Summary: Humanity has some very real enemies and these enemies often use stealth to intimidate us and to undermine our lives. If we can identify them we will better be able to deal with our enemies.
Disguise and camouflage are important tactics in warfare.
General Peter Cosgrove is the recently retired Chief of the Australian Defence Force. In his autobiography he tells about his first tour of duty as a young lieutenant in Vietnam. His first posting was at a base near the village of Dat Do. The purpose of the base was to house army engineers. These Aussie soldiers would use giant bulldozers with a huge chain dragged between them to rip down vegetation. The purpose of this was to deny the enemy any possibility of concealment in the jungle. So huge tracts of jungle were just ripped down and burnt – that way no one could hide (p71). The Aussies were removing any camouflage that might possibly be used for evil purposes.
Another important ally in warfare is good intelligence.
I have a friend who served in the SAS. Part of his duty was to spend time training a the army of a neighboring nation. One time, I asked him why Australian soldiers were training our nearest international neighbours – wouldn’t we be giving away important information about our battle capabilities? And his reply was that he always made a point of learning more than he taught! In part, his role in training these troops was an intelligence gathering tactic. And this intelligence served him well when he was later deployed to that nation on peace keeping duties.
I’m sure most of us here have faced some battles in life. Sometimes we may be living at peace, but there are times for all of us where the wheels fall off and it seems like we’re in an all-out war zone!
What’s with that? Why is life like that?
We’ll this morning I want to take a big bulldozer and a long chain and start knocking down some jungle so we can get a good look at what’s behind our battles.
And I also want to pass on some good intelligence that has come in from our Commanding Officer – Intelligence that will help you in your deployment in day-to-day battle, so-to-speak.
You are a terrorist target. You see, according to the Bible, humanity has some very real enemies – and these enemies often use stealth to intimidate us and to undermine our lives.
So this morning I want to pull back and lay flat the jungle that is hiding these enemies – and then I want to give you some good intelligence about how you can start to defend yourself against them.
1. ENEMY NUMBER ONE - THE WORLD (James 4:4)
You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God (James 4:4 NIV).
“The World” is the Bible’s way of talking about our human society that operates separate from God. – The systems of the world that are in opposition to God.
a) Friendship with “the world”
… don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God?(James 4:4).
b) Love for “the world.”
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him (1 John 2:15 NIV).
c) Conforming to “the world.”
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind … (Romans 12:2 NIV)
The “ways of the world” are the enemy of God – and they are the enemy of God’s people. And they can creep into our lives quietly, almost undetected. But whoever chooses to be a friend of “the world” is no friend of God.
2. ENEMY NUMBER TWO - THE FLESH (James 4:1 and 5)
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? (James 4:1 NIV)
By the term “the flesh” the Bible means that part of us that is prone to sin.
"Put away all falsehood and tell your neighbor the truth ... don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you ... If you are a thief, stop stealing. Begin using your hands for honest work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful ... And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live ... Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behaviour" (Eph 4:25-31 NLT).
Notice that Paul says, "do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live." Sometimes the devil gets all the blame for the bad stuff in our lives. But we need to look at ourselves first. Sometimes our battles are simply a result of the stupid and sinful choices we ourselves have made.