Spiritual Enmity, Part 1

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, February 16, 2021 0 comments

by Eric Hansen

I really enjoyed writing about TULIP recently and I want to explore that further, but there’s another topic that has been hitting close to home lately for me. As I sat thinking on what to call it, the term “warfare” felt complicated for the matter. The Holy Spirit doesn’t go to war; it bridges the gap between us and God. The word enmity fits the qualifications pretty well of what we go through when we start talking about “spiritual warfare” far better.

When I Googled ‘enmity’ for its definition you get this: “the state or feeling of being actively opposed or hostile to someone or something.” This is exactly what we experience: an active hostility towards God. In this series of writings, I aim to cover the how, the why, and what we can do about it.

Spiritual enmity is when we are in a state of resisting God’s will. This isn’t just telling God, “No, I won’t do/say that.” It may not even involve God directly at all. We all face moments where we don’t want to get up in the morning to go to church, read our Bible, pray, or praise Him. We may even want to spend our time playing on our phones instead of talking to our families or engaging in relationships with others. Or we could feel depressed about an event in our life, and instead of going to the Father for guidance, we drink our sorrows away. Maybe we just want to hit the snooze one more time but we end up waking up late and missing that much needed job interview.

At this point, it’s extremely important to make a clear distinction between temptations and trials. Trials are delivered to us by God in some form to strengthen our spirit and faith, to remember we are His children no matter our age. Temptation, though, is anything that drives us away from God, whether it be pleasure or punishment. In the examples given above, none of those are trials but temptations. We were tempted to tell God no because it would inconvenient us, to not go to church, play on our phones, drink, etc.

A book can be (and numerous have been) written on this topic, but it’s always important to remember it is evil that is behind our temptations, not God. God doesn’t desire us to stare at people in magazines with lust, or to lie to our partner to avoid arguments. Those are desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:17-21). Everything we do, say, or think abhors either God or ourselves, because we are either going to sin or be righteous. In our evil desires, we abhor God, and all of the evil forces know how to make that happen. The human race hasn’t changed since Adam and Eve sinned (Genesis 3). The desire for Eve to better herself by her own deeds drove her to eat that fruit, and Adam’s desire to know what was so enticing about it drove him to do the same. Then they both lied to God because of the guilt and shame that we feel even today when we sin. Evil watches us day and night to understand what our weaknesses are to exploit them. We all have weaknesses, no matter how grounded we are in faith.

Since Jesus Christ was both fully divine and fully man, Satan had a few tricks up his sleeve as well. Satan knew he couldn’t attack Jesus’ divinity, but every man he’s tempted fell prey to insecurity, glory, or needs, so he went this route. We see this in Matthew 4:1-11 where Satan tempts Jesus with food (need, as he was fasting; verses 2-3), insecurity (verses 5-6) and glory (verses 8-9). Each attempt Satan made he started with the word “if,” similar to what he did with Eve by implanting doubt into the statement. But the insecurity trick is the most intriguing to me as we move forward in this progressive-driven world.

Satan in his wisdom of scripture and trickery says, “IF you are the son of God, throw yourself down” (emphasis mine) and then follows that with scripture (Psalm 91:11-12). This is just like what happens to us now. We may hear a voice in ourselves or a friend say, “If you feel this way then here’s a verse to help you,” but all we have to do is look at the first 2 verses of that psalm to see that it doesn’t apply to Jesus because He Himself is God, so He cannot take refuge in Himself. If we take these verses out of context and silo them, then we can do more harm than good in dealing with these times of doubt, because we don’t truly look at the conveying message. But evil, whether it be Satan or some other force, loves to pick things apart and deliver to us a broken message.

This is what makes staying in the Bible during these times that much more important, because we are weak and easily manipulated. It is also why it is important to keep attending a church, Bible study, etc. to keep that fellowship in our lives. But evil will always try to rip that part of our life out so we feel hopeless and worthless to God.

Covering the how and why in some detail in this post, the next element is how do we handle this. In the midst of the struggle, it is definitely easier said than done to go to church, talk to fellow Christians, be in the Bible, etc. So the next important thing is to look at is what we can do to begin just talking to God again and to know that God hears us and loves us, wants our attention and to bless us with light. Stay tuned for my next blog post for that.

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