It’s no fun having enemies but who said life was about having fun? Often our enemies make us into giants.
Winston Churchill looked across the channel at the ugly colossus created by Adoph Hitler. Nazi armies had overrun Europe’s best and were pointing their vaunted airforce at England, where the scraggly remains of the army that had opposed them had fled across the English Channel.
Churchill could have led his nation in surrender but the man we didn’t really know until then, grew before the eyes and ears of the people of his time. In early June he thundered before the House of Commons:
“Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.”
A bit later he challenged his people: “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’”
Dare I suggest that Hitler made Churchill into the Churchill we know?
Growing Through Conflict
The bigger the enemy, the more we’re forced to grow. David never became David until Goliath (and a few lions and bears) caused him stretch into a great king. Gideon was just an unhappy farmer until hordes of Midianites raiders triggered his rise to greatness in God.
If God were to quickly destroy all our enemies and all the obstacles in front of us, it wouldn’t take us long to become pitiful. The Church has done well when the enemy tried to destroy it and we haven’t always done so well when we were powerful and praised. A weak opposition grows no battle muscles.
So, how do we get enemies?
Where To Find Enemies
First let’s say it: the fellow who desires enemies probably has psychological problems. No one in his right mind tries to make enemies.
But, as you launch into God’s will, enemies will step into your path. Hide in your corner, seek popularity with the world, and don’t rock the boat and you may reduce the number of those hostile to you. Unfortunately, you’ll become a pitiful shadow of what God meant you to be. These enemies cause us to grow, cause us to get stronger, cause us to be what we never dreamed we could be. They even help us to see our weaknesses so we can eliminate them.
Honestly, though, if you’re a Christian passionately engaged in serving the Lord, you already have enemies.
“God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. (Eph. 6:10-12. The Message)
Take up these weapons (described in the rest of chapter six), and grow bigger than your enemies in the power of the Lord.
How big are your enemies? Are you growing to meet them?