UNLEASHED Vol. 3 – The Enemy

 

 

Summary

  1. Our battle and who it’s against:

    1. The Enemy: Ch. 8 “Wild at Heart” (I encourage you to read this book) I appreciate Eldredge’s view of the enemy.  I have added scriptures and my experiences to his outline.

      1. Three Fold: The traitor within (the flesh), the world, and the devil.

      2. There is a real enemy out there, looking to seek, kill, and destroy you!

      3. Don’t go passive, don’t believe the lie that the enemy does not exist.

    2. The Flesh:  Matthew 26:41 “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

      1. We all sin, no one is perfect, and we have all fallen.  Ecclesiastes 7:18b-20.  Ever since the fall of Adam, struggle has ensued.  Jeremiah 17:5 “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord.”  We all deal with selfishness and other shortcomings.

      2. Read Romans 7:15-25 Struggle of flesh with right and wrong.

      3. We are not our sin!!!  God designed us with a good heart! 

    3. The World: Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

      1. We talked about lies from our culture in vol. 1.  We are constantly reminded of this in the news.  Just look, there are always stories of greed, scandal, etc… locally, nationally, and globally.

      2. The world is selling lies, lies that are meant to numb us from remembering there is good vs. evil and right/wrong, and that those MATTER! Moral disintegration. 

        1. Psalm 17:14 “By your hand, save me from such people Lord, from those of this world whose reward is in this life.”

        2. John 15:19 “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”

    4. The Devil: John 8:44 he is “the father of lies.”  He is our biggest enemy, and yet possibly the one we talk about or battle the least. 

      1. In “Wild at Heart” on pages 154-155 Eldredge points out several examples from the Bible where Satan purposefully afflicted people with hardships.  He can come right along with our flesh and speak lies directly to us!  He comes to seek, kill, and destroy us and our families.  He hates us. 

      2. I believe that right now his number one target is the family, and it has been for a while now.  Look at our nation, many of the cultural issues we are facing are due to the breakdown of the family. It is SO important we, as men, as leaders, battle well!!! 

      3. Ever heard, “The devil is in the details?”  He’s subtle, sneaky, and low.  He is going to wait, patiently, and jump in at your weakest moment to take a challenging situation and make it worse. 

  2. Our weapons / strategy and how to fight against that which is coming against us:

    1. We have to battle our flesh!  Three links of support.

      1. Link one, GOD!!!  Psalms 73:26 “My flesh and my heart fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  Romans 8:6 “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”  Galatians 5:13-25 live in the Spirit.  Go to prayer and His Word!

      2. Link two, your wife (if you are blessed enough to have one). Share your heart with her.  Bring her along your journey.  Let her know when you are battling, she can be a support for you!

      3. Link three, your brothers in Christ.  Be known, have a group to talk to.

        1. When I’m in my flesh, it’s always when I’m ignoring God and trying to do things on my own.   I stop trusting… 

    2. We have to battle the world!  Again, we have to go to our links of support. 

      1. Link one, God!  Pray!  Go to scripture!  Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world.”  SO IMPORTANT to have daily devotional time with Jesus!  Don’t believe the lie that you are “too busy” that’s what the enemy wants you to think!  John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  We are in a battle weather you want to admit it or not!  We must be that “light” and battle for God! 

      2. Link two, wife.  Talk with your wife!  Let her know what lies the world is throwing at you.  She can support you and strengthen you.  Pray together about it!  Battle together!

      3. Link three, brothers.  Talk and meet with your brothers!  Let your guys know what’s chewing on you, they can be there to support.  Be held accountable!  Don’t hide.

        1. For me, when the enemy lies through the world it is usually in the form of attacking my priorities.  It often lies to me and tells me I don’t make enough money, I need…

    3. We have to battle the devil: Know your enemy!

      1. He is limited.  He’s bitter and mad, he’s already lost and he knows it!!!  He wants revenge but he knows he can’t win, so he’s fighting for small consolation prizes along the way (sadly we, those around us, and all of humanity are the consolation prizes).  On top of that, we have the most powerful GOD on our side!!!  So, once again we have to go to our links of support. 

      2. Link one, God!  Pray to God!  Pray out loud and rebuke the devil.  James 4:7 “Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” 

      3. Link two, wife.  Include your wife in the battle.  Let her know what’s going on with you.  Share your heart.  Trust her with your feelings, emotions, and your heart.  Allow her to become an ally.

      4. Link three, brothers.  As always, walk with your brothers.  You have a common enemy and the devil is probably using similar tactics on all of you.  Again, share, be honest, be known and see what sheading a little light into that dark place will do for you.

        1. For me, the devil attacks when I’m not getting my way or in other stressful situations, when I’m already challenged and/or weakened by trying to keep my flesh in check… 

  3. Questions to ponder:

    1. So men, reflect, where do you experience the enemy in your life the most?  The least?

    2. Can you identify the three categories of the enemy in your life?

    3. Are you battling well?  Are you battling at all?

    4. How’s your communication with God?

    5. How’s your communication with your wife?

    6. Do you have a group of guys to walk life with and be “known?”  If so, awesome!  If not, join us!  There is a place to add comments and have discussions based these writings on our website: 318menoffreedom.com look for “unleashed writings” or connect at Facebook or e-mail at 318menoffreedom@gmail.com

I want to encourage you to battle well!  Don’t do it alone!  There’s a war going on and last time I checked, no one has won a war by themselves.  Don’t be passive, don’t be quiet, and don’t act like the enemy does not exist, BATTLE WELL!!!

As always, spread the word!  If you know guys in your life who are battling alone, send this forward and encourage guys to get on the e-mail list! 318menoffreedom@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Extended Version

  1. Our battle and who it’s against:

    1. The Enemy: Ch. 8 “Wild at Heart” (Again, I encourage you to read this book) I appreciate Eldredge’s view and description of the enemy.  I have also added scriptures and my experiences to his outline.

      1. Three Fold: The traitor within (the flesh), the world, and the devil.

      2. There is a real enemy out there, looking to seek, kill, and destroy you!

      3. We have to acknowledge this!  Don’t go passive, don’t believe the lie that the enemy does not exist.  We have to accept it and battle well!!!

    2. The Flesh:  Matthew 26:41 “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

      1. We all sin, no one is perfect, and we have all fallen short of the glory of God.  Ecclesiastes 7:18b-20.  Ever since the fall of Adam, struggle has ensued.  Jeremiah 17:5 “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord.”  We all deal with selfishness and other shortcomings; sometimes we are oblivious, other times we know and do it anyway. 

      2. Paul writes about it in Romans 7:15-25 “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.  What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?  Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

      3. However, it’s only a part of who we are.  We are not our sin!!!  God designed us with a good heart!  Our flesh fights against our true heart, which battles alongside the Spirit of God which is in us (Rom. 8:2-3 & 9-11).

    3. The World: Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

      1. We talked about lies from our culture in vol. 1.  “Get your strength here…” “Happiness is…” “You can get satisfaction from this…” “Achieve” “Success is the only measure” “Power is everything.” The world and our culture are not focused on God.  We are constantly reminded of this in the news.  Just look, there are always stories of greed, scandal, etc… locally, nationally, and globally.

      2. The world is selling lies, lies that are meant to numb us from remembering there is good vs. evil and right/wrong, and that those MATTER!!!  We are constantly being challenged to compromise our beliefs, to “fit in” which leads to moral disintegration. 

        1. Psalm 17:14 “By your hand, save me from such people Lord, from those of this world whose reward is in this life.”

        2. John 15:19 “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”

    4. The Devil: John 8:44 he is “the father of lies.”  He is our biggest enemy, and yet possibly the one we talk about or battle the least.  He is responsible for most of the people we see being “taken down” or “failing” around us.

      1. In “Wild at Heart” on pages 154-155 Eldredge points out several examples from the Bible where Satan purposefully afflicted people with hardships.  He can come right along with our flesh and speak lies directly to us!  We often, unknowingly buy in!  He is good at what he does!  He’s been studying humans for thousands of years.  He comes to seek, kill, and destroy us and our families.  He hates us.  He hates us because he hates God, and we love God, so in turn he wants to hurt us in order to hurt God.  He wants to destroy anything related or affiliated with God.

      2. I believe that right now his number one target is the family, and it has been for a while now.  Look at our nation, many of the cultural issues we are facing are due to the breakdown of the family.  That is why it is so important that we, as men, as leaders, battle well!!! 

      3. Ever heard, “The devil is in the details?”  He’s subtle, sneaky, and low.  He’s not going to jump out in front of you waving his arms and announcing his attack.  He is going to wait, patiently, and jump in at your weakest moment to take a challenging situation and make it worse.  Again, that’s why it is so important that we remain focused on Jesus as much as we can so we don’t allow the devil those opportunities, but of course none of us are prefect so it is going to happen.  However, as we battle well, we can lower the frequency and shorten up the recovery time from his attacks.

  2. Our weapons / strategy and how to fight against that which is coming against us:

    1. We have to battle our flesh!  We have to go to our three links of support. 

      1. Link one, GOD!!!  Psalms 73:26 “My flesh and my heart fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  I love this one!  So simple/true but so hard to do, Romans 8:6 “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”  Wow!  When it’s written like that, kind of a no brainer right???  Which sounds better to you?  Death?  Or life and peace?  Galatians 5:13-25 sums it up nicely, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.  For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”  

      2. Link two, your wife (if you’re lucky enough to have one).  Include her in on the daily battle of your life.  Share your heart with her.  Bring her along your journey, let her know who you really are.  Let her know when you are struggling, let her know when you are battling, she can be a support for you!

      3. Link three, your brothers in Christ.  Be known, have a group you can talk to, a group you can relate to.  Build a group you can bring anything to with no judgment, guys you can trust.  Ask for accountability.  Seek advice, seek council.  We have a common enemy, we all have our unique issues, but I guarantee as you open up and share, other guys will relate and have similar struggles with their flesh.

        1. When I’m in my flesh, it’s always when I’m ignoring God and trying to do things on my own.   I stop trusting.  I get tunnel vision on my own agenda and suddenly, ‘poof’, I’m off chasing my own desires and wants.  When I was younger (age 17-25), it was a deep desire to avoid feeling sad, weak, vulnerable, or pain.  I didn’t want to feel my heart, so I buried it.  My “self” and my image were so important, they had to be #1.  I pursued things that would distract me or make me feel better, numb the pain, indulging my flesh.  I knew it was wrong, but it seemed like the easier better option, so I went for it!  I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was trying to prove myself, by myself.  I had all the answers.  I was invincible.  Hear all the lies there???  Basically I was alone, weak and gave in to a lot of temptations that were distracting me from God; right where the enemy wanted me.  From age 26-33 I really started growing closer to the Lord but my flesh would fire up anger and resentment for trying to do the right thing.  I moved past most of those temptations what were chaining me down, and worked towards the servant leader role.  But, when things didn’t go my way, POW! Anger would explode at the drop of a hat!  I would resent those who I had to serve, because I “had” to serve.  My heart was moving forward but it still was very selfish and not to the place of “wanting” to serve.  Over the last few years, age 33-35, I am getting major traction on surrender, contentedness, gratitude, forgiveness, and being Christ-like.  I still struggle with anger, but it is getting smaller and it take longer for it to come out.  My fleshy anger is still right there under the surface but as I am growing closer to Jesus, I am able to surrender it to Him, even in the heat of the moment (when it matters the most!!!).  I am not perfect at it, I still get frustrated and lose it sometimes, but I am a different man now than I was even a few years ago, it’s all because I am working on denying my flesh and giving my heart to Jesus.  Now I am living out of my heart and staying focused on Him!  I don’t go hide or try to numb myself, I embrace His love and forgiveness.  Talking with my wife also helps me stay out of my flesh.  The more I share with her, the more she can help keep me focused in positive ways when she sees me drifting away.  Meeting and being “known” with other guys has also been a huge stepping stone in the right direction for me.  Getting advice and seeing that my issues are relatable with other guys I trust helps me want to work harder and improve.  All this heart change has all happened because I am utilizing my links of support and including all three of them in my life.

    2. We have to battle the world!  Again, we have to go to our links of support.  How do we battle the lies being flung at us daily, no hourly? 

      1. Link one, GOD!  Pray!  Go to scripture!  Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world.”  Man that motivates me!!!  Is it hard to remember that all the time, yes!  But that is why is it SO IMPORTANT to have daily devotional time with Jesus!  Don’t believe the lie that you are “too busy” that’s what the enemy wants you to think!  John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  We are in a battle weather you want to admit it or not.  The nice thing is that the battle is already won!!!  However, that does not let us off the hook (I know, I’m bummed too).  We must endure and preserve for His glory!  For the Kingdom!  For all the souls out there who need Jesus!  We must be that “light” and battle for God!  The Father will build your strength while you resist the world.

      2. Link two, wife.  Talk with your wife!  Let her know what lies the world is throwing at you.  She can support you and strengthen you.  Pray together about it!  Battle together!

      3. Link three, brothers.  Talk and meet with your brothers!  Let your guys know what’s chewing on you, they can be there to support.  Be held accountable!  Don’t hide.

        1. When the enemy is coming at me through the world it is usually in the form of attacking my priorities.  It often lies to me and tells me I don’t make enough money, I need newer nicer things (house, car, etc…), and I don’t have what it takes.  When I hear those, I begin reshuffling my priorities in my head, which is usually a trigger for me to know a lie is chewing on me.  The lies will start to make me think about taking time away from God and my family so “I can have more, or get more…”  They will start telling me I’m too busy or too tired to get my God devotional time in.  I’m not perfect, and there are days I skip that devotional time.  It is amazing how skipping just a few days a week can really take me out.  I miss that time and I can feel the disconnect when I’m too far from it.  Recently, that one has been a big struggle for me.  I’ve been working and trying to get up early to work out, not to mention take care of my wife and two boys and keep up the yard and see family and friends and get my guy time, and meet with my small group, and, and, and…  You get the point.  The enemy is straight up telling me, “You’re too tired, you’re too busy, it’s ok, and you’ll do it tomorrow.”  Then tomorrow comes and guess what, that same lie is waiting right next to the snooze button (I usually like to start my day off by doing my devotinaol time right away, I feel it helps me focus in on God and beginning my day off right, when I actually get up and do it that is). And the lies continue, trying to pull me away from my family and friends too…  There is no perfect time of day to connect with God, so do what you can to get it in.  At different points in the year, I get my time in during lunch, other times it’s in the morning.  Staying in continuous prayer with God helps me battle even when I am missing devotional time.  Communicating with Rachel really allows her to step into my various battles as an ally to support me.  Being known with a group of guys is so key!  Guys understand guys.  It’s nice to share and be heard, it’s a great way to process, relate, and grow.  I have several types of guys I am “known” with; some are current small group members, some are old small group members I still keep in touch with, and some are individual good men I’ve met along the way.  Either way, they all have one thing in common, they are men I trust.

    3. We have to battle the devil: Know your enemy!

      1. He is limited.  He’s bitter and mad, he’s already lost and he knows it!!!  He wants revenge but he knows he can’t win, so he’s fighting for small consolation prizes along the way (sadly we, those around us, and all of humanity are the consolation prizes).  On top of that, we have the most powerful GOD on our side!!!  We can’t back down from this fight, we can’t allow fear to take control.  So, once again we have to go to our links of support. 

      2. Link one, God.  Pray to God!  Pray out loud and rebuke the devil.  James 4:7 “Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  I love the visual picture I get in my head as I read that verse.  It empowers me so much to envision Satan running away from me with his pointy tail between his legs because I am resisting his lame attacks by running to the feet of my Father!!!

      3. Link two, wife.  Include your wife in the battle.  Let her know what’s going on with you, the devil wants you to be quiet and suffer alone.  Allow her to become an ally, not just a person on the sidelines.

      4. Link three, brothers.  As always, walk with your brothers.  You have a common enemy and the devil is probably using similar tactics on all of you.  Again, share, be honest, be known and see what sheading a little light into that dark place will do for you.

          1. For me, the devil attacks when I’m not getting my way or in other stressful situations, when I’m already challenged and/or weakened by trying to keep my flesh in check.  He gets me going on the self-righteous kick or a selfish kick which gets me mad and resentful.  Then pretty quickly I’m losing my temper over something that should not be that big of a deal, but of course don’t tell me that in the moment, because that’ll just make me more mad and resent you more.  Silly right?  But how many of us go there?  Is that really who we are?  Don’t we want to do better?  Aren’t we trying to do better?  Yes we are!  That’s the devil adding in that extra “poke” to get me over the edge.  Anger has been a big issue in my life.  I even met with a counselor for a summer a few years back to help me deal with it appropriately.  I still struggle, I’m not perfect at it but I’m getting there.  Prayer, focusing on being Christ-like, FORGIVING, openly talking with my wife, and flushing it out with my guys have been great avenues for me to work on this area of my life.  I spend time trying to identify my anger triggers and surrendering them to God, which also shows me where the devil is chewing on me.  By surrendering them to God, I can take away footholds the devil has on me.  Breaking the chains one at a time!!!!  It’s not easy, and the devil is not going to give up, but I have experienced amazing growth and peace by learning to truly surrender to God.  God has also shed light into the darkness through the people of God in my life, both my wife and brothers.  As I engage with them and share where the devil is having his way with me, it takes his power off from me and I can battle well, not allowing his grip to hold on.

  3. Questions to ponder:

    1. Reflect, where do you experience the enemy in your life the most?  The least?

    2. Can you identify the three categories of the enemy in your life?

    3. Are you battling well?  Are you battling at all?

    4. How’s your communication with God?

    5. How’s your communication with your wife?

    6. Do you have a group of guys to walk life with and be “known?”  If so, awesome!  If not, join us!  There is a place to add comments and have discussions based these writings on our website: 318menoffreedom.com look for “unleashed writings” or connect with us through e-mail at 318menoffreedom@gmail.com and you can get daily inspiration from our Facebook page search 3:18 Men of Freedom.

       

I want to encourage you to battle well!  Don’t do it alone!  There’s a war going on and last time I checked, no one has won a war by themselves.  Don’t be passive, don’t be quiet, and don’t act like the enemy does not exist, BATTLE WELL!!!

 

As always, spread the word!  If you know guys in your life who are battling alone, send this forward and encourage guys to get on the e-mail list!  318menoffreedom@gmail.com

 

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