim is to do all he can to discourage and divide the church. (Matthew 16:18)
4. According to 1 Peter 5:8, The Devil is a roaring lion prowling about seeking whom he may devour.
This sketch lays out for us why it is the Devil is the believer's common enemy in spiritual warfare. Now notice the second enemy...
Enemy #2 - The World
Enemy #3 - The flesh
Notice what the Apostle John writes in 1 John 2:16 "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world." What is meant by the term "flesh"? The term "flesh" can have one of two meanings in the New Testament.
The first meaning of "flesh" refers to the physical body of a person, whereas the second meaning describes the expression of our soul's drives in cooperation with the remnants of sin in the soul. Galatians 5:19-21 gives the fullest definition of the flesh in the New Testament: "Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."
The flesh is an "expression", a "reaction" to certain conditions whereby the inborn drives of a person are set aflame and decisions are made to feed the hunger. The indwelling Holy Spirit aims to teach the child of God to "put on Jesus Christ, make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts." (Romans 13:14)
Therefore when we are dealing with spiritual warfare, the flesh and the inward desires that go unchecked are among the most damaging of the three enemies. Unlike the Devil and the World, which attacks from the outside, the flesh works inward to outward.
Closing thoughts for today
We considered in yesterday's post the approach one needs to spiritual warfare: namely the filling of the Holy Spirit and being filled with the word. Today's post served to unfold the believer's three common enemies: the world, the flesh and the Devil. Tomorrow we will consider the confidence the Christ has in spiritual warfare as we conclude this study on the A,B,C's of spiritual warfare.