Our Adversaries

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. [Matthew 5:5 ESV]

Meekness is God’s strength in those who are His under His control. This is a necessary distinction.  Meekness is not His strength under our control. We cannot control Him. Nor is it His strength in us under His control without our consent as if we played no part or had no stake in the results. Meekness is our recognition of God’s work and acknowledgment the outcome of His working is accomplished in spite of our involvement not because of it.

All He has for the citizen of His kingdom, those who remain in this world, is given through the conduit of faith. However, faith is much more than a conduit. Faith is uniquely suited to act as the focal point of all the tools available, bringing them to bear against any of the weapons of the enemy of the Christian. The strength of meekness is found in faith.

We have examined briefly truth, righteousness and peace. Truth is the intellectual ascent to everything spoken by God. It is the tool used to fight against the lies told to self, the world and Satan. Righteousness is the moral/emotional response to sin, or unrighteousness. Righteousness demands we trust God to fulfill the promise He has made in declaring us covered with Christ’s righteousness. Peace is an act of the will. Peace comes first by God’s will then given to us as we  submit our will to His. Thus, the whole person is involved in the fight, the struggle to live as a witness and in being prepared for eternity. By its very nature faith demands the whole person be involved, that is, the whole regenerated person. Faith becomes a tool of tools.

It is the responsibility of the one receiving God’s provision to use faith. There are three areas of assault upon the Christian where faith must be exercised. All three attack every aspect of Christian life, of our walk with Christ. Combined, these three adversaries present a alarming foe. They are the world in which we live, our own flesh, and our adversary, Satan, and those under his control.

Fallen humanity, those actively rebelling against God, comprises the world which seeks to destroy our peace with Him who is our peace. Filled with people who face themselves and not God, all made in the image of God, the world fights not only against God but against those who are God’s. War arises when self demands all for self, whether small family wars or large national wars. It is self which seeks to provide security at the expense of others. The world has no personality, but is filled with ungodly personalities. When Adam fell the world turned against Man. Part of the curse was a loss of control. From the fall to the end of time, man demands they have control. Meekness relinquishes control which brings peace, not with the world but with God.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. [1 John 2:15-17 ESV]

Secondly, the flesh, our own flesh, demands we follow sin and unrighteousness. Every person born, with the exception of Christ who was both God and man, was born totally depraved. This does not mean people can do no good. Total depravity means people can do nothing righteous, under their own power and strength. It is the corrupted image of God in each which draws each away from God to anything other than God. The evidence of this truth is found in the individual, expounded by a world filled with individuals. It is the flesh which draws toward the sinful acts found in the world. It is the flesh which lies, counterfeiting unrighteous motivations and presenting them as acceptable actions.

Where once we saw ourselves strong in our own abilities now the citizen has God’ strength.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. [Galatians 5:16-24 ESV]

Finally, we must speak of our Adversary, the one who lies, who was a liar from the beginning, who whispers lies to us until we see his lies as truth. We are susceptible to the lies of Satan. God is not. Faith recognizes the truth of God first and foremost. When tempted by a lie, truth through faith immediately rejects it and replaces it with truth. See the temptation of Christ in Matthew 4 and Luke 4. See how He countered each lie with revealed truth. Meekness is part of the turning away from sin toward God. When we face God we are not affected by the lie.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. [1 Peter 5:8 ESV]

But, there is a problem. We are still in the world, we still carry the sinful flesh around with us, and we are continually attacked by Satan. But, Christ has overcome the world. We are crucified with Him and have died to the world. Satan has been tried, judged, and sentenced, now awaiting the execution of his sentence. He has been stopped. The roaring lion is the old lion scaring prey into the clutches of those much younger. He still has great power, limited by God.

Meekness, strength under God’s control, translates into faith. And faith is a great fire, a tempering fire designed to burn all ungodliness from those who are citizens of God’s kingdom. Either we work with God to root out and destroy the evil in our lives, or we work against Him, being over whelmed and finally consumed by the evil. Either we face the fires of faith or the fires of hell.

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