DEFEATING OUR “ENEMIES”: 5 WAYS TO OVERCOME
When I think of the word enemy, the Joker from Batman or Bluto from Popeye come to my mind. (Or perhaps for the Kansas City Chiefs fans out there, the Oakland Raiders are at the top of the “enemy” list.) How can we begin to defeat our enemies? What are some ways to overcome?
Let us first consider who you might identify as your enemies. Would it be the IRS? Your noisy, unruly, rude, crude, and socially unacceptable neighbor? The lunchroom or recess bully? Your coworker or boss who makes your job miserable?
I’m going to take a shot in the dark here and assume that not many of us actually have any true enemies in our lives. Not because we’re the sweetest, kindest, best people in the world, but just because our growth and maturity (be it spiritual or otherwise) doesn’t campout in that world.
So…Let me paint a picture of an enemy in a whole new light by asking a different question:
What is your biggest struggle right now? Finances? A relationship that’s not quite right? Perhaps a forgiveness problem? Or a job concern? In a sense, we sometimes view our struggles (or challenges or hardships) as enemies, don’t we?
James 1:2 says this about our struggles and trials, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds…” I love the J.B. Phillips rendering of this verse. He writes, “When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives, my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends!”
You see, there are certainly times when we face failure. There are times when we face dilemmas or doubt. There are times when we face hardship. There are times when we face death (be it death of a relationship, death of a job, death of a dream, or death of a loved one). BUT…on the horizon there is freedom, deliverance, redemption, and new life! It was the writer of Psalm 30:5 who assured us “…weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.”
So as you read this, maybe you’ve got a certain “enemy” in mind. Maybe there’s a certain person who is making your life miserable. It could be that you have some “thorn in your flesh.” Or perhaps you don’t have an “enemy” per se, but you are facing some kind of challenge or struggle or issue in your life that really has you by the throat.
Here are 5 ways to help overcome our enemies:
1) Take heart — Jesus told us in John 16:33 that “in this world we will have trouble, we will have many trials and sorrow, we will have tribulation.” But He also said, “Take heart! I have overcome the world.” This is the foundation of our peace inside because we know that God is in control. TAKE HEART!
2) Have courage — Several times in the Old Testament we are commanded to be strong and courageous. Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Even while staring down an enemy or facing into a trial, we have the promise of God being in our midst. And if God is for us, who can be against us? HAVE COURAGE!
3) Cry out — I think it’s fairly rare that we actually vocalize what our hearts feel to the core. We tend to “polish it” or “temper it” before we speak it. But when we pray, I truly believe this is how God longs for us to come to Him—with no-holds-barred, gut-level, raw honesty. Lamentations 2:19 says, “Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord…” CRY OUT!
4) Be intentional — It is so easy to get distracted, upset, and worried over lots of stuff. We have so many irons in the fire and balls in the air, that we lose sight of our main objective. Paul wrote in Philippians 3:13, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead…” Focus on your one thing. BE INTENTIONAL!
5) Celebrate God — I think we all have amnesia when it comes to remembering the great things God has done in our lives. The Psalmist says in Psalm 105, “Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Remember the wonders he has done…” You see, God does act, He does answer prayer, He does accomplish things in us and through us, but oh, how quickly we forget! CELEBRATE GOD!
As we face people in our lives we might consider enemies…or as we face trials in our lives we might consider enemies, take heart, have courage, cry out, be intentional, and celebrate God!
How do you deal with the enemies you face? Please share your thoughts…