The Unseen Enemy
Not long ago, back pain led me to a medical clinic, then to chiropractors, then to a spine specialist, then to an MRI center, then to the hospital, and ultimately to surgery.
I thought I had a spine alignment issue, or disc pressing on a nerve. However, the MRI showed a Staph infection had woven its tentacles about the front and back sides of my upper spine. It was threatening to advance toward my heart and lungs. Surgeons told me the infection clung tenaciously. In fact, after an eight-hour surgery, doctors determined it could not be removed entirely and ordered a powerful antibiotic to be administered via IV for eight weeks.
Medical staff told my family that if my surgery were a week or so later, I would likely not have survived. The infection I could not see, had its sights on destroying as much as possible. Remnants of the infection remained even after extensive surgery.
After eight weeks of IV antibiotics, the infection markers are close to normal, but there is a 35% chance of the infection returning. I must guard against this by having regular blood draws, doctor appointments, and taking daily medication for the rest of my life. If I neglect this protocol, I am at risk.
I share this story to remind Watchmen that just as an unseen infection attacked and almost killed me, there is an invisible, spiritual enemy who wants to “devour” you (1 Peter 5:8). It is my opinion that the more you do for the Lord, the more Satan will identify you as a threat and target. A victory over this enemy yesterday does not guarantee he will not attack again tomorrow.
The enemy is stealthy and tenacious. He relentlessly looks for opportunities to devour and destroy. He wants you to forget or neglect the proper spiritual protocol—to pray, worship, stay connected with brothers and sisters in the faith, read the Word, stay in God’s will, and armor up (Ephesians 6:10-18).
Satan hopes you will be unaware of his schemes and intent. He does not want you to know that Scripture calls him Apollyon (a Greek term that means destroyer). Satan is subtle and crafty; He inches his way into our schools, government, media, and churches.
Satan is an expert at facilitating compromise, redefining right and wrong, and advancing the idea that there is no God or ultimate truth. Today, many churches and individual Christians have compromised their convictions and, in the name of tolerance, progressivism, inclusion, and postmodernism, forsaken doctrines they know in their heart to be true.
1 Timothy 4:1 states that in the last days, “some will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils…” Watchmen must speak against this insidious infection. Watchmen must warn Christians (and sometimes pastors) to embrace true doctrine, recognize the lateness of the hour, and proclaim that the day of the return of the Lord draws near.
Watchmen have a great responsibility. Boldness is required. Recognizing this, Paul wrote to Timothy:
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So, do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord…” (2 Timothy 1:7-8a)
Watchmen are bold. They are not ashamed of their faith and are not timid as they witness for the Lord. Watchmen speak with love, but also speak the truth of Scripture. Paul knew well that there is a cost associated with being a bold witness for the Lord. He was willing to pay the price because he knew a great and eternal reward awaits those who sacrifice for the sake of the Kingdom. Paul led by example, and that contributed to his effectiveness in ministry. Paul did not tell Timothy to make sacrifices he was not willing to make himself. Instead, he wrote, “…join with me in suffering for the gospel…” (2 Timothy 1:8b).
Let us remember that what Paul wrote to Timothy centuries ago applies to Watchmen today. A wise pastor once said, “If you feel like you’re coasting along, you’re probably going down-hill.” Watchmen are not to coast or take the easy road. Watchmen walk the high road and like Paul, lead others by example, to live out their faith.
My Staph infection was not seen on three sets of Xray’s. It was subtle but lethal. It put me in the hospital for 32 days. I will require follow-up care for months and be on medication until the Lord takes me home.
In the spiritual realm, the invisible enemy lurks like an infection. He “prowls about like a hungry lion, seeking those whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8a). The enemy wants the world to be unaware of his schemes and intent. He is crafty, stealthy, and deadly. Watchmen, let us rise up and be God’s “chosen instrument” (2 Tim. 2:21) in “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).
Warn others about how the enemy works. Watch for signs that point to the timing of the return of Christ. Pray with and for others. Serve your neighbor and your church. Sacrifice for the cause of Christ. Lead by example. This is what it means to rise up and be a Watchman for the Lord.
Rise up Watchmen. Be aware. Live strong. Finish well.
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