March 19, 2017 by maryruwe
Most Christians probably would be very quick to deny that they have any enmity against God. But I submit to you that we have been guilty of it more than we might think. We learn from Romans 8:7 that to be carnally minded is enmity against God. A person who has a carnal nature is given to sensual pleasures and appetites. Sensual has to do with being devoted to the pleasures and gratification of the senses. Appetites have to do with our natural desires. Neither is wrong when kept in the balance of control. God gave us desires so in and of themselves they are not wrong. The world is always seeking pleasures and thinks it deserves having a lot of material things. So much so that it has put these material things, and self-seeking pleasures before and above the God who has blessed them with all of it.
The word enmity carries numerous definitions: mutual hatred, hostility, antipathy, animosity, antagonism. Further descriptions of these words include: detest, active opposition, resentment and indignation. None of these definitions sound like something anyone should be known for.
You may be thinking that none of these “enmity-words” describes you; after all you love God. I do too, but let me ask you this question: have you ever been in active opposition to God? Probably so; most of us have at one time or another, or maybe more than once. How do I know this? I know because all of us have disobeyed God at some point in our walk with Him and disobedience puts us in active opposition with Him. It may have been something as simple as ignoring His nudge to call or go visit someone and talk with them a few minutes to encourage them. We may give the excuse that we are too busy, or too tired, or don’t know what to say, especially if there is a difficult situation involved. However if God instructs us to do something and we don’t do it, it is disobedience – a sin (James 4:17). What about that public office you’ve thought about seeking? Or what that Sunday School Class the Lord is encouraging you to teach and you give the reason or excuse that you are not qualified. I know that feeling too. But I have learned that unpreparedness on my part is not a reason to disobey my Lord; for when I step out in faith, God meets that need too. In those times, as I studied to prepare a lesson, He provided the anointing and grace to do what He asked me to do. So I say to those who are struggling in this area be brave and give God a chance to work in you the good work He wants to do.
What about resentment, hostility, or even jealousy? Ever have those ugly notions come up in your thoughts and emotions? We need to realize that all those attributes are part of enmity, and if we carry them around in our heart, we are holding enmity in our heart instead of love. The Bible tells us that God is love, so if love is not reigning in our heart, what is? Can you see how careful we need to be in monitoring our motives, actions, words, and thoughts? All are connected to the manner in which we live for God. If any of these characteristics of enmity are in our heart and life then we are walking and living in active opposition towards God. It is that simple.
I’m not trying to discourage anyone; we can all grow and mature in the love of God and allow Him to complete the purpose He has for our lives. Opportunities come to all of us to give in to these feelings inadequacies, the key is to not let any of them take root in our spirit; to not allow those thoughts to sprout and bring forth actions that then result in a harvest of other problems.
The first time we see the word enmity in the Bible is in chapter three of Genesis where we read about the Fall of Man, (the deception of Eve and the disobedience of Adam). When Adam ate of the fruit of the tree of good and evil he disobeyed God’s command to ‘not’ eat of it. That single disobedience changed the world for him and for all generations after him. That one disobedience placed him in a hostile world that before was serene and pleasant. That one disobedient decision placed him in active opposition to God.
Moses sinned when he struck the rock twice instead of speaking to it for water for the Israelites and therefore he didn’t get to enter the Promise Land (Number 20:8-12). In First Samuel 15 we read how the disobedience of King Saul cost him the crown. David’s child died because of his sin of adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11). Ananias and Sapphira both died because they lied about the amount of money they received from the selling of their possessions (Acts 5). Those are all bad decision with bad results, but one good decision can also have a good result. Think of the disciples who left their fishing boats to follow Jesus; it changed their lives and that of the world as we read in the fourth chapter of Matthew. The one decision of Saul of Tarsus to acknowledge who Jesus was when he met Him on the way to Damascus changed his life from persecuting the Church to teaching the Church. James, the half-brother of Jesus, made the decision to accept Jesus as Savior and it changed him from being just the brother of Jesus the carpenter to one of the brethren of Jesus in the faith. So don’t ever think that your decisions don’t affect others; they do. That’s why it’s so important to keep our heart and life right with God. Our lives do affect the world.
So how do we avoid this enmity, this hostile active opposition against the Lord we love? We eliminate it by believing and submitting ourselves to God and obeying His Word. We walk according to all His Commandments.
First Corinthians 13 gives us a very good description of what not to be and what we are to be. Read it, meditate on it, and makes decisions to obey and live by it. We need to make a decision daily to continually renew our mind to the Word of God, which transforms our desires, thinking, words, and actions from the world’s way of doing things to God’s way of doing things.
Dear Heavenly Father, I pray right now according to Psalm 51:1-2 and 10; have mercy on us and according to your loving kindness and mercies blot out our transgressions; wash us from our iniquity and cleanse us from our sin. Create in us a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within us, that we will be strong and courageous to obey Your Word and live a holy life for you.
James 4:7 – Submit yourselves therefore to God.
Romans 12:2 – And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.