At times of crisis we change our behaviour. A crisis can bring out the best or the worst in us. Some people are selfish and even disobey authority for their own pleasure or personal gain. For others personal conflicts, tensions and even estrangement can pale into insignificance when we have a common ‘enemy’. Priorities change. Such people are altruistic, selfless and self-sacrificing. This happened in World War 2 and it is happening during this Coronavirus pandemic.
It is not pleasant to have an enemy. They are at best rivals. They are not ‘on the same side’ and they are usually openly hostile. They threaten our well-being and even our lives. So it is shocking to read in the Bible that we are naturally ‘enemies’ of God. How can this be? Of course, we can never be a threat to God’s existence, because He is the one who gives us life. Nor can we limit is power and knowledge, because He knows everything and nothing is too hard for Him. But we are, by natural instinct, opponents of God, ‘not on the same side’: disobedient. This would seem like a desperate predicament. We are powerless against Him.
And you who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciledColossians 1:21
But such Bible passages about enemies are all about believers who have been transformed by their faith in Jesus Christ. They were enemies of God, but are now on God’s side. And in this honoured position they are guaranteed the love of Jesus (Romans 8:35-39).
This is all possible because of the ultimate act of selflessness. Jesus gave up his life on the cross to reconcile us to God (Romans 5:10). And this is the only way that we can be saved from our natural predicament.
We all have the common enemy of death. And because we all disobey God, we all die. But God promises that one day even this enemy will be taken away
The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.1 Corinthians 15:26
God has a plan for ‘His’ people: those who believe Him and follow Jesus. In the meantime we have still to work at not being His enemies. We have a fight to fight: the fight against our natural ungodly attitudes.
Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Ephesians 6:13 (see also 1 Timothy 6:12)
This sounds impossible, but God has promised success to those who really believe and truly try to do what He asks. And we have a guidebook for this warfare, telling us what the true wartime spirit should be. The Bible.