The Bible teaches us that the three enemies of the Christian are the world, the flesh and the devil. Yet, we are not left defenseless. We are promised ways to overcome these three enemies as well as given help by the different persons of the Trinity in our battle.
Enemy: The World
When the Bible talks about the world being our enemy it is not talking about the dirt and rock we live on. The Bible is referring to the system and philosophies of the world. This is the constant undercurrent of pride and humanism that says we can anything we want to do in our own power. It is a philosophy that pushes out God. Even Christians are tempted to think that they can live godly lives without the help of God and His guidance. This is the world trying to control our thinking. (John 15:18-25; I John 2:15-17)
While I John talks about the world being our enemy to pull us away from God in chapter 2 verses 15 through 17, the book also tells us in chapter 5 verses 4 and 5 that our defense is faith in God. This faith is in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins. Salvation is our defense over the world. This does not mean that we will never be tempted by the world, but that we can overcome the world through faith in God and His work.
Helper: God the Father
The love of God will come along side us and protect us from the world. When we place our attention and love toward God, our attraction to the world will diminish. (I John 2:15)
Enemy: The Flesh
Paul tells in Romans 7 about an internal struggle that he faces. While he wants to do good, he has a war within him because his flesh desires evil. Even the Apostle Paul who wrote half of the New Testament struggled with his own flesh. This internal struggle is shown in Romans 7:14-25. Even after our salvation the flesh is still present with us.
Defense: Walking in the Spirit
However, Paul did not walk away giving us no hope. He opens chapter 8 of Romans with these great words:
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. —Romans 8:1-5
God desires to guide us through His Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God can help us overcome the flesh. Yes, there is an enemy, but there is also a provided defense. (Galatians 5:16, 17)
Helper: Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit indwells the believer. Romans 8:8, 9 says that the Holy Spirit is within us to guide us through this battle with the flesh.
Enemy: The Devil
The devil is an enemy who confronts each of us. We are powerless on our own to stand against him. However, we are given examples in the Bible of how to overcome this formidable foe. We know the end of the story told in the Bible. We are convinced that the devil will be defeated; but, until then we struggle with a day-to-day battle with him and his attacks.
Jesus Christ gives us a good example of how to deal with the attacks of the devil. The Bible tells us in Matthew 4 when Jesus was tempted by the devil that Jesus quoted scripture as His own defense. The devil even tried to twist God’s Word in his temptation of Christ (Matthew 4:6). Jesus continued to quote scriptures back to the devil.
An interesting contrast is the way in which the devil incorrectly quoted God’s Word when speaking to Eve in the garden. He was able to cause Eve to doubt God’s love for her and Adam because she wasn’t certain of exactly what God had said. This is a good lesson to us to learn what the Bible actually says instead of twisting the scriptures to say what we want them to say.
Helper: Jesus Christ
Of course Jesus is the one who conquers Satan in the end. Jesus has already delivered a death blow to Satan on the cross. The war is already determined, we just have a few more battles to fight. Jesus’ resurrection sealed the devil’s fate. This was all prophesied back in the third chapter of the Bible. God tells Satan in Genesis 3:15 that a child would come who would bruise the head of Satan. The Old Testament is filled with stories of a people eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Redeemer to save them from their greatest enemy—the devil.
Yes there are enemies we must face every day; however, we are also given defenses and protection by God to overcome these enemies.