The enemy we face is a subtle schemer (Eph 6:11). He certainly operates in our secrets, and he also finds victory in areas we don’t even recognize. It’s these latter areas I focus on in this post. Because we don’t always recognize these areas, we need other brothers and sisters in Christ who help us see these “unrecognized” concerns:
- Unrecognized unforgiveness. We sometimes are convinced we’ve forgiven someone else . . . until somebody pushes the right button that brings to the surface again all our pent-up bitterness.
- Unrecognized stagnation. That is, our spiritual life has been on hold for some time . . . neither hot nor cold . . . lukewarm . . . which Jesus spoke clearly against (Rev 3:16). It’s just that we’ve been stagnant for so long it’s become the accepted norm.
- Unrecognized self-dependence. We don’t usually recognize this problem until we face an issue we can’t resolve on our own. As long as we can fix it, though, we seldom turn to God.
- Unrecognized prejudice. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who said, “I just know I’m prejudiced toward others.” Many of us don’t recognize our prejudice for what it is until somebody else points it out to us.
- Unrecognized overconfidence. This was Simon Peter’s issue when he assured Jesus he would go to prison and death for Him (Luke 22:33). He was convinced of his position, and it wouldn’t be until failure set in that he would recognize how wrong he was.
- Unrecognized idolatry. We might recognize idolatry for what it is around the world when we see followers of other religions bowing before statues of false gods. What we don’t often recognize is our own idolatry when we continually place other people, possessions, or pleasures before God.
- Unrecognized boredom. This one might not seem like a tool of the enemy, but I suspect he’s pleased when we present and live the gospel story in a boring and drab way. But, most people living this way either don’t recognize it or won’t admit it.
- Unrecognized apathy. If we really believe the gospel is true and non-believers must follow Jesus, our evangelistic silence is a sign of apathy and unconcern. We just don’t recognize it as that.
Here’s where we must help each other, then: we must welcome others to point out our unrecognized issues, and we must humbly, lovingly, and prayerfully help others see theirs. Only in God’s grace can we do either one.