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Internal strife slips away when the adversary is apparent

"When soldiers lack an enemy, they tend to battle each other." I read this recently regarding some of the inner strife Gen. George Washington faced with his military officers during the Revolutionary War. It was not that the officers were lining ...

"When soldiers lack an enemy, they tend to battle each other."

I read this recently regarding some of the inner strife Gen. George Washington faced with his military officers during the Revolutionary War. It was not that the officers were lining their soldiers up against each other. They were guilty of waging personal battles with other officers, through petty arguments and non-cooperation, as the war wound down.

The challenge with warring soldiers is not limited to our revolution or our continental army.

The experience is repeated in many organizations, including the church. When people lose sight of the enemy, we fight each other.

The Apostle Paul described the Church's enemy as the powers and principalities of darkness, the evil forces of this world. These should suffer the devastation of our attack. However, we often inflict greater damage on one another than we do the enemy, through petty arguments, personal preferences, pride and the struggles for power.

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The evil forces are left unscathed to continue their influence, while we beat up one another.

Perhaps the answer to the church's inner strife is found in identifying the real enemy we are to face, and not the false antagonist we have defined by our unchristian attitudes.

It is surprising how trivial our own issues become when faced with a real adversary.

Which enemy are you firing volleys at today? The one defined by the Apostle Paul, or by you? Is it time to point your musket in the right direction?

Pastor Mark Holmes is an ordained minister in the Wesleyan Church and has served the Darrow Road Wesleyan Church since 1997.

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