Are We Fighting the Wrong Enemy?

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The Invisible War (5) – ’For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and gainst wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.’ Ephesians 6: 12

There was a preacher in Togo who set up a large camp where he gathered people to teach them what he called ‘dangerous prayers’. According to him, the cause of most of our ills is wicked men who in partnership with demons were set to trouble our lives and we are to stop them. His teachings were based on scriptural injunctions like Exodus 22:18; ‘Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live’, and other similar verses. And he taught the people to pray that these, their human enemies, would be destroyed by the ‘fire of the Holy Spirit’. This is indeed dangerous prayer because it is unbiblical to pray against our human enemy. We are called to pray for them.

This teaching might be new to some of you, but this erroneous interpretation of scripture is rampant in some places. I have heard some argue that David prayed against his enemies in the Psalms so why can’t we? Don’t they realise that that was in Old Testament times? Jesus teaches us explicitly otherwise. Now remember that David not only prayed that his human enemies would die, he also went out and killed them with God’s help! Are we to do that too? No, that was under the law. Grace teaches us differently. Jesus said,

“You have heard that the Law of Moses says, ‘Love your neighbour’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!  In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too.  If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.  If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.  But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48 (NLT)

This false teaching causes a lot of harm. It creates a set of Christians who are suspicious of others for every misfortune they encounter. It does not enhance love and fellowship among people. There are men who have abandoned their elderly mothers because they have ‘discerned’ that  they are the demonic agents troubling them. There are marriages that have been broken because the man has received a revelation that his wife is the witch troubling him.

This teaching feeds our carnal desire for revenge. If there is someone out there who is fighting us then we naturally want him or her to get their just punishment. Like James and John in Luke 9:54 when the crowd was against them, we often would like to ask God to send fire on the heads of our enemies. I recently heard a preacher justify this teaching by saying ‘Jesus told us to pray for our enemies but he didn’t tell us what to pray for them, so let’s pray that they fall and die!’

Now some of us may not have gone that far, but we do bear grudges against those who have hurt us and we wish in our hearts that they would be punished. That wish in itself is like praying against them. It’s ‘dangerous prayer’ too because it will harm us and God’s purposes. We are called to forgive those who hurt us. Please take time and meditate on the Lord’s words above.

What I want to point out now is that ‘we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms’. It is dangerous to be confused about who our enemy is.

Let us pray: Father, forgive us for every unforgiveness in us. We realise that no matter how wicked men may be to us, we are not to war against them but rather pray for your best for them. Lord, we repent of every error we have walked in, and receive from you grace to face our true enemies – the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world. Once again, Lord, we pray – Teach our hands to war and our fingers to fight in Jesus’ Name!

FOR FURTHER MEDITATION: Please go through all the references in the article especially Matthew 5:43-48 and also Romans 12:19-21, Luke 9: 51-56