The Necessity Of An Enemy (book review)

Have you ever wished that all of your enemies were totally defeated? Have you ever prayed to ask God to defeat all of your enemies? I’ll be honest with you: I have. But according to Ron Carpenter, Jr. that may not be the best prayer for you. In fact, his book might say the exact opposite; it’s called The Necessity Of An Enemy.

Ron uses his personal story of being attacked and personally vilified to show us—as the subtitle states—how the battle you face is your best opportunity. Near the beginning of the book, Ron states:

“I have some important news for you: to fulfill your purpose and stay true to your calling, you’ll need to understand the reason for enemies. If you do that, then when they rise up against you, you will quickly recognize what’s happening.” 

Many of the enemies we face are to prepare us for the greater purpose for which God created us. We cannot simply run away from every battle or ask God to subdue every enemy we face, because those battles and enemies may be preparing us for something greater. Think about David: before he fought Goliath, he had to learn his stone-slinging skills by fighting off a lion and a bear. What if he had asked God to simply scare away the lion, or strike the bear dead? What would David had learned from that?

This book is divided into several sections, and each section has several very short chapters. This format, combined with the study guide at the back of the book, makes it ideal for applying the principles slowly in your life, or for having a great small group discussion with others.

God wants you to be victorious, but He doesn’t want you to take shortcuts to get there. He allows enemies to help build your spiritual skills, and The Necessity Of An Enemy can be a great part of your battle strategy as well.

I am a Waterbrook book reviewer.

Reading The Bible Isn’t Enough

I had to give my congregation a heads-up that I was going to say something that sounded a little like heresy, so they wouldn’t throw me out of the church. So I’m giving you a similar heads-up now: Read this all the way through before you label me a heretic.

Our P119 spiritual workout relies heavily on the Word of God. If we are going to grow as Christians, here’s what I believe:

There is no substitute for the Bible, but the Bible is not enough.

The Pharisees of Jesus’ day knew the Scriptures better than anyone, but they misapplied those Scriptures, using them as billy clubs wielded by the sin police. When we read the Scripture, we must respond to what we read. Prayer is an indispensable part of our spiritual workout because prayer is how we properly respond to God’s Word.

Check this out—

In the He section of Psalm 119 (verses 33-40), you will read words that sound more like a prayer than any of the sections before it. You will hear the psalmist crying out to God as he is confronted by his lack of proper application of God’s Word. As he reads the Scriptures, he asks God to:

  • Teach him what the Scriptures are saying
  • Help him discern the truths found in God’s Word
  • Lead him in the right path
  • Turn his heart away from his natural selfish bent
  • Allow him to see the futility of pursuing earthly possessions
  • Give him boldness in standing up for God’s glory
  • Remove the fear of man that would paralyze his pursuit of God

The last verse of this section is the cycle of read the word → respond in prayer in miniature. How I long for Your precepts! Preserve my life in Your righteousness. Do you see the reading of the Word (Your precepts), and the prayerful response (preserve my life)?

The Bible can be an incredible prayer book for us! Get into the Word, and let the Holy Spirit get the Word into you. You will then be able to respond back to God in His own words! And then I think you will be astounded at how your spiritual life grows!

If you have missed any of the messages in our P119 series, you can access them all by clicking here.

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