Centuries ago, St. Francis of Assisi said we should witness for Christ a thousand times a day and occasionally use words. His clear message was Christians should be different from those around them, and this difference should be tangible and recognizable, not because we are religious, but because we are Christ-like. More often than not, however, this isn’t true.
Non-believers are tormented by their past and by their unresolved issues; so are people of faith. Non-Christians can’t escape their feelings of failure; neither can we. Christians often share the same sense of loneliness and alienation. Surveys indicate that more than 70 percent of us struggle with loneliness, precisely like non-believers do. Non-Christians are unforgiving; so are we, despite our steadfast insistence to the contrary. When non-Christians awaken each morning, anger, fear, and frustration greet them—just like it does for most of us. The list of our similarities goes on and on.
We tell others how different we are but, based on the evidence, this simply isn’t true. Despite our fervent insistence that our lives are qualitatively better, we are doing little more than making a distinction without a difference. This is why non-Christians routinely call us hypocrites. Unfortunately, this is an accurate description more often than we care to admit. We testify that we are different, pretentiously insist- ing that we are. But, for most of us, our behavior simply does not match up with our confident assertion that we are experiencing an “abundant life.”
We know our lives are unfulfilled; we are keenly aware of it. This realization adds to our frustration. Obviously, the question we need to ask ourselves is this: “Why is it like this?” And, “Is there any chance of it getting better?”
When we ask these questions, we ask them as if we live in a vacuum. It is as if we control our destinies, which we certainly do not.
Incredibly, most of us do not detect our spiritual enemy, Satan, being at work. His goal is to disrupt our lives, making a wasteland out of them. We simply don’t think about this. More often than not, we are unaware of the attacks we have undergone or are currently experiencing. Although we comprehend spiritual warfare from a theological perspective, we don’t operate with the realization that our Enemy is active. He has been attacking us from the day we were born. For the most part, such thoughts rarely enter our minds.
The goal of our Enemy is to diminish our accomplishments and our capacity to achieve fulfillment, either directly or through the world system he has created. His attacks have changed our entire perspective on life. He has deceived us into embracing many of his lies, distorting our foundational truths in the process.
Satan is so accomplished at what he does that his work goes unnoticed more often than not. Most of us discount his efforts, barely paying lip service to his impact upon our lives. Nevertheless, the Scriptures clearly teach that we must be aware of our Enemy’s schemes.
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:11-12, NAS).