Years ago I worked in the military. Upon joining the military, it turned out I will have to undergo military training. Not quiet what I expected! Part of the training, included combat training. Combat is when two armed forces are fighting, like in warfare. During that training, not only did I learn how to disassemble and assemble the weapons, clean and load the weapons but I was also trained on how to use those weapons. I am trained on how to use the 9mm pistol and R5 rifle to be precise. These are called ranged weapons. You use these weapons when your enemy is at a distance.
We were also trained in what is called “hand to hand combat”, this is a technique used in close-quarters combat. For those unexpected situations that your enemy will just emerge at a close range. You tackle them using your hands, striking any soft spot you can find, in order to hurt, cripple or kill the enemy.
But we were never effectively trained on how to deal with the enemy that might arise within us. That is why it is very common in the military to find a great General turning the very same weapon he is suppose to use on the enemy, on himself. Because he could not silence the voice of the enemy within.
We all have this enemy.It creeps into our lives at the weirdest moments, at a time we do not expect it. This enemy knows no class, race or creed. It invades the mind of people who live in mansions and those who live in shacks. It has no respect for kings who live in palaces. We all know king David in the bible. This is the man whom God called “a man after My own heart.” David was a warrior. Prior to killing Goliath, David had ‘hand to hand combat’ with the lion and the bear. He won the fight and killed both the lion and the bear. We all know how David killed a giant Philistine called Goliath with a stone (a distant weapon).
David was very good at fighting outside battles, but struggle with inside battles. He had conquered many of Israel’s enemies, but could not conquer seeing Bathsheba bathing. We all know how this encounter nearly led to the fall of one of the greatest kings of Israel , had it not been of his repentant heart.
The enemy that is more capable of causing real harm is not the one out there, but the one within us. This enemy manifest itself in different ways; insecurity, pride, shame, guilt, fear, anxiety, you name it. When you allow fear, insecurity, shame or even guilt to occupy the throne of your life, then they become your master, and rule over your life and steal your joy and peace.
For a very long time I thought the enemy I was fighting was in my circumstances, I was wrong because the real giant was within me. I spent so much time focused on the enemy without, without realising that these are things or circumstances I have no control over. You can’t control being broke, you can’t control people walking away from you, you can’t control frenemies talking about you, you can’t control being disappointed or rejected, but you can silence the voices that magnify the outside circumstances.
I wasted my efforts wrestling with other people, trying to change their minds about me, until I realise that it does not matter what they think about me. Their opinion of me is not of interest to God. It is not what they say about me that matters, it is what I say about myself that threatens my destiny.You will never be deafeated by what they say about you, you will always be deafeated by what you say about yourself. Charles Spurgeon says “Beware of no man more than of yourself; we carry our worst enemies within us.” Surely the devil is our enemy, but not the greatest enemy of mankind, man is his own biggest enemy.
When we allow this enemy to speak lies through our situation, he pickpockets our purpose, cripple our courage, dismantle our dreams and blind us to the beauty of Christ’s powerful love. This is the enemy that cause people to make permanent decisions over a temporary seatback. Forgetting that no season of life is permanent.
It is not easy to detect this enemy from outside. Some of the people who appear to be very confident on the outside are battling great giants in the inside. That is why we must not admire other people’s live based on what we see on the outside because we don’t know the size of the enemy inside of them.
We have more to fear from within than we have from outside. Here is a thought provoking statement, ‘the greatest burden we have to bear in this life is self, self is the most difficult thing we have to manage.’
Whilst the military training armed me to fight battles using physical weapons of warfare, I soon realise that ‘this, enemy needed a different kind of weapon, the Sword. Yes, the Sword of the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 10 v 4 – 5 tells us that we must know the Word of God well enough to be able to compare what is in our mind with what is in the mind of God; any thought that attempts to exalt itself above the Word of God we are to cast down and bring into captivity to Jesus Christ.