"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." -- Jesus
Congratulations! Your Goliath Has Arrived.
Enemies often seem to get in the way of our plans, leaving us discouraged and disoriented. But what if these obstacles are a part of God's plans for us?
Our enemies - whether our weaknesses, circumstances, deep-seated sins, other people, or any other challenge--can become our stepping stool to new breakthroughs in life, if we leverage the opportunity. Just as David's encounter with Goliath transformed him from a delivery boy to a national hero, our enemies can be a blessing in disguise - if only we recognize and face them head-on.
Human nature tells us to flee our enemies, but Ron Carpenter will challenge you to embrace them. In The Necessity of an Enemy, Ron shares engaging insights like:
? God intended for every enemy to be your footstool for promotion.
? If you want to be number one, you can't just beat number nine.
? The depth of your battle gives you insight into the greatness of the potential God put in you, and enemies are your key to unlocking that potential.
? All battles are fought over your future, not over your past or present circumstances.
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January 17, 2012
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Excerpt from The Necessity of an Enemy by Ron Carpenter
I want you to consider something that may surprise you.
If you had lived in Judea in the first century and were acquainted with Jesus and His ministry, who among His twelve disciples would you have said was a close friend? Which disciple was Jesus's enemy (not the Enemy, Satan, but a
His friends are usually identified as Peter, James, John, and the other faithful disciples. The enemy? That seems a no-brainer--has to be Judas, the notorious betrayer, right?
Now, I warn you: I'm going to mess with your mind, because in a moment I want you to consider a principle of the Christian life that's often ignored. But first, back to my questions about Jesus and His relationships. Let's look first at a familiar incident involving one of Jesus's "buddies," the fiery, foot-inmouth Peter. One day Jesus and the disciples were having a discussion, and Peter got high-fives for saying that Jesus was "the Christ." But a little later, when Peter
pulled Jesus aside and started criticizing the Lord for saying that He had to go to Jerusalem to suffer and die, Jesus got in Peter's face and said, "Get behind Me, Satan!" (Matthew 16:13-23.)
Whoa! What happened to the "nice" Jesus?
Now flash forward a few days to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus is in agony about upcoming events. Judas shows up with a group of soldiers who intend to take Jesus prisoner. The betrayer steps forward, greets Jesus, and gives Him a kiss. Jesus (who of course knows what's up) responds, "Friend, why have you come?"
The kiss is the secret signal to the soldiers that "this is the guy," and they rush forward to grab Jesus. One of the disciples--yup, it's Peter--pulls his sword and takes a whack at the head of a servant of the high priest, slashing off
the poor man's ear. Jesus will have none of it and, after telling His "friend" he has it all wrong and needs to sheath his sword, says, "Do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions
of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?" And later Jesus also says, "All this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled" (Matthew 26:50-56).
Now, I ask you, taking into consideration these two incidents involving Peter and Judas, which man ultimately did the most to advance Jesus's mission on earth? Who did Jesus call "Satan"? Who did Jesus greet as "Friend"? Here's the point. The message Jesus was trying to get across to Peter was something like this: "You do not have in mind the things of God. You are trying to keep Me from the cross. Right now you are an enemy." And later, Jesus effectively
said to Judas, "You have come to sell Me out so that I will complete My destiny. You, therefore, are My friend."
In this circumstance--which because of the Cross is the most important moment in history--Judas did for Jesus what Peter and the other disciples could not do.
You already know that God's ways, including His view of enemies, are different from our ways. But an understanding of how God uses people coming against us and situations that are very negative can change everything. If we are to make authentic progress in life, we have to face up to the necessity of an enemy.