Our Three Enemies - Fresh Start for Moms
Our Three Enemies
WE HAVE THREE ENEMIES, Tim Keller says. And contrary to what I sometimes assume, they don’t go by the names of Tyler (my husband), Vivi, or Vana (my girls). Nope. My enemies are the world, the flesh, and the devil. Today, momma, we are suiting up so we can learn how to respond to the real enemies instead of devoting energy to battling those who are, in fact, on our teams.
Maybe you’ve had days when you feel like you are taking on the greatest evil that ever lived: a toddler who hasn’t napped and is demanding dinner. Or maybe you’ve teamed up with your kids to feel like the victims of your husband, who got home late again.
Even the idea that we could see our kids or spouse as the enemy reveals that we have another enemy who is working aggressively to convince us that ripping our teammates apart is the way to feel better or get what we want. It isn’t.
Let’s talk specifics. Being aware of our real enemies and their usual tactics is the first step to defeating them.
Enemy #1: The world. Our world constantly lies to us about motherhood, and those lies can hold us back from enjoying the life God has graciously given us. We are currently living in enemy territory, and we can’t get so comfortable that we start thinking this place is our home. When we do, the lies can seep in and defeat us. As it says in 1 John 5:19-20, “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ” (NIV).
Enemy #2: The flesh. We were born sinners, and because of this, we don’t have a natural bent toward holiness. We are constantly fighting against our flesh, which is wired to choose evil. As hopeless as that sounds, as believers we are overflowing with hope because the Holy Spirit is at work in us. But we have to know our natural bent so we don’t trust every thought that comes to mind. Instead of going along with our natural tendencies, we need to set our minds on something better. Romans 8:5-6 says, “Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (ESV).
Enemy #3: The devil. The devil has not a single good plan for our lives. He is out to destroy us. If he’s missed the chance to keep us enemies of God, he will at the very least try to keep us so busy and distracted that we won’t recruit anyone to the Lord’s side. Those distractions might come in the form of thinking of ourselves too much or even in the form of something good, like establishing our kids’ healthy physical habits, but at the expense of neglecting their hearts. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (NIV).
The ally: God. Sometimes, as crazy as this might sound at first, we can treat God like the enemy. We balk at his direction. We assume we have a better plan. We get upset because life isn’t going the way we’d hoped, and we assume it’s because God has forgotten us or, worse, that he sees us but just doesn’t care. That’s when we need to remember that God sent his Son to die so that we could have life. Did you catch that? A full life. When our days get crazy, we have to run into the arms of God in full assurance that we are safe there, instead of running into the arms of the enemy.
The next time you feel like you are bracing for a fight, identify the real enemy. Is the enemy really your kid who is fighting bedtime, or is it the lie of the world that your comfort is most important and your demands should be met perfectly? Meditate on these verses today: Romans 8:1-11; Ephesians 6:12; and 1 Peter 5:8.
Father, I’ve been fighting the wrong enemies—and it’s exhausting. Arm me with your truth. Help me to identify my real enemies, and help me to create a strong alliance in my family and with you. In Jesus’ name, amen.
TAKEAWAY TODAY | Who do you tend to assume your enemies are?
Which real enemy (the world, the flesh, or the devil) trips you up the most?
DREADING TODAY | Is there anything you’re dreading today?
REDEFINING TODAY | If so, what is another way you can view that thing you’re dreading?
ASKING GOD TODAY | What request are you bringing before the Lord today?
REFLECTION | Were there any moments today when you sensed that God was your ally?
LITTLE VICTORIES | Where did you see God show up even in small ways, reminding you that you aren’t alone?
WHITE FLAG MOMENTS | When did you want to hide or escape today?
MEMORY OF THE DAY | What do you want to relish and thank God for?