"The Enemy Is Within!"

Our Internet and cable service was interrupted three and a half hours recently from about 6:20 to 9:40 p.m. By my recollection, this degree of service interruption has never happened in the thirty years we have been with this small rural service provider! I called the company’s customer service line the next morning to inquire as to the reason for this failure of service. The lady politely said that it was due to someone outside of the company accidentally cutting a major fiber optic cable. She told me that it took the cable company all those hours to restore the service. 

I explained that while we were retired and this was a minor inconvenience to us, I wondered how those with school aged children dealt with their assignments! I would learn later that our granddaughter did have an assignment due that evening and had to go to her other grandparents in Springfield to get it completed and sent to her teacher on time!  It amused me to hear what the customer service lady did. She simply reacted, “Well, I said to myself, looks like I’ll be reading a book this evening!” I told her that we decided to blow the dust off of our old DVD player and watch a dollar store movie. It was awful, but it provided light and sound for a couple of bored old people!

See, hear, and speak no evil!
Image Credit: freerangestock.com

The morning after, at breakfast (and before I had called the company), Monique and I replayed the night’s events or lack thereof. I wondered if anyone would even let us know what happened. I then speculated that the company would email us the details, or call us to explain, or perhaps they would make a newsletter and send it out to us with an apology and some facts! I knew that would not likely happen! 😈

Monique then chimed in with a playful conspiracy, “Well, I wonder if it was the Russians behind this or some other foreign power causing mischief?” And I answered, “It was likely the ‘enemy that is within!’” In this case, we both would be wrong! The “enemy” of this saga was a person trying to work in the dark without calling JULIE (a utility inspector) first! That is a sure sign of trouble and it was for many of us that night!

"The enemy is within!" I have thought a lot about this assessment since the siege on the U.S. Capitol building several weeks ago. There are various levels at which trouble affects us. When it comes we often jump to conclusions as to the source. Flip Wilson made famous the saying, "The devil made me do it!" It is tempting to blame a force from without to justify why we think and behave in certain ways. Truth be told, the source of our trouble is a lot closer than we may want to admit. Often, it is rooted within. The Bible reminds us of the uncomfortable reality, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, KJV).

You have heard it said, "He (or she) is his own worst enemy!" James says, "Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. So don't be misled, my dear brothers and sisters." (James 1:14-16 NLT). This does not dismiss in any way the reality of Satan working in our lives. We are warned in Scripture, "Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in the faith!" (1 Peter 5:8).

What's the take away? Don't partner or prowl with the devil. He won't appear as a figure in red tights holding a pitch fork. He is far more subtle and shrewd! Rather, he will draw you away with things you desire like power, popularity, position, and possessions. He will exploit your dreams, goals and ambitions. Stay alert. Stand firm against him. The devil appears as light, but promises darkness. His motivation is to conquer, control and ultimately drive you away from God's purpose and plan for your life.

As we grow in the faith, God's gives us discernment to know the difference between truth and error. He will give us strength to resist the devil, his lies and deceptions. Remember Jesus' bold warning to Satan during the temptations He faced, "Get out of here, Satan, for the Scriptures say, 'You must worship the Lord your God, and serve only him." (Matthew 4:10). That's what it means to stand firm and to stand strong!

Here's what God assures us, "I will never fail you. I will never abandon you." (Hebrews 13:5). Believe His promises! Faith is the victory!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor, 
active churchman and
doting grandparent. 
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com 


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