Enemies are a thing. Sometimes the enemies are more in our head than outside in the world. Sometimes enemies are those that do us harm when they are supposed to be striving for our good. Other times, and currently the most seen, the enemies are those not like us. In truth, they are not our enemies, they are just different, and difference can be perceived as dangerous.
Abraham’s victory over those who kidnapped his family was attributed to God by Melchizedek. The enemies of Abraham may not have even known they were the enemy until Abraham came to rescue Lot. For Abraham’s sake, God gave them to Abraham, who was faithful to God.
As the Israelites have left Egypt and are headed to the Promised Land, they are told that there are enemies. These are the enemies they will have to defeat to recover the Promised Land. God promises them victory over their enemies…as long as they follow his ways. And there is the rub. They didn’t do a very good job of that. Under only a few leaders, and only for a limited time, did Israel actually follow God’s ways. However, the rest of the time God allowed their enemies to be victorious, and it is directly tied to their orientation toward God.
So, if things were to continue, one could reasonably draw the conclusion that once we have a heart change and reconciliation with Christ that our enemies would be overcome. Yet, Jesus says the opposite. “You’re mine, and the world hates you because of it. Therefore you are surrounded by enemies.”
Granted, the enemies that surround us are actually those that have often put themselves against God (whether they are aware of it or not). It still doesn’t make it sound much better.
1) If indeed we are now surrounded by enemies, how is that the Good Life?
2) There are many kinds of enemies: national, religious, political, general life. Think of those that you know that fall under each of these categories, and what can you do to shine the light of Christ into their lives?
3) Thinking of others as enemies can be a beneficial starting point because then you can more easily see the barriers that need to be worked on prior to sharing Christ with them. Why is it important to recognize the barriers that separate? What should we do with those barriers?