• Steve Derenge

Who is the Real Enemy?

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

(Matthew 5:43-48 ESV)

Do you consider certain people or groups to be your enemies? ISIS, Nazis, feminazis, male chauvinists, the KKK, Westboro Baptists or other hatemongers, secular humanists, certain gangs or terrorist groups, mass rapists, criminals, etc? Some of these groups may be easier to love or hate than others, depending on how each individual has been impacted by them.

It may be downright difficult to love people from some of these groups. How it is possible to move from hate to love?

Identifying the real enemy may be helpful. Consider these passages:

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12 ESV)

What might this verse have to tell us about the issue? Our real enemy isn’t the people involved in these groups, but the evil spirits who are operating over and within the individuals of the group. The individuals in these groups are the victims of the real enemy who has taken them captive:

“And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:24-26 ESV)

Consider “feminazis,” here defined as women who hate men and blame all the world’s evil on men. Their bitterness and hatred keeps them disconnected from the love of Christ that alone has the power to destroy the evil within men and women. If we understand that the real enemy here is not feminazis, but evil spirits such as “Jezebel spirits” that have hindered them from receiving God’s love and blinded their minds from seeing reality clearly, then it will be easier to have compassion on them and to correct them with gentleness.

The same applies to the other groups, whom the devil has taken captive through his kingdom hierarchy of principalities and demonic spirits of sexual immorality (1), religion (2), error (3), antichrist (4), perversion (5), jealousy (6), etc.

To see God’s plan of salvation, which includes deliverance from demons, see my article “Would You Like to Kick Satan’s Butt Personally?”

  1. C.f. Hosea 4:12; 5:4; Colossians 3:5; etc.

  2. The term “spirits of religion” refers to demons who bring their hosts to manifest legalistic attitudes that relate to God from self-righteous performance rather than from love and the fear of the Lord (as children and servants of God). “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 5:26-27 ESV)

  3. C.f. 1 John 4:6; 1 Timothy 4:1

  4. C.f. 1 John 4:3

  5. C.f. Isaiah 19:14

  6. C.f. Numbers 5:11-14; Proverbs 6:34-35. For one classification on various kinds of evil spirits, see this YouTube video starting around 2:28:00. I don't claim it to be comprehensive, but at least a good introductory from one minister's experience.


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