“Know Your Enemy”

Sun Tzu, ancient Chinese military strategist and author of “The Art of War.” Image credit

In the 5th century B.C., ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu wrote “The Art of War.”[1] In this military treatise, Sun Tzu explained the importance of knowing our enemy.
So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be put at risk even if you have a hundred battles. If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose. If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.[2]
When we know our enemies, we would have a better chance of winning against them. When we don’t know our enemies, we would probably lose against them.

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As far as the Bible is concerned, we have three enemies, that is, the devil, the world and the flesh.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, [#1 The World] following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience [#2 The Devil] —among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, [#3 The Flesh] and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Ephesians 2:1-3)[3]
Somebody has put it this way, “The devil is the enemy over us, the world is the enemy around us and the flesh is the enemy within us.” 

But, we are not outnumbered. As Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile (a council member of The Gospel Coalition) summed it up,
The basic strategy for our warfare: Kill the flesh. Hate the world system. Stand against the devil. Fight happily because everyone in Christ overcomes the world by faith in the Son of God
Yes, because of our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, we are overcomers.
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:4-5, ESV)
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“Spiritual Warfare” Step
The apostle Paul wrote, we should be careful “so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.” (2 Corinthians 2:11) What are the advantages that we know our enemies, that we are not ignorant of his strategies?

[1] “The Art of War,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Art_of_War, accessed July 1, 2016.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Adapted from Thabiti Anyabwile (6 September 2012), “Notes On Spiritual Warfare,” The Gospel Coalition, retrieved from https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/. Emphasis added.


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