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Apr 15, 2011

Enemies Larger Than Our Apathy

I heard an interesting lyric in a song on my new Mumford & Sons CD. I’m not really sure what the rest of the song means, but this line got my attention.
“If only I had an enemy larger than my apathy, I could have won.”
Wow, an enemy larger than my apathy? Sometimes that’s a tall order, given how often I go through life without caring enough for what I should. What could be an enemy large enough to draw a fight out of me, to pull me from my apathetic slumber?

Don’t get me wrong, most of us are pretty good at creating or finding enemies in this world. Even if we’re not angry enough to murder others in our heart, we all have at least a few favorite targets on our enemies list. We have our enemies to gossip about, complain about, work against, avoid, or ignore. Who are yours?

Maybe it’s your boss or that co-worker who mistreats you. Perhaps it’s a mother-in-law or crazy uncle you can’t stand. For others our enemy is the opposing political party, those liberal Democrats, those fat cat Republicans, or worse yet those crazy Tea Partiers and Libertarians. If nothing else, even the nicest, most sanctified guys still have a favorite sports team to root against.

Our problem as men isn’t that we have enemies, as if fighting or standing in opposition is automatically wrong for Christians. The problem with all these so-called enemies is that none of them are large enough to warrant the energy and passion of a godly man in the Lord’s service. We need larger enemies to fight.

Throughout the Bible, most of our manly heroes had enemies to fight against. David had his Goliath and all the enemy nations surrounding Israel, Sampson fought the Philistines, and Moses squared off against the mighty Pharaoh. In the New Testament, Jesus contended with the Pharisees, Paul the Judaizers and false teachers, and the rest of the disciples had to defend their very lives from the Jewish and Roman leaders. In fact, the Bible begins with our forefather Adam losing his first battle with Satan but ends with the New Adam, Christ, defeating Satan once and for all. Everything in between, including our lives, is caught in this great battle between Good and evil.

So why do we waste our time and energy on family squabbles, yelling at the guy who cuts us off on the highway, that ungrateful boss, or our rival ball team. Weren’t we called to fight against bigger enemies than these?

As Christians, our three most obvious enemies, and most present and persistent, are the Devil, the world, and our own flesh. We could exhaust ourselves just fighting these three – and we should. Paul also warns us in Ephesians 6 that we wrestle “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil.”

So where do we find these kind of enemies in our world? Where would a warrior in the Lord’s Army find enemies of this caliber, worthy of Paul’s charge to Timothy to “wage the good warfare” and to “fight the good fight of the faith?” If we take our eyes off of our worldly struggles for a minute, I think we can find plenty to fight for if we just look with God’s perspective.

Isn’t the ongoing evil of abortion worth fighting against? And at the other end of life, will we let our elderly be cast aside when they are no longer considered useful but rather a burden? Shouldn’t we contend against false doctrine and heresy in the church? What about combating the moral decline in our culture? Are you willing to lose your children to the world without a fight? Do you consider poverty, sickness, homelessness, and fear something to combat throughout this world? Will we just submit like mindless sheep as the powerful of this world strive to take away our last freedoms? Is even the holy name of our Lord worth defending?

If you commit yourselves against enemies like these, and fight in the power of Christ, you may one day be able to echo Paul’s words, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Enemies such as these can pull us out of our apathy and into the battle. The song I quoted in the beginning of this post is called “I Gave You All.” That should be our daily goal with God when it comes to committing ourselves to his service, and especially when picking our enemies.
"And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength." - Mark 12:30

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