Wednesday, June 30, 2010

There's an Enemy in the Camp

“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (nlt) Those words became very real to me almost two decades ago when an enemy entered the camp.

For years I imagined the enemy displaying himself in the life of a person overtaken by hatred, anger, cursing and an outward display of vile behavior. However, this was not the way the enemy entered.

Clothed with charm, disguised in beauty she stepped into our lives. With words of affirmation carefully chosen she began to orchestrate the circumstances to her favor at all cost. People were merely pawns as in a chess game. Oh, she played the game so well!

Division came into the camp as she stood innocently like a shinning star. Many were awe struck by her charm. Many were fearful of her cunning skill as a master manipulator.

Disguised as a genuine and caring person, she was very aware of who was able to discern her true character. Behind closed doors, she let the wall of deceit down and openly exposed the ugliness. Once outside the doors she once again, clothed herself in the garments of charm and deceit.

Relationships were broken, lives were impacted, and joy was taken. I had never been so aware of a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”. Able to escape without loosing blood of my own, I moved on in life with a lesson that I hoped to never repeat.

This past year, an enemy once again came into the camp. This one was very similar in character but did not profess to know the Lord as Savior. Whew! That was actually a relief.

As she entered our camp with the same charm and beauty as I had observed years earlier, my discernment began to warn me. As smoothly as she entered she began to slide into place and position herself in order to start the game of chess.

With words that spoke contrary to what my discernment told me her plans were, she inched her way in one step at a time. Without surprise I watched it all play out the way my discernment had warned me it would. Within a few months things began to change.

Once again, through the manipulation of one person, division came into the camp. Relationships were broken, lives were impacted and joy was taken.

As I have had time to reflect on both of these situations and recognize the enemy’s hand working through a person, I consider myself fortunate that I was able to escape without great personal scathing in both circumstances. Although I realize that I was more fortunate than others.

With that said, I have learned a few valuable lessons from these experiences.

First and foremost I have realized the need to be prepared at all times. “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (nlt) I cannot let my guard down. The Lord has already won the final battle but every day the enemy is looking for opportunities to take away my joy, to destroy relationships and destroy the life I have been given.

Second I have become ever aware that the audience of whom I serve is the Lord Jesus. “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ”. (nasb)

When my life is pleasing to Him then I will make decisions in my life that I will protect me from living a life of deceit to others. I have realized more than ever how much I desire to be a person of genuine character, pleasing to the Lord. I never want to give the enemy permission to use my life to destroy others.