An enemy is a person or nation who is actively opposed or hostile to another.
When entering the Promised Land God instructed the Israelites to utterly destroy or drive from their inheritance the occupying nations as a protection from adopting their evil practices and lifestyles (Ex 23:31,33; Deut 7:2-6). God demanded this as judgement upon the other nations for their sin, with Israel being the instrument He used.
Today while we may not agree with the actions of others, we should not have harmful desires against them, even if they do towards us, for God’s instructions are to: love our enemies, praying for those who persecute us (Lk 6:27,28,35); bless and do not curse them (Rom 12:14); do not repay evil for evil but with blessing (Rom 12:17,19; 1 Pet 3:9); even if others treat us with aggression, as Christians we are to show love, gentleness, forgiveness, turning the other cheek and not being overcome by evil but overcoming evil with good (Mt 5:39; Rom 12:21); doing to others what we would like done to us – this is the general rule for what we receive back (Lk 6:31,38; Gal 6:7,8); if they are hungry feed them – the Lord will reward you (Prov 25:21,22); hate the sin but love the sinner (Rom 12:9); resolve differences with any enemies before they get out of hand – seeking to find common goals or points which you agree on rather than accentuating conflict in areas which may be of no great consequence (Mt 5:25); as much as it is possible live at peace with all people (Rom 12:18). We are to respond in the opposite spirit to the world – blessing and doing good where they would do harm. Joseph’s brothers acted in hate, while Joseph acted in love – “What you did as my enemies, God turned into good to bless many people” (Gen 50:20). The Bible counsels us not to gloat or rejoice when any earthly enemy falls (Prov 24:17).
Christ defeated the enemy on our behalf – live in the victory
Satan also uses deception and our un-crucified wrong desires (the darkness of sin within) to drag us away from God and goodness. The enemy of our souls is out to steal, destroy and kill the life of Christ within (Jn 10:10). We need deliverance not just from sin but the power it holds over us. Our carnal inner desires are easily aroused by the slightest temptation, hence the call to defeat the enemy within, where the greatest battle rages. We are to take captive negative, destructive thoughts that are contrary to God’s way (2 Cor 10:5). Satan would have us believe our feelings and doubt the Word of God. If we have unconfessed sin in our lives Satan has a legal right to use this foothold to gain more leverage (Eph 4:27). It is essential to repent of sin and walk covered by the blood of Christ, then we are able to resist Satan as we live pure lives before the Lord (Jas 4:7,8; 1 Jn 1:9).
By putting on the spiritual armour, using the weapons as well as humbly walking in obedience with Christ we will stand victorious, because ‘greater is He that is in us’, than Satan who opposes us (Eph 6:10-18; 1 Jn 4:4). In our own strength, we can’t stand, but Satan our greatest enemy, was defeated by Christ on our behalf, and so we can be victorious as we rely on Him (Ps 44:3; Col 2:15; Heb 2:14; 1 Jn 3:8). The Lord God Almighty is for us, we are victorious (1 Chr 29:11; Ps 46:7). “Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 15:57).
Jesus said, “I have given you authority over the enemy, but don’t rejoice in that power, rejoice your names are written in heaven” (Lk 10:19,20). Although we should utilize the authority given by Christ, our relationship with God is to be prized more than what can be achieved by using His name.
See also: armour (spiritual), bless/blessed, evil spirits, forgiveness, friends/friendship, hate, opposite spirit, opposition, persecution, revenge, Satan, spiritual warfare, temptation, thinking/thoughts, victory.