In these verses, Paul is writing us from Rome. How romantic! But wait, he’s in prison. And not in one of our United States’ prisons where everyone is guaranteed climate control, beds, blankets, meals, medical care, and sanitary conditions. No, he’s sleeping on a cold stone floor with no cloak and he’s fed and clothed only through the benevolence of friends who come to visit him. Yet, he remains a team player; he’s still fighting for our salvation – void of any jealousy or anger toward us. He knows only the love of Jesus can save us and he oozes the love of Jesus all over us. We may misbehave, but he knows who the enemy is – and it’s not us.
Paul likes sporting events, so let’s use an analogy he would really appreciate. Let’s say we witness two sporting teams competing against one another. We know both can’t possibly win. The irony is that this concept is so easy to grasp, yet it’s often overlooked in personal relationships. The person who exhibited harmful behavior toward me is not the enemy. They’ve been “coached” or tempted by Satan and a whole host of his evil minions. They’re simply guilty of believing one of Satan’s lies or “running one of Satan’s plays” just like I am. But getting rid of this person will not put an end to our injuries - past, present or future. Only by taking out the enemy will his power and influence be brought into submission.
Teamwork in the Family Network means joining resources to fight and defeat our only enemy – Satan. Our battle is not against people – that’s the biggest lie. And Satan is overjoyed when we’re duped into believing it. Our battle is against him and he’s never more threatened than when a team of true believers unites to hit the field against him. After all, he’s a coward who picks on the weak and the vulnerable. Like a lion spying on the herd looking for the weakest or one who has strayed away. The truth is that he cowers at the very sight of unity. And since he’s shown us his weakness, his “chink in the armor”, that’s where our weapons of warfare should be laser-focused to strike the deadly blow. Lashing out at people (our team) is exactly what Satan is tempting us to do because that’s when our team defeats itself. Unity and teamwork are the only ways to defeat someone so powerful. Are you ready to fight, Team? LET’S MOVE!!
Our fight is not with people. It is against the leaders and the powers and the spirits of darkness in this world. It is against the demon world that works in the heavens. Ephesians 6:12 NLV