Summary: Enemies . . . you have them. You need them. You must be aware of them and handle them correctly. Welcome to the fight!
Pt. 2 –Intelligence Training
Text Backdrop for Series:
Remember the backdrop I set up last week. There is a time for peace, but there is also a time for war. Joel declares that farmers should turn their farming instruments into weapons to prepare for battle. Paul says we shouldn’t be unaware of enemy tactics so that we won’t fall prey to his schemes! So we are in a war. We have enemies. I wished everyone and everything was bent on helping, assisting, and benefiting us. However, the truth is that not everyone is cheering for you. Not everyone is your friend. The truth is that everything doesn’t help or benefit you. Some people and some things are assigned to destroy you. So I told you that we have to be enemy conscious. Not enemy oblivious or obsessed but aware! We cannot become comfortable with our enemies. We cannot tolerate them. Our inability to destroy and dismiss our enemies is not due to lack of power or authority, but our lack of obedience. We fail to destroy our enemies because they appeal to us! But what we fail to kill will kill us. So we must cut off their influence from our lives. We must pass them by and we must pray for them.
You will also remember that last week I read to you David’s statement in
Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are my constant guide.
He makes it very clear that the way to live our lives victoriously is to be wiser than our enemies. Jesus, speaking to his disciples, deepens this understanding when He tells them in Matthew 10:16, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Or as it says in the Message, “Stay alert. This is hazardous work I’m assigning you. You’re going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don’t call attention to yourselves. Be as cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove.”
So we understand that our journey through life will be a trip! We are to remain aware. We are to stay on guard. We must be alert because Jesus prior to this statement says in Matthew 7:15 that there would be wolves who try to influence us, get next to us, and infiltrate our lives by shrouding their true identity be dressing like, acting like, and even talking like sheep! They are chameleons. When they are with you they talk like a sheep. But out of your presence they are something else entirely. They are simply undercover!
So we need to learn some things about our enemy that will help us remain safe and unscathed.
II. Intelligence Training
A. Be wise not paranoid or untouchable.
Our instruction from Jesus is to be wise! However, He also says He is sending or assigning us to go right into their midst. There is a huge difference between being wise and being paranoid! If we live our lives paranoid and convinced that everyone is out to destroy us then we will want to curl up in the fetal position and hide in a dark corner of our bedroom. If we live like that there is no way that we can carry out our assignment or connect with people, love people, influence people. So we must learn to be aware without being untouchable! If we are not careful we will become closed and unapproachable. We will try to keep people at a distance and we will never let anyone into our space or heart. Jesus’ example is the perfect example as to how we should live life.
Jesus finds himself surrounded by enemies. There is no doubt whose side they are on! They are there to arrest Him and escort Him to a brutal death. His disciples had no problem discerning that they were enemies. So Peter deals with the enemy our way. He takes his sword and strikes, but watch Jesus. Jesus is standing in front of an armed man, a wounded man, a bloody man, a scared man who is probably ready to extract some revenge and Jesus get’s close enough to him to reach out, exposing Himself and His vital organs to a counter strike. The minor miracle is that Jesus healed the man’s ear. The major miracle is that He got close enough to an angry enemy to extend His hand and touch him. That is how we must live. Alert, on guard, but still willing to reach out, expose ourselves so that we can bring healing!
B. Your enemy has to get close.
You need to be smart enough to know that your enemy has to get close to you to destroy you. Why do you think wolves dress up like sheep? It is because they understand that the most effective and destructive type of fighting is hand to hand combat. The closer they get the more impact and destruction they can inflict.