SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY
According to Wikipedia: Sleeping with the Enemy is a 1991 psychological thriller film based on a 1987 novel of the same name by Nancy Price, starring Julia Roberts, who escapes from her abusive, obsessive husband, played by Patrick Bergin. She captures the attention of a kindly gentleman, played by Kevin Anderson.
Having never seen the movie, I really can’t say a lot about it. But I do know what it is like to “sleep with the enemy.” Of course I am not talking about sleeping with my wife, but I am talking about struggling in my life. I am not referring to a loving companion, but I am referring to a lasting conflict. Most of us have heard the popular quote: “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Or, perhaps, “I am my own worst enemy.” The Bible clearly teaches that we “sleep with the enemy,” “he is us,” and, at times, “we are our own worst enemy.” Paul put it this way: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find” (Rom. 7:18). The disciple of Christ is engaged each day in a battle. The enemy is Satan (Eph. 6:12; 1 Pet. 5:8). The devil is powerful and his influence can be seen in all aspects of human life. He is able to accuse and destroy those who yield to him in his destructive temptations. We must be diligent to keep our spiritual defenses up, standing strong in the power of the Lord (Eph. 6:10), for the devil is clearly out to destroy us (Lk. 22:31).
The reason the devil is able to affect us so negatively, however, is not due to his great power. God has already promised that Christ in us is a greater power than any outside force that comes against us (1 Jn. 4:4). Satan cannot overcome the child of God who is born from above and is walking after the Spirit rather than the flesh. But Satan can certainly influence Christians. Why? The devil has influence over us at times because there is a part of us—the self-nature —that is so much like him and therefore is an easy target. It is that part of us that Paul calls the “sinful flesh” (Rom.8:3, KJV) or “sinful nature” (Rom.8:5, NIV). The apostle tells us plainly that “nothing good” dwells within the flesh. We are our own worst enemy at times. Were it not for the evil in our own heart, we would not listen to someone like the devil. We would be so full of God at all times that Satan would have no power at all in our lives.
But we must come to grips with the fact that our greatest spiritual war is with ourselves. And there is no escape, for as long as we are in the physical body, the fleshly/sinful nature will haunt us. We cannot eliminate the flesh any more than we can stop being human. This is the cold, hard reality that is true of everyone, even believers. Paul said it this way: “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do” (Gal. 5:17, ESV).
Where then is there hope? In Jesus Christ, and in Him alone! “Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Rom 7:24-25, NIV). Because of the accomplishments of Christ, God lives within us. His nature is different from ours. Therefore, our success in overcoming “the enemy within” will always depend on how much of our life is yielded to Him.
Since we all “sleep with the enemy” within, we need a “wake up call” from God. Read Ephesians 5:14-18: “This is why it is said, “Awake O sleeper, rise from the dead and Christ will give you light.” So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit…”
In other words, wake up and beware that you are “sleeping with the enemy,” and remember that God always provides a “wake up call” to those who will listen.