March 10

Crushing Your Enemies, Part 1

Matthew 5:43-45a “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven….”

How many enemies do you think you have? What makes them your enemies? There are innumerable Scriptures about conquering our enemies (Psalm 18:48, Psalm 60:12), and the Lord is surely our Defender. He uses any number of ways to defeat them, and His ways are not our ways. But here are some thoughts and actions to take to conquer many of our enemies.

First, reduce the number of your enemies. Many of the people we may consider an enemy might not be. Have you made someone an enemy who isn’t? If someone has offended you, for example, it may be that they are insensitive, or that you are overly sensitive, or that they don’t like you, or that they were having a bad day. That doesn’t make them an enemy. Every parent who hears “I hate you!” from their young child knows that their child isn’t an enemy.

The war-and-enemy model has been brought into areas where there used to be simply opponents and competitors. We live in a world where The Art of War by Sun Tzu is a business book, and where politics often seeks to not win over opponents, but to crush them. Let’s pull it back to reality: Satan is our enemy. Hitler was an enemy. AIDS, racism and generational poverty are enemies. Someone with a different viewpoint or someone vying for the same position at work is not an enemy. Other sports teams are not the enemy.

We also need to remember that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). As we grow in Christ, we come to see this more and more, and realize that our real enemies are spiritual, and that “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal” (II Corinthians 10:40). That means that we actually have few enemies that are people. In fact, in your most painful situation, your real enemy cannot be a human being.

So the first way to defeat your enemies is to reduce their number. Do a reality check on those that “feel” like enemies. Check off those that have simply hurt you, but are not set against you. Realize one more time that our real enemies are unseen and to be fought with the spiritual weapons of faith, His word, the blood of the Lamb, and the power of God.

Prayer: Father, help me to realize that my enemies are few and mostly unseen. Forgive me for making some people my enemies who are not. Sharpen my spiritual vision to see my opponents and competitors as simply that. And thank You that You have given us spiritual weapons to fight our real enemies.