Remember your enemy

It’s Narcissist Friday!

Every day you face a battle, but against whom are you fighting? If you listen to most preachers and most motivational speakers today, you might be convinced that the enemy you fight is yourself. They tell you that the reason you suffer is because of the choices you make. Your problems are all of your own making, they say.

But Jesus said that a kingdom divided against itself cannot survive. (Luke 11) He says that’s true of Satan’s kingdom, but it is also true for you. If you battle against yourself, who loses? Believe me, you can’t win and lose at the same time.

No, the truth is that you have an enemy. Over the years you may have listened to his guidance through the people in your life or the world around you. You may have adopted some of the perspectives he wanted you to learn. Just because you can’t see him or understand his methods does not mean he doesn’t exist.

The media that portrays a devil with horns or glowing eyes or an evil voice do a disservice to the people. The devil may “prowl around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour,” but you will rarely experience him that way. Instead, he will present himself as “common sense” ideas and use your own voice to speak. He will pretend to be you.

When you begin to understand who you are in Christ and Who He is in you, the evil one will want to stop the freedom and joy that comes into your life. He will allow you to see the changes Jesus has given, but tell you that you are the problem. If you could just change to become what Jesus offers, you would be okay. But you have so much work to do that you probably will never truly be free or strong. All of that is a lie.

Just like the narcissist or the abuser will try to keep you under control by lying about the power you have, so the evil one will lie (using your own voice) to you about the change God has made in your life. Because of Christ, you are free from sin. Sin no longer has dominion over you. There is no addiction, no habit, no circumstance that can control you. He doesn’t want you to believe that.

Now, I know that there are people who live every day focused on the devil. I also know that there are those who don’t believe in the devil. C. S. Lewis suggested that both extremes are wrong. Jesus spoke of the activity of the evil one. We may not understand a great deal about him, but we know he is real and he tries to influence our lives.

Keep your eyes on Jesus. Follow Him and believe what He says about you. He loves you. He has set you free. He is your strength. You can accomplish anything He calls you to do. Read about the change that has come to you because of Him.

And tell yourself that the lies, the whispers of doubt and shame and limitation, don’t come from Jesus, and they don’t come from you. There must be another who wants you to be discouraged or ashamed. There must be someone working against you. If you feel that you are not enough, that you don’t deserve God’s love, when Jesus says you already have it, remember there is an enemy who wants you to be afraid and depressed.

One more thing: that enemy planted seeds in your heart long ago. Cruel words that were spoken against you by parents or classmates or others. The broken wisdom of a broken world. The feelings of rejection or inadequacy that came in a difficult time. Those seeds spring up throughout our lives when we forget that the enemy is real. You don’t have to see the evil one to hear his voice or see his work. The system of this world is evidence enough of his influence.

So, don’t forget that you have an enemy. Listen to the truth Jesus tells you. Believe Him. The truth will set you free from the lies and the shame. The love of Jesus has already given you the victory.

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