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The enemy is not effeminate, and by “effeminate” I don’t mean womanly, I mean the old-fashioned definition of that term, unmanly, foppish, soft, delicate, cowardly, and prone to passive/aggressive behavior.

Interesting issue that has popped up several times this week, I tend to do much better with veterans of war, cops, recovering addicts, people who have seen the darker things of life and lived to tell the tale. I can relate to them much easier, we speak the same language. My disconnect happens far more with what I call churchian culture, with those who often perceive the enemy as an angel of light, hidden and sneaky, if he really exists beyond metaphor at all.

The other day one such survivor looked right at me and declared, “the enemy is not effeminate” and it was like balm for my soul, it resonated, and all these other little truths began to click. Suddenly everything made sense. I really do have a tough time with those who see the enemy hiding in a pair of red shoes, or cleverly disguised in a Magic card, or hidden among the words of a book. All this hiding and sneakiness throws me for a loop, because in my world the enemy is not hiding at all, he is blatant, brutal, and unsophisticated.

He is not Pan, boyish, dancing around and dropping bits of secret mischief just to see what happens.

Sure, he traffics in deception. There are layers and layers of deception surrounding  some beautiful young girl now wasting away with a needle in her arm, skin and bones, but she is real enough, and the truth of an enemy who comes to do nothing but steal, kill, and destroy, is self-evident. Or it should be. Some do not have the eyes to see.  Evil is not real easy to look at.

That girl just wasting away, we have a tendency to step right over her, to not see the darkness that caught her up, to look where it is much safer to look, like at the crystals hanging in the window of a new age shop.

It’s fear that begins to creep into me, fear that I now must face an enemy alone, an enemy no one else can see. Fear tends to make me impatient, snappish with other people. Sometimes I forget that I am never really alone, that there are angel armies all around, that the opposite of fear is always faith.

Someone said that what ails the Western church is that our perceptions of God have grown soft, that we see only His mercy and love, that we have made Him effeminate in our own minds, so the only way to fix it now is to bellow forth the more authoritarian, legalistic, wrathful nature of God.

I’m going to completely disagree here, to flip that all on its head. One peek at the enemy as he really is, tends to send us running towards God, not even questioning His authority, but asking what can we do to embrace it, increase it, support it, wrap ourselves in it. Fear of God becomes faith in His power to stand between us and that which seeks to destroy us.

“Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz:  His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.” -Daniel 10:5-6

So, angels, even the fallen ones, are not effeminate at all, not the stuff of Hallmark cards, baby cherubs, and beautiful ladies set a top our Christmas trees. Not the kind of thing one tries to fight alone, and not the kind of thing one finds hidden in the margins somewhere.