Enemies Abound

Our culture teaches us to avoid trouble. We’re supposed to be kind and good. We should treat others in the way we want to be treated. Be honest, but don’t hurt the other person’s feelings. We want an easy life, so we try to blend in. Don’t make waves. We’re told that we’ll get further in life if we agree with what we’re told. And just keep quiet. Don’t cause trouble. These days, we haven’t developed the toughness we need when hard times come. We aren’t prepared for adversity or struggles.

But where does that get us? Oh sure. We should avoid trouble if it’s uncalled for. But sometimes trouble comes looking for us. Sometimes trouble is the instigator, and we’re the target. Do we stand still and let it overtake us? Or do we push back? Which is better? Fight or flight?

Jesus told us that we would have trouble in this world. He said we would have many trials and sorrows. It should be of no surprise to God’s children when we face hurdles and obstacles. We will face seasons of unrest and instability. We may be the target of attempts to discredit or defame us. The enemy is a monster who wants our souls. And when we are facing battles, we must commit them to God. Our confidence must be in his power. Not our own. We must know that, as children of God, his presence and power are with us.

Some nations boast of their chariots and horses, but we boast in the name of the Lord our God. Psalms 20:7

As followers of Christ, we must live strong. We must put on the armor of God each day before we meet our adversaries. Oh. You may think you don’t have enemies, but most likely your enemies aren’t visible. We do fight against principalities. Against unseen powers of the darkness. We are not fighting flesh and blood. We are in spiritual warfare in this world.

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12


Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. Ephesians 6:10-11


And God tells us that we should not be afraid when we fight our enemies. He doesn’t say if we fight our enemies. Oh no. He says when we fight. We will fight. There will be warfare. And we’re not to be afraid, because he is with us. He will fight for us. He will give us victory.

We also must realize that the army we fight may be bigger than us. So we must commit our situation to God. Because he also said that he has overcome the world. Our confidence must be in God and God alone. Oh. He says he will fight for us, but there’s no doubt that we must prepare for battle. We can’t go in without plans and preparation. God fights for us and through us.

We must surround ourselves with likeminded people.  Brave people. People who will stand for the cause of Christ.  People who will do hard things and fight for truth and liberty. We need friends who will encourage us and pray for us.  If we spend too much time with weak, frightened people, we will become like them.  We must know our enemy. Because he masquerades as an angel of light looking for someone to devour. He makes good look evil and evil look good. It’s easy to be tricked if we don’t know what he’s capable of.

When you go out to fight your enemies and you face horses and chariots and an army greater than your own, do not be afraid. The Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, is with you! When you prepare for battle, the priest must come forward to speak to the troops. He will say to them, ‘Listen to me, all you men of Israel! Do not be afraid as you go out to fight your enemies today! Do not lose heart or panic or tremble before them. For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!’ Deuteronomy 20:1-4

Stand Lest You Fall

Peter and John had healed a man in front of the temple.  As they spoke to a crowd of people who had gathered, they were confronted by the temple leaders and guards about their teachings.  Peter and John were arrested and put in jail overnight.

The leaders could see the man who had been healed. I wonder if they recognized him as the lame man who had sat outside the temple for years. Had they ever given him money? Or had they ignored him as they walked past? They couldn’t deny that this was the same man. And here he was made whole. He was standing and walking around. He was praising God. They couldn’t deny that a miracle had happened. And they were furious.

The next morning, the council of all the rulers, elders and teachers of religious law met to discuss what to do with Peter and John.  The high priest and some of his relatives were involved in the meeting.  These were important people.  Or so they thought. 

I can only imagine the conversations of these high and mighty men the night before as they plotted their strategy to take down these two disciples.  They were furious that Peter and John were teaching that Jesus had been resurrected from the dead.  But did they know that 5,000 people believed the story?  Did they know that the news of Jesus’ life and death and resurrection was spreading like wildfire?  What were they really afraid of here?

By what power, or in whose name, have you done this?

When confronted about their teachings, Peter and John didn’t hold back.   They were commanded to stop preaching about Jesus, the one who had been killed for claiming to be God Almighty.  Instead of cowering and backing down, they stood and boldly spoke the truth. 

The leaders tried bullying the two men, but they stood their ground.  Their faith was strong, and their commitment was unwavering.  They were fearless.


The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. Psalms 29:11


I wonder.  If I was confronted about speaking the truth of Jesus’ life and death and resurrection to a group of people, what would I do?  Would I cower?  Would I change my story?  Would I cover up the truth?  Would I give in and walk away?  Would I stand up for my beliefs in the midst of possible persecution? Would I boldly speak the truth?  What would I do?

These two men were just ordinary men.  They had no special training in the Scriptures.  What they did have was an intimate knowledge and personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  They knew this Jesus.  They had walked with him.  They had talked with him.  They had eaten with him.  They had served the crowds miraculous food when there was no food.  They had seen Jesus at his best and at his worst.  They witnessed his arrest. Peter witnessed his trial, trying to blend in with the crowd. There was that time that he wasn’t willing to boldly stand for Jesus. There was a time right before Jesus was nailed to the cross that Peter had denied knowing him.  Not once, but three times.  All in the matter of a few short hours.  But he repented of his ways and became an outspoken teacher of Scriptural truths. 

So when he was asked to never speak to anyone in Jesus’ name again, what do you think he said?  Of course, he boldly took a stand for truth. His life had been changed. He was a forgiven man. He would not be quiet about his faith and trust in God.

Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? –Peter

Would I be so bold?  Would I be willing to risk my life in order to stand for Jesus? 

Peter and John didn’t know that they would later pay the price for continuing to share the Gospel.  Peter was crucified upside down.  John was sent to live in exile on an island, because he preached about God. While he was alone, he wrote one of the most profound books of the Bible. You can’t tell me that even in the midst of persecution, God isn’t present. You can’t tell me that God isn’t with us in our suffering. God is with us even in the most difficult, trying times of life.

What would I be willing to give up in order that others might hear the truth?  Would I be willing to risk everything so that others could enjoy eternal life?  Would I be willing to stand when falling to peer pressure would be an easier path to follow? Am I willing to stand?