The well known Arabian proverb “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” is used to conceptualize that when two parties have a common enemy, then one can use the other to advance their goals. We see that this was essentially the case during the time of Jesus. The Pharisees and the Herodians who hated each other united to try to entangle the very Son of God, Jesus Christ (Matthew 22:15-16). We also see that a Roman (Pilate) and a Jew (Herod) who were usually at loggerheads became friends, when trying Jesus for no crime that He had committed (Luke 23:12). Sadly in both of the referenced cases, weak men of the world banded together against a powerful God. Now think of the situation as to how powerful we would be in advancing the apostleship granted to each one of us, if Jesus and us had a common enemy. We do. It is called the world.
Jesus himself said, that the world was his enemy, that it hated him when He exclaimed, “The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.” (John 7:7). He also said that we will be hated of all men for His name’s sake (Luke 21:17) and when He prays for His disciples, He tells God, the Father that the world hates us (John 17:14). All of these verses affirm that the world hated/hates Jesus and the world hates/will hate us, Jesus’ true followers. This means that the world is at enmity with God and at enmity with us. In fact, we are to marvel not (or be surprised) that the world hates us (1 John 3:13). We can be assured of God’s promise that if the world hates us, they are not really in enmity with us, but in enmity with God and God will be the enemy of those who are our enemies and the adversary of those who are our adversaries (Exodus 23:22).
An identical proverb to the Arabian proverb, but of Chinese origin is “it is good to strike the serpent’s head with your enemy’s hand.” We are to strike the Satan’s (serpent’s) head with the hand of the world (our enemy), i.e., not fall prey to evil in the world. Satan uses the world and its lusts to lure us away from God. When we devalue the world and its offerings, we give him no power, symbolically striking a blow to his head. If our allegiance is with the world over that of with the Word of God that became flesh and tabernacled among and in us, then we cannot be in spiritual battle with Satan (which means adversary) or his forces in heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:10-18).
To oxymoronic aspect here is this:
To be a friend of this world is to an enemy with God;
To be an enemy of the world is to be the Friend of God
With the world (and its evil) as our common enemy, we can work hand in hand with God and advance the goals of apostleship that He has entrusted to us, being assured that He will be the enemy of our enemy (the world), meaning that He will be our friend. What a friend we have in Jesus!
John 17:14 (KJV)
14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
James 4:4 (KJV)
4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.