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The Enemy, Part 3

"When people inquire as to the relevance of our gospel, we must not be tricked into going on the defensive. We must immediately take the offensive, for our Lord Himself has promised that the gates of hell shall not withstand the assault of His Church."

Dr. Leighton Ford


God is calling each soldier in His army to become personally involved in the battle to win this world for Christ. No longer can we rely solely upon great preachers to do our fighting for us. Billy Graham said, "Mass crusades, to which I have committed my life, will never finish the job; but one to one will."

The answer to the dilemma of how to reach the unsaved is for each of us to do battle right in our workplace, to rub shoulders with those held captive by the enemy. Each of us has a unique sphere of influence.

As Christians we are called to follow Jesus and be "fishers of men." If we are not preaching the Word in season and out of season, it is probably because we are following at too great a distance. We can neither see His example nor hear His voice. Those who follow close to the Master will know His voice. They will obey it and be true and faithful witnesses.

If you are going to do anything for the kingdom of God, be ready for unexpected abuse. This may come through a Christian brother or sister-the place least expected. Satan spoke directly through Peter in an attempt to stop Jesus from doing the will of the Father. It was David's elder brother who tried to discourage him from slaying Goliath.

A zealous Christian once had a conversation with his mother that totally discouraged him from seeking the lost. She was his own flesh and blood, and he listened to her speak nothing but discouragement for over an hour. She told him of his foolishness in wanting to preach when he hadn't even been through seminary. Who was he to go around telling people about their need of Christ, when he wasn't even trained to be a minister! Words of death went right into his heart and stole his courage. He lost his zeal, his direction, and his desire to do anything for the kingdom of God. It was only when he gave himself to prayer that he realized Satan's subtlety. The enemy will stop at nothing to get you back into the barracks of your local church building. He wants you worshiping God and ignoring His will. He will use any mouthpiece available, and there are plenty of willing lips. Jesus told us to watch out for this: "What I say to you I say to all, Watch" (Mark 13:37).

Satan will often withhold an attack until you are in a place of vulnerability. He will not strike when you are full of faith and power, but when you are tired, fasting, or carrying a problem on your shoulders. If you witness or preach open-air, you may be approached by a Christian brother or sister who will say things like, "You're doing a fine job, but do you think you are really doing any good?" They will tell you that you should just be living the Christian life rather than confronting people about their sin.

Satan has no mercy. He will stomp on you when you are down and dig his grimy heel into the back of your neck. Don't listen to his lies! Satan hates you and has a rotten plan for your life. Your downfall is his delight. So, keep your shield of faith held high and "watch."

We should love the word encouragement. Robert Louis Stevenson said, "Keep your fears to yourself but share your courage with others." This was clearly illustrated in the lives of Joshua and Caleb, who had positive, hopeful, valiant, courageous, optimistic spirits. This is also called "faith."

If we can't say something positive, we shouldn't say anything. The children of Israel were told not to speak as they walked around the walls of Jericho. What they were doing was foolish. They were opening themselves to the ridicule of the enemy. It would have been hard to say anything positive, but when they did say something, it brought the downfall of the enemy, not their brethren. Let's be the same. May we never be a vehicle of the enemy, and may each of us be ready to lift our shield high so that subtle words of discouragement are deflected from their target.[1]

[1] Cameron, K., & Comfort, R. (2004). The school of biblical evangelism: 101 lessons: How to share your faith simply, effectively, biblically-the way Jesus did (265-268). Gainesville, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers.