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Useful Enemies

Judges 3:1-4

Have you ever been in a situation where everything appears to be amazing? You are moving forward in life, there are no significant problems, issues or challenges and life is good. But as you enjoy living the dream, suddenly, an issue pops up, a deep temptation comes from nowhere, a financial problem abruptly appears, or some other major life event erupts without warning…

This is what God’s people experienced as they settled in the Promised Land. As they lived in the place of promise, enjoyed the land of milk and honey, lived in peace and enjoyed prosperity, remnants of already defeated enemies began to show up to challenge their comfort. The interesting thing here is that God intentionally allowed these defeated enemies to stay for a purpose, to teach a generation who hadn’t known warfare how to fight. In short, God was keeping them on their toes and challenging their apathy and ease.

Times on the mountaintop of blessing, peace and rest are always welcome, but in those times human nature can cause us to let down our guard. Apathy and ease can set in and cause us to get careless, to take our eyes off Jesus and even drift from that narrow path. In those moments God can lift just enough of our protection to allow an already defeated enemy to challenge us and refocus our attention where it should be. When temptation comes, when challenges arise, hardship strikes or life takes a turn for the worse, it’s a reminder that even in the place of promise we need to be alert, vigilant and aware of our enemy and our tendency to wander.

We live in a fallen sinful world that consistently calls us to live in ease, compromise and conformity. Every day we’ll be challenged or tempted to live in ways that are opposite to our Christian convictions. Every day we’ll experience opportunities to settle for less than what God has promised us. Every day we will be faced with choices to follow Jesus or to conform to the sinful culture around us. But as we choose Jesus and reject everything that opposes his Kingdom, every trial or tribulation will cause our endurance to grow, our joy to be full, and our maturity to deepen (James 1:2-18).

In this world, God can and will use every experience to draw us closer, equip us for great exploits, and increasingly make us more like Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. Embrace HIM in the trials!

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:2–4, NLT)

Lord, please help me every day to recognise every experience as an opportunity for growth. Enable me to live in a state of readiness and endurance in every blessing, trial and tribulation. Amen

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