FRIEND OR FOE? – A KINGDOM VIEW

Friend or Foe? – A Kingdom View

 

Friend or Foe?

 

Who are the friends in your life and who are the foes?

Before you answer this question, let’s look at this issue from a Kingdom perspective………………….what you find may surprise you!

Matthew 16:21-23

“From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

In this passage, Jesus began to explain to His disciples some events that must take place in His life.

These were not just any events; they were necessary events that were critical to the fulfillment of the purpose for which the Father sent Him to earth.

Jesus told His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Hearing this, Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke Him and tell Him that these things would never happen to Him.

What was Jesus’ response?

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

Whoa! – Is that strong response or what?

You may think, hold on a minute Jesus, this is Peter you are speaking to, not Judas! Don’t you think your response was a bit harsh especially considering that:-

Peter is one of your “boys”. He is a member of your “inner-circle”. You chose him, James and John to participate in things that you did not allow the other 9 disciples to experience, like the raising of Jairus’ daughter (Luke 8:40-42, 49-56)so he must be special to you.

Peter was the only one of the 12 disciples who trusted you enough to get out of a boat in  the middle of a terrible storm in the wee hours of the morning and step on the water and walk toward you because you told Him to come (Matthew 14:22-29).

Just a while before this when you asked your disciples “Who do you say that I am?” Peter was the only one of the 12 who received the revelation that you were the Christ, the Son of the Living God and you called him blessed stating that this revelation did not come from man, but from your Father in heaven. (Matthew 16:15-17)

You told all 12 of your disciples about the events about to occur in your life, but it was only Peter who expressed concern to you about these events.

How can you, Jesus, the loving Son of God respond to Peter in this way? Why did you do this?

The answer lies in verse 23 so let’s examine that verse again.

“Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” (NIV-1984)

In essence Jesus was saying, “Get behind me satan! You are a stumbling block to me because you are not responding to me in a way that is mindful or harmonious with the things that God desires, but mindful and harmonious with the things which man desires.”

He responded to Peter this way because He recognized that Peter’s “concern” was not pure concern at all but a clever trap of satan enabled by Peter’s selfish desires and man-centered thinking.

Peter’s selfish, man-centered mindset as opposed to self-denying, God-centered mindset became an opportune vehicle through which satan could use him as a foe as opposed to a friend to Jesus; a foe in that his satanically inspired words were geared toward moving Jesus away from as opposed to toward His divine purpose.

Although on the surface Peter’s response to Jesus’ communication about His suffering, death and resurrection seemed caring, noble and good, a closer look at it revealed it as insidiously evil.

It was a trap of satan cloaked in the guise of concern but with the underlying goal of deterring Jesus from completing the divine purpose for which God had sent Him so when Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get behind me satan”, He was not actually calling Peter satan, but was speaking directly to satan as he manifested through Peter.

I believe that the Biblical account of this event reveals a critical Kingdom principle that is important for us to keep in mind as we interact with others.

  • Anyone whose words or actions seek to move you away from or cause you to stumble in the face of God’s divine purpose for your life is acting as a foe.

 CONVERSELY

  • Anyone whose words or actions seek to move you toward or cause you to stand in the face of God’s divine purpose for your life is acting as a friend.

That’s why in Matthew 26:47-50, when Judas approached, identified and betrayed Jesus, Jesus addressed Him as friend.

“While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people.

Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.

Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came for.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.” (NIV-1984)

Although apparently ill-meaning on the surface, Judas’ words and actions were in agreement to God’s purpose for Jesus that He suffer, die, and be raised again so he was operating as a friend.

Although apparently well-meaning on the surface, Peter’s words and actions were in opposition to God’s purpose for Jesus that He suffer, die, and be raised again so he was operating as a foe.

SELAH!

Now in light of the above, as I did at the beginning, I ask again, who are the friends in your life and who are the foes?

Take an inventory of everyone – spouse, children, extended family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, classmates, co-workers, fellow Believers, etc. and with the help of the Holy Spirit ask yourself the following questions:-

1)  Who tends to move me away from and/or discourage me from walking in God’s divine purpose for my life, i.e., to operate as a foe?

SELAH!

2)  Who tends to move me toward and/or encourage me to walk in God’s divine purpose for my life, i.e., to operate as a friend?

SELAH!

Has this exercise been an eye-opener for you?

Are there any people in your life that you thought were operating as friends but are really operating as foes?

Are there any that you thought were operating as foes but are really operating as friends?

Whatever the case, even if your findings are surprising or even un-nerving, do not reject this new-found information.

Instead, ask the Lord to show you how to use it to benefit His Kingdom purposes in your life and to show you how best to handle each person whether they tend to operate as a friend or foe.

I hope that this post has helped you and will enable you to better discern the new persons that come into your life not just in light of their actions and/or words, but in light of whether or not their actions and/or words serve to move you toward or away from God’s divine purpose for your life.

 

The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray.
(Proverbs 12:26 – NLT)

Be encouraged!

Kim

Copyright © 2011 by Kim, Author of “Unwalled” Blog, All rights reserved.

Image Courtesy Renjith Krishan/FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

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