In pretty much every superhero comic that has ever been written, the hero always has an archenemy. Batman had the Joker, Professor X had Magneto, Spider-man had the Green Goblin, and the list goes on and on. All of us deal with things that create conflict in our life, but we typically don’t have an archenemy that we face on a daily basis, or do we? This idea popped into my head as I was reading through Romans chapter 6, I’ve been reading through this book a lot recently because it is filled with tons of wisdom. Paul was writing to the people of Rome about this very topic, well sort of, he was speaking to the people on the fact that they were no longer slaves to sin, but become slaves of righteousness. Romans 6:19-23 says, “Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” As I read this, I began to see that we do in fact have an archenemy, someone who wants to stop us from stepping into what God has for your life.
The archenemy who was working to stop me from achieving freedom is myself.
Let me explain, the passage above said that we are slaves to our sinful desires. When you are saved however, we become slaves to righteousness. There’s just one problem with that, we have an active enemy who tries to use our weakness against us. Every day we must go to battle with the side of us that wants to give in to the sin that is all around us, keeping us from our purpose. We become trapped in fear and shame, making us slaves to sin. This happens to everyone, Satan just whispers small lies to us, and we turn them into a deadly weapon only created to harm us. We are trapped in this cycle of being a slave, but there is hope.
Although our sin causes death, in Christ we find life.
Paul says that when we offer ourselves as slaves to righteousness, which will lead us to live a life of holiness in Christ. We have hope, we have strength in Christ to fight against these lies that Satan tries to convince us of. You see our enemy is the part of us that feels like it needs to go back to its’ old master, but Paul says that we have a new master, and this master has our best interest in mind. He has a plan in mind for our lives, and he wants us to live in to our full potential. Without him though, it is impossible to fight our dark side, the part of us that wants to be a slave to the world rather than a slave to the God who loves us. God equips us to be able to stand against the fear that tries to hold us back, and the shame that causes us to hide and run away from our problems. I know that life is hard, because I have had to go through the pain that fear and shame bring. It seems like we can’t do it alone, which is true, but in Christ we can do all things.
Alone we are weak, but with God, we are strong.
We can’t fight this alone, we need the strength of God to get through the hardest situations. This means that we will have to face our fears and step out of shame. It’s never easy, but it’s always worth it. I recently listened to an NPR podcast called, Invisibilia, where they were talking about fear and overcoming certain fears. In the episode, a man named Jason was interviewed about how he overcame his crippling fear of being rejected. He did this by facing his problem head on, and every day would try to be rejected at least once. He calls it “rejection therapy,” and each day he forced himself to get free from his fear of rejected by being rejected. It stuck with me because so often we feel like we are powerless from fear and we just want to run away. This man was tired of being crippled and decided to face it head on. I have no idea if he was a believer, but his story was an example for me of how to get free from the enemy that is myself. To fight it head on with the strength of Christ, because when we stand in the freedom that Christ gives us, nothing will be able to stop us.
Every super hero has an archenemy, but the hero always wins.
No matter how hard the fight is, the hero always saves the day in the end. You are set free from the sinful desires of yourself, and will live in Freedom through Christ. I hope this was an encouragement to you, because it was encouraging to me. I’m still learning every day, and I don’t have all the answers, but I do know one thing, that we find strength in the arms of our savior. I’m going to keep fighting, and I hope you will too.