We hear a lot in the news these days about wars and battles around the world. Politicians, the news media, and even the church will offer their views as to why they are happening. People in high positions will explain their strategies on how they plan to avoid or how they plan to engage in these wars.
Personally we may not be involved in such a battle. However, you could be involved in the battles of an industry that is facing mergers, job losses, repositioning, or pay-cuts, which often produce poor morale, fear, resentment and a host of other heart wrenching ailments. First of all, we must realize that these sorts of battles are real and unavoidable. Recognizing that the root sources of these battles don’t stem from the airline industry itself will help us work through them. Our workplace is only the battlefield where the drama of it is being played out.
These battles have been declared on us by three opponents, two of them stand apart from us and the third is in us. The Lord describes these three opponents as… the world, the devil, and the flesh.
First, the “world” here means the world’s system and not the physical world of plants, animals and minerals. It is the epitome of what humanity does without God. For instance, 1 John 2:15-17 describes how the world measures and determines what is important. It tells us how the world system encourages people to pursue a fulfilling life, by satisfying their desires and wants. The world system also measures importance by the status people gain in the eyes of others. Lastly, we are told how it measures importance by people’s accomplishments and their boasting in their achievements.
The second opponent, the devil, is a real spiritual being, who is seeking our demise. He is stronger than we are, yet his power is limited and cannot be exercised independent of God’s sovereignty. His strategy for creating chaos, fear, and bitterness in our life is done primarily by diverting our focus off of God and putting it on other things (1 Peter 5:8-9). As Christians we give the devil power in our lives when we relinquish our faith and obedience in the Lord.
Lastly, the “flesh” is our third opponent, and it is part of our makeup. Though the term “flesh” has complex usage in the Bible, it is spelled out in no uncertain terms. The flesh is described as a law or principle in each of us that opposes God (Romans 7:18). Its deeds are described in Galatians 5:19-21 as acts that can be personally and relationally destructive. However, upon our salvation in Christ we received the Holy Spirit, guaranteeing His saving work (Ephesians 1:13-14), by whom the deeds of the flesh can be rendered powerless (Roman 8:13). Furthermore, the Bible tells us that the flesh wars against the Spirit and these two stand in opposition to one another, creating an intense battle within us.
Knowing that these opponents are influencing your work and workplace, your engagement can only become effective when you realize that, “the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15).