Invisible Enemies from Trusted Friends

Invisible enemies can come from trusted friends. 

Peter meant well. His heart was (generally) in the right place, but his thoughts were limited and led him to wrong conclusions. 

Just moments before, Peter had made a brilliant and insightful statement, a revelation given to Him by God, when he said to Jesus: “You are the Christ (anointed one), sent by God!” But, after Jesus told His followers that He would suffer and die, Peter refused to believe it and began to rebuke Jesus, arguing against what He said, sternly confronting Him. 

Can you imagine that scene from Heaven’s vantage point? The angels huddled up, ate popcorn and watched. When Peter said, “You are the Christ…”, Heaven erupted in cheers and the angels called the Father over to witness how Peter was honoring His Son. 

The applause subsided just in time for all of Heaven to see Peter’s brow begin to furl at Jesus’ words of suffering and death. One of the angels could be heard whispering under his breath, “Don’t do it, Pete.” Too late. Peter unleashed on Jesus, in front of God and everybody. And the angels went silent, except for a group of young cherubs who said, “Ooooo, he’s in trouble now!”

The Father looked down on the scene and smiled, knowing Peter’s heart, knowing how Jesus would respond, and knowing that this would be a defining moment. 

Back to Caesaria Philippi, where Peter had just finished rebuking God’s Son, Jesus responded:

But [Jesus] turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”‭‭ Matthew‬ ‭16:23‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Invisible enemies can come from trusted friends. 

Every now and then a friend or family member says or does something that hinders me more than it helps me. They mean well, but their words and perspectives are distorted. They sometimes speak out of fear, and not out of faith. They love me, but they’re not helping me at the moment. 

Paul’s last visit with the Ephesians elders was similarly bittersweet. He loved them deeply, having given years of his life in ministry there. But when they prophesied that he would face persecution and chains, they assumed he should not to go to Jerusalem, and told him so – even begging and putting pressure on him. Yet, Paul, knowing that the Holy Spirit wanted him to go, despite the chains that awaited him, rejected their advice and set his heart to obey God. His friends’ hearts were right, but their words were wrong. 

Sometimes you have to rebuke words that come from friends. While I don’t recommend you call them “Satan”, you must discern those times when words are being inspired more by spirits of darkness, rather than the Spirit of Light. 

Jesus didn’t reject Peter’s  friendship, but He did confront the spirit behind what he said. Today, perhaps you need to take some worthless, faithless, hindering words to God, and let Him speak to you the words of life!

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