Who’s The Enemy?

Written by Drew on September 8th, 2005

Sun Tzu, a successful Chinese general from the fifth century B.C., once said, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle” (The Art of War, ch. 3, axiom 18). What is true of physical battle is also true of spiritual battle. Christians have formidable adversaries (Eph. 6:12). If they do not know them, they can expect defeat!

It is a shame that some believers would rather turn on their own ranks than face the true enemy. This style of negative Christianity diverts attention away from important matters and reduces the church’s purpose to the oiling of squeaky wheels.

Some gospel preachers would have nothing to say if they were not criticizing their brethren. On the one hand, the brotherhood watchdogs have drawn the circle of fellowship so tightly that only a few may gain access. At the other extreme are the cynical brethren who seem to do nothing but mock and challenge tradition.

The situation calls for words similar to a speech given by Andrew Jackson to his men during the War of 1812. At one point the General’s troops had reached an all-time low in morale. As a result they began arguing, bickering, and fighting among themselves. It is reported that Old Hickory called them all together when tensions were at their worst and said, “Gentlemen! Let’s remember, the enemy is over there!”

There is a need to criticize one another from time to time, but let’s remember: the enemy is over there! Peter warned, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him…” (1 Pet. 5:8-9). James pointed out that, in addition to the devil, we have the world to worry about. In fact, if we get too cozy with it, we ourselves can become enemies of God: “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (Jas. 4:4).

The church’s work is too important; we cannot allow ourselves to be defeated. Let’s learn our enemies and fight them!


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