Around and within us, negativity sprouts; towards ourselves and others. For unexplainable, flimsy and rarely justifiable reasons, we are tempted to spew evil instead of good. When turning the other cheek, forgiveness and love seem and feel like theories, all in all, we are still called to fight the good fight.
Eph 6:12 NLT
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
By calling it a fight, St. Paul shows us that there are opposing forces, from within and without. This means that we have to be dressed for it, to put on the full armor of God, because this is war!
Knowing your enemy’s nature helps you figure out what to fight against. In this war, we find ourselves fighting these in the battlefield:
1. Greed. it manifests in many forms; the insatiable need to have more – power, wealth, recognition, name it, there is someone who wants more than they know what to do with it. None of us is exempted from this. Greed has led people away from God, seduced others into social evils and has resulted into many broken relationships.
1 Timothy 6:10 NIV
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wondered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
How do you fight this? Generosity. Be generous, give, give, give, without expecting anything in return. There is a difference between givers and takers. Be wary of using people to get what you want. Be the kind of person that uses what you have to make people.
2. Pride. We all not only think well of ourselves, but this has the danger of going overboard, thinking of ourselves better than others. Be it because of gender, social status, race, title, wealth, power; we sometimes fall into this trap of demanding better treatment above that accorded to others around us.
Fight this with humility. No one is born with the virtue of humility, it requires intentional thinking. Actively see others with eyes of appreciation rather than derision, and it will make it harder to be proud.
Matt 23: 12 NIV
For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
3. Hatred. For more reasons than anyone can count, ranging from jealousy to an unwillingness to forgive, hatred sprouts more easily than we can imagine. Hatred changes relationships and begets enmity and backstabbing.
Fight this with love. This is the greatest gift. Love others and forgive those who wrong you. Don’t justify any reason for enmity. Since gaining enemies is inevitable, we have been taught how to treat our enemies; by showing them love and compassion, till they wonder why they hated us in the first place!
On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.
4. Selfishness and jealousy. When all you do in life is ‘take care of No.1,” you condition yourself to believe that everything good should be yours. This self-centeredness breeds jealousy towards those you think have it all. Jealousy blinds us to what we have in hand and are more than willing to throw it away in favor of another’s possession or blessing.
Fight this with contentment and a spirit of gratitude. This doesn’t mean being OK with mediocrity, but it means looking at life through the lens of gratitude. When you appreciate what you have, it is easy to see opportunity to grow what is at hand, and make it bear fruit.