Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,
and abhor those who rise up against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
Is it right for you and me, as Christians, to echo these words of David? Yes—if we also echo what David said in the next two verses: “Search me, O God, and know my heart . . . See if there is any offensive way in me . . .” The enemies of God we need to be most concerned about are not those who attack us from without, but those within our own hearts.
In 1936 there was a civil war in Spain that gave rise tot he phrase ﬁfth column. It happened that a Spanish general was besieging a Spanish city, and a second general asked him about his plan to capture it. “I have four columns attacking the city,” the ﬁrst general replied, “from the north, the south, the east and the west. But it’s my ﬁfth column that I’m expecting to take the city for me.” “Where is your ﬁfth column?” the second general asked. The reply was brief: “Inside the city.”
So it is with us Christians. We can never be defeated from without, but if there is a ﬁfth column of God’s enemies in our hearts, that spells defeat. A young man once confessed to me that he had a problem with lust. “But I rather enjoy it,” he added. “Do you think God will deliver me?” “Deﬁnitely not!” I replied. “God delivers us from our enemies, not from our friends.” We cannot afford to be friends with God’s enemies.
Show me, Lord, if I am harbouring a “ﬁfth column” in my heart, and help me to get rid of it.
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The Psalms supply encouragement, inspiration, correction, inner strength and vision. These short meditations on the Psalms help get your day off to a good start!