It is frustrating to discover something at sixty that you really needed to know when you were thirty. Of course, I might not have listened, or the information may have had little application in my life at the time, but I still wish someone had made the attempt. Maybe they did and just I don’t remember.

Those of us that place an importance on obeying the Great Commission would do well to ask God, “What does this person I am discipling need to hear right now that will dramatically change their life?” God will answer that question, over and over again. I hope and pray you will consider the following as one installment in that process.

Enemy #1

Perhaps the most important thing every disciple of Jesus Christ needs to know is the identity of their number one enemy.

Most would suggest that Satan is the number one enemy of God and His children. “The devil made me do it,” popularized by Flip Wilson in the 1970s, has found its way into the Western church. It is the way we like to think. The devil is our most popular enemy. In our confusion, we have ignored one of the most astounding claims in all of Scripture:

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7

Satan has no power over the resisting Christian! Perhaps something else is inhibiting our resistance.

Other well-meaning Christians point to the world as our number one enemy. The government and big business are particularly favorite targets. Turning to Scripture, we again find a flaw in our thinking.

But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14

God Himself, through the cross, has separated us from the world. The world has no power over the Christian who will just say no. Perhaps something other than the world is responsible for our moral failures.

Neither the world, nor Satan, have the power to force their will on a follower of Jesus Christ. They would not be celebrating a single victory without an ally, hidden in the camp. That ally is our carnal mind.

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. Romans 8:7

The carnal mind grants, perhaps even orchestrates, the entry and influence of Satan and the world into our lives. Indeed, the carnal mind is much more responsible for the evil we entertain than we have imagined.

The carnal mind has been our greatest enemy all along. Not only does it reside within the camp, mostly hidden from our observation, but we have given it the place of trusted advisor. We regularly turn to our carnal mind for solutions and reasoning about one thing or another. The carnal mind has ready access to whisper into our souls to stir up fears and false hopes. It leverages ego and id to maintain control and influence.

As the famous comic character Pogo once said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

Exposing the carnal mind as God’s number one enemy may be the most significant thing we ever do for those we are called to disciple. And it’s not hard; begin by sharing this article.

God bless you with grace to make disciples through the Spirit’s renewing of their minds.

Humbly yours and forever His,