Think ISIS Is Our Greatest Enemy? Think Again.

Chase Culbertson

American forces are deployed all over the world right now, fighting to protect our national interests.

When we think about our nation’s enemies, we think of groups like Boko Horam, ISIS, and Al Qaeda. News outlets provide hourly updates of the atrocities these terrorist groups are committing.

While these groups do mean us harm, they are not our greatest enemy. Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “...our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Just like the military has a duty to fight our nation’s battles, we are called to fight spiritual battles. These fights are not won with guns or tanks. Spiritual battles require a different kind of weapon — love.

Finding The Full Life

Our greatest enemy, Satan, seeks to kill, steal, and destroy. But Jesus came to bring life to the fullest (John 10:10).

Life to the fullest is found in loving others, not hating them. When we focus on hate, we lose an opportunity to show the love of Jesus to those who need it most.

When we focus on hate, we lose an opportunity to show the love of Jesus to those who need it most.

Paul, a church planter and leader, describes the spiritual fight this way: “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

When Paul says to “take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ,” he’s instructing the church to do something unnatural and counterintuitive. Instead of responding to tragedy, injustice, or persecution with anger, retaliation, and helplessness, we are to take those emotions, lay them before Jesus, and ask what He would have us do.

3 Ways To Love Those Who Hate Us

1.    Pray for them.

In Matthew 5:44, Jesus says, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

Prayer is a powerful weapon. It changes others, and it changes us. By praying for people who oppose us, we are reminded that the person is no different than we once were. He or she was made in God’s image and desperately needs a relationship with Him.

2.    Trust God to change their hearts.

Military intervention and peace treaties can calm an uprising, but the Gospel can solve the problem. When we submit our lives to Jesus, He changes hearts the same way God describes in Ezekiel 11: “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 11:19).

Only God can change hearts, and when He does, it creates a lasting change in behavior.

3.    Expect God to move.

We can expect God to do what seems impossible, because Jesus promised us that with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).  

God will make everything right in His time, and we can trust God to do what we cannot do.

We all have spiritual battles to fight today — coworkers who know how to bring out our worst, children who test our patience, spouses with animosity toward Jesus. The key to overcoming  these challenges lies in remembering who the enemy is.

Our greatest enemy is not the person across the table or a group of people across the Atlantic. Our greatest enemy is Satan, and we can fight back with confidence knowing that Jesus has already won (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).

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