Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. —James 4:4
I have never had an enemy in the non-Christian world. Yet that fact doesn’t cheer me up. All my enemies have been Christians. Sadly, Christians are not exempt from jealousy and ambition. I sometimes wonder how many theological controversies—past and present—are, in reality, theological issues. The untold story in so many famous accounts is that there was often a spirit of rivalry that was masked as being a theological issue. The truth will come out in the courtroom of God.
I know that God has enemies. His enemy is the devil; the enemy of Jesus Christ is Satan. The enemy of the Holy Spirit is the devil, the enemy of the truth is the devil, the enemy of the church is the devil, and God’s enemies are those who are against the truth.
God may choose to get our attention and increase our anointing by the rival spirit of an enemy. Now a rivalry can be a friendly rivalry, but sometimes it can lead to hostility. A rival is a person who competes with you. And yet a friendly rivalry can be healthy: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Prov. 27:17). Every rival in our lives may be seen as a thorn in the flesh to get us to pray harder.
There can be a strategic rivalry. Saul became jealous of David, and David became the enemy of Saul for the rest of his life. David’s hero became his enemy, but it was God’s way of refining David’s anointing—the best thing that could have happened to him. God uses an enemy to refine us. That is why it is strategic.
Be sure that you are in Christ. Be sure that you are covered by the blood of Jesus. Be sure that all your sins are under His blood, because you surely don’t want God as an enemy. Be sure then, that you know that your sins are forgiven and that you are walking in the light (1 John 1:7).
Excerpted from The Thorn in the Flesh (Charisma House, 2004).