In the journey to union with God, we face three enemies: the devil, the flesh, and the sensuality of the self. All three must be conquered for us to be freed to live fully as children of God. St. Paul offers us this analogy to prepare for battle: “Draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armour of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil… So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all (the) flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones.” (Ephesians 6.10-11,14-18)

Three Foes

Each of us face three enemies:
The world, where our wants abound;
The devil’s snaring subtleties;
And self’s contraries that confound.

Allied against the soul’s true call,
They work as one resisting force:
Strengthened with each stumble and fall;
Weakened as we trudge on our course.

Freedom is forged like blacksmith steel:
In the furnace, heated red hot;
On the anvil, pounded with zeal —
In formation, this is our lot.

Beyond these foes, true freedom lies;
The one who fights to win is wise.

May the Lord prepare us to be battle-ready and strengthen us to persevere against our foes.

Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9.25-27)

(c) Paul Buis, 2006