There is a story from the original Star Trek series that has a critical lesson for every believer.
Episode #7, from season 3, is entitled “The Day of the Dove.” The scene opens with the USS Enterprise receiving a distress call from a human colony on the planet Beta-XII. The colony reports that they are under attack by a Klingon vessel.
Captain Kirk and his team beam down but find no trace of the colony. Just then, the survivors of a crippled Klingon vessel beam down, claiming that the Enterprise attacked their ship. In revenge, they quickly overpower Kirk and his team and have themselves beamed aboard the Enterprise to claim it for the Klingon Empire. But when they arrive they are themselves taken captive.
As the plot unfolds strange and impossible things keep happening. The memory of fictitious atrocities flood the minds of both Klingons and Federation crew members. The Enterprise crew’s superior weapons disappear and crude weapons materialize in the hands of both sides. Crew members who receive mortal wounds recover at a fantastic rate so that they can return to the fight and inflict revenge on their assailants.
And all the while this battle rages there is an alien life force that is energized by the conflict. Eventually Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock realize that the alien is actually orchestrating, sustaining, and feeding off the entire war. And once they discover who the real enemy among them is – not the Klingons, not the Federation, but the alien entity – its scheme is doomed. Kirk and Spock convince their own crew and that of the Klingon ship that they are all pawns under power of the alien while they fight each other. The warring sides make peace and unite to battle together against the alien. The alien cannot endure their reconciliation and friendship and is forced to flee the ship.
Does any of this sound familiar to a theme in the Bible? In the Scripture we read that there is an enemy of our souls. We read in Revelation 12:10 that Satan accuses us to God. We read elsewhere that Satan also accuses God to us – blaming God for all our misfortunes (Job 1:16). It is also true that Satan accuses us to each other. It is no mere coincidence the same biblical passage that speaks the most about our spiritual warfare also speaks about our human relationships – husbands and wives, parents and children, employers and employees (Ephesians 5:21-6:18). This is the battleground – our relationships with each other. Satan and his demons work overtime to drive wedges between us, to divide and conquer. And our only hope of victory is to recognize who the real enemy is – not our spouse, not our children or parents, not our boss or our subordinates – but the spiritual forces of wickedness.
It is even more essential that we recognize that God is our ultimate source of strength and victory. “Be strong in the LORD and in the power of His might, for our conflict is not against flesh and blood, but against … the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Don’t battle the person next to you. He or she is not the enemy. Satan is the one who derives pleasure from your conflict and suffering. Recognize him as your enemy and cling to God for grace and strength. And do not lose heart, for through all this conflict God makes us more than conquerors through Christ Who loves us (Romans 8:37).
Almighty and merciful Father, when the conflict rages around me and within my own heart, remind me who my real enemy is, remind me Who my unfailing source of strength is, and remind me that – no matter how often I stumble – You will help me gain the inevitable triumph. Amen.