we have met the enemy

A person’s selfish desires are set against the Spirit, and the Spirit is set against one’s selfish desires. They are opposed to each other, so you shouldn’t do whatever you want to do. … The actions that are produced by selfish motives are obvious, since they include sexual immorality, moral corruption, doing whatever feels good, idolatry, drug use and casting spells, hate, fighting, obsession, losing your temper, competitive opposition, conflict, selfishness, group rivalry, jealousy, drunkenness, partying, and other things like that. I warn you as I have already warned you, that those who do these kinds of things won’t inherit God’s kingdom. (Galatians 5:17,19-21 CEB)

Sun Tzu, a famous Chinese general, strategist, and author of The Art of War, once said: “Know your enemy.”

Walt Kelly, author of the award-winning cartoon strip Pogo, once said: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

The apostle Paul, a candid communicator of the will of God and the author of Galatians, once enumerated a dozen and a half behaviors that function as our enemies. The irony of the list, of course, is that though these things be our enemies, they are our own “selfish desires.” We all know these enemies all too well and they attack us from the four winds.

The cold north wind freezes healthy sexuality by means of “immorality, moral corruption, [and] doing whatever feels good.” These ways ravage our intimacy with others.

The stormy east wind brings spiritual havoc for its elements are “idolatry, drug use and casting spells.” This chaotic winds wrecks our ability to truly know him who made us.

The strong south wind destroys everything social in its path. Its destruction is known wherever “hate, fighting, obsession, losing your temper, competitive opposition, conflict, selfishness, group rivalry, [and] jealousy” blow about. Razing anything constructed or enjoyed by healthy community, these winds know no mercy.

And the wild wind of the west blows our mind apart with living that has no substance: “drunkenness, partying, and other things like that.” Even our most reasonable, individual inhibitions are beaten down by this wind.

We need to know our enemy’s tactics so as to not stoop to making his ways our own. When we find ourselves embodying his, we must fight them or flee from them. And in it all, we must know our Lord, our only victor and Savior.

Dear Lord and Father of mankind, forgive our foolish ways! Reclothe us in our rightful mind, in purer lives Thy service find, in deeper reverence, praise.