Thursday, March 6, 2014

Not my enemy

My Bible reading this morning was in Ephesians 6 -- you know, the passage on spiritual warfare and the armor of God.  I jotted down a few notes in my journal about boldness, standing firm, that kind of thing.  Then a note I had written in the margin of my Bible several years ago caught my eye:  "We are not enemies to each other!"

I remember hearing this tidbit in a small group Bible study a long time ago and thinking, wow, that's a great concept from this verse!  Our battle is not against flesh and blood, the Scripture says.  That means we shouldn't fight each other, but the devil.  I think, however, at that point in my life, there was no one I was really tempted to "fight" against.  I was young, primarily surrounded by church friends, and had no human enemies to speak of.

As we all grow into adults, though, those people come into our lives, and this concept gains more meaning.  Certainly it's more challenging to me now than it was back in those days.  Most of us have people -- even fellow Christians -- who we don't like.  Who have hurt us.  Betrayed us.  Scarred us.  People we wish had never shown up in our lives.  It's sad, but it's true.

"For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places."  (Ephesians 6:12)  Today when I read this verse, I had a mental image of warriors fighting side-by-side.  I saw myself, shoulder-to-shoulder with other Christians, including those who have hurt me and who I might prefer to avoid or to accuse.  And I was reminded that no person is my enemy.  No one who belongs to Christ is an enemy, but rather a teammate, a fellow warrior in God's army, someone to fight alongside, not against.  We are not enemies to each other, but we have the same powerful enemy of our souls.  If we're fighting each other, we can't effectively fight him.  And that's not a battle we can afford to lose.

No matter what the offense is or how much it hurts, as Christians we have something greater in common -- the blood and the love of Jesus Christ.  He covers all and makes redemption possible.  We'll be better off if we forgive, stand shoulder-to-shoulder, and fight together for His Kingdom.

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