Friend or Foe?

When I was a child we played a game where we said something like, “Who goes there, friend or foe?” I cannot remember the rest of the game at all, just the words. There is always a distinction in war between enemy and friend. In team sport there are always two opposing teams. Rivalry demands enemies. Who are our enemies? Who is the foe? Who is opposing us?
Psalm 18:37-42, I pursued my enemies and overtook them; U did not turn back till they were destroyed. I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet. You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet. You made my enemies turn their backs in flight , and I destroyed my foes. They cried out for help, but there was no one to save them- to the Lord, but he did not answer. I beat them fine as dust borne on the wind; I poured them out like mud in the streets.
Here in this Psalm David was praising God for delivering him out of the hands of his enemies and also out of the hands of Saul. In times of war enemies are people and there are physical battles which need to be fought. Our enemies are not people.
Ephesians 6:12, For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
This sounds very intimidating. How do we fight battles in the heavenly realms? First of all we put on the armour that we are instructed about in Ephesians 6:13-18. We have to be truthful and ready to spread the Gospel and we also need to be in right standing with God. We need to know the Word and we have to keep up our shield to deflect flaming arrows. Often the attacks seem to come from people. People say and do hurtful things to us and we feel it in our hears and in our bodies. They are motivated by the devil to do these things. It is not an excuse and they should not be encouraged or excused, yet we cannot see them as the enemy. We must be aware of the dark forces that they are allowing into their lives. At other times we are attacked directly by evil. Joyce Meyers wrote a book called, “Battlefield of the Mind.” That is the main point of attack by the enemy. If he can gain entrance to our minds he can do almost anything with us. How often don’t we have thoughts of hopelessness, sadness or depression when we do not normally feel those thoughts. They seem totally out of character, but we feel them. We have to recognise that those feelings are coming from the enemy who is trying to manipulate our minds. Have you ever experienced it that when you’re in a difficult situation and under pressure, you think something like “I can’t handle this,” or “I’ve had enough”? I’m convinced that those are the kind of thoughts that the enemy is planting in your mind. God is not going to say that to you. He will encourage you to do things calmly and patiently. After all, giving up is not a fruit of the Spirit.
In Psalm 18:40 David says he destroyed his foes. If we draw a parallel to that verse it will be that we have destroyed negative thinking, depression, rejection, addiction or whatever it is that has been plaguing us. We have to destroy the effect that the devil wants in our lives. We have to work with the Holy Spirit to cause the foe to turn and run.
James 4:7, Submit yourselves, then to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
We have to change the way we think so that we are no longer going to be at the mercy of the devil.
Romans 12:2, Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
By studying the bible and spending time in prayer we are going to build a relationship with God. If we know our friend, Jesus, well enough, we will be able to recognise the foe without having to ask.

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