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My Enemies


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I have been reading through the Psalms in my Bible reading, and one of the amazing themes that continually comes up is the enemies in the Psalmist's life. The Psalmist is perpetually asking God to either rescue him, give him strength, or protect him from the enemies who surround him.

 

Now, enemies can come in a variety of forms … from a personal enemy to a national or international enemy. It can even be a government, an agency, or even the police who are being led and directed by an evil mayor. I have always felt that culture is an enemy, and God even directed Israel not to follow the customs of the nations. John writes that anyone who loves this world (culture), more than God is are not a friend of God. Culture is a god apart from the God of the Bible, and it is out to destroy the lives of people who worship it. Our great enemy is indeed the devil, and he masquerades as being good and an angel of light. Culture can model itself after this angel of light and what it presents is good and not evil. Most of the time, we think evil is only dark and sinister, but there are good things that can be evil as well because they are the counterfeit of the real.

 

The enemy today is our culture. It lies in waiting until the age of our children can best be influenced by it, and then adhere to the many voices within it. For example, culture doesn’t have to prove itself, it just has to tell its story over and over again, and people will believe. Mr. Hassner, a Professor of Political Science at the University of California Berkeley, conducted a survey with students at the University where he teaches. This is what he found. When college students who sympathize with Palestinians chant, “From the river to the sea,” do they know what they’re talking about? I hired a survey firm to poll 250 students from a variety of backgrounds across the United States. Most said they supported the chant, some enthusiastically so (32.8%), and others to a lesser extent (53.2%). However, only 47% of the students who embraced the slogan were able to name the river and the sea.

 

I have found the arguments people make based upon a cultural context, will often be misinformed on the facts. But that is the point. Culture does not care about the facts … it cares only about the feelings because emotions are easy to influence. An enemy will use whatever means possible to snag the emotions and begin the process of influence. Culture is no friend to you as a person, and no friend to your family. David describes what enemies do:


Psalm 17:9 Protect me from wicked people who attack me, from murderous enemies who surround me.

 

Psalm 17:12 They are like hungry lions, eager to tear me apart like young lions hiding in ambush.

 

I found that the enemies of culture do surround us continually, and they often hide their agenda until it’s too late. If we were to compare the values of the culture around us, we would find that those values violate the values of God as taught by the Bible. A group of Muslim parents in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, are suing the School Board because of the curriculum they are teaching their kids. In their lawsuit, they said that the values being taught about homosexuality violate their religious beliefs, and they did not want their children exposed to such ideas. The School Board’s response was, “These materials are in alignment with the values that we hold in St. Louis Park Public Schools around inclusive beliefs and identities, which is why we’ve intentionally shared these points of pride with our community this school year.”

 

Again, the culture’s values set the pace for the teaching curriculum in that School District, and this is the way it is in most school districts. The curriculum doesn’t just explain homosexuality … it endorses it as a lifestyle and as a value of American culture today. I could run down a list of values our culture supports that God says are wrong, and we should avoid Christianity, but most of us are aware we live in a dark period in our history. The other day, I was mentioning to my wife, how meaningful the classic Christmas music was that we were listening to, and she said, "Well, it was from a different era.” How right she is … a different era did not face the values that now play out in our world. As a young pastor, I remember the words of an older pastor getting ready to retire. He said, “I feel sorry for you young guys starting in the ministry because you will face a culture you were never trained to face.” He is right … we were never trained to face a culture that no longer recognizes the message of the Bible. My enemies are all around me, and I am reminded of the Psalmist’s words:

 

Psalm 18:3 I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and He saved me from my enemies.

 

A saying I heard when I first became a Christian is still valid today. “As a Christian, I am in the world, but I am not of the world.” Learning to be wise as serpents and as meek as doves, is the calling to our culture. Our calling as Christians is to address the culture, without being afraid of telling the truth … this is the ministry of the Church.

 

Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler

 

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