Your Worst Enemy Is You!
“The greatest enemy to human souls is the self-righteous spirit which makes men look to themselves for salvation.”Charles Spurgeon
Whilst praying and seeking God for breakthrough in a couple of areas of my life, I felt the Lord say,
“Your worst enemy in your life is not the devil, it’s you.”
WHAT?! I wasn’t expecting this response from God!
He went on to say, “The devil is defeated. I defeated him on the cross. He is not the issue, your flesh is the issue. Your flesh is your enemy, and when you allow your flesh to dominate you, you are giving the devil a foothold into your life.”
The Lord then reminded me that my former self died and I’m a new creation. So why am I giving oxygen to my flesh?
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 (NIV)
We are all born with a sinful nature. No one teaches us how to sin, it comes so naturally to us. But even when we “get saved” have you noticed that our transformation to be Christ-like is not immediate?
Yes, our spirits are awakened to God and we are forgiven and filled with His Holy Spirit, but we then have a responsibility to put to death the old man and choose to live by the Spirit.
“So then, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation, but not to our flesh [our human nature, our worldliness, our sinful capacity], to live according to the [impulses of the] flesh [our nature without the Holy Spirit]– for if you are living according to the [impulses of the] flesh, you are going to die. But if [you are living] by the [power of the Holy] Spirit you are habitually putting to death the sinful deeds of the body, you will [really] live forever.” Romans 8:12-13 (AMP)
If we are to see the fullness of what God has for us in our lives, it is imperative that we do not allow anything to hold us back in our God-given destiny.
Yes, the devil will try to thwart God’s plans for our lives, but only if we allow him. He waits on the sidelines looking for the open door. He stirs up temptations provoking our old man. But the Word of God tells us…
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.” James 4:7-8 (NIV)
Jesus demonstrated this when He was tempted by the devil in the wilderness in Matthew 4.
You see, God has given us free will. He won’t make us do anything, but He gives us instructions that we have a choice to obey or ignore.
Time and time again the Bible directs us to put to death our old self.
“Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” Ephesians 4:22-24 (NLT)
So what are you allowing to dominate you? Fear, unforgiveness, envy, anger, jealousy, gossip? Without realising it, we can subtly be feeding our flesh and then wonder why we’re struggling.
“But now rid yourselves [completely] of all these things: anger, rage, malice, slander, and obscene (abusive, filthy, vulgar) language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new [spiritual] self who is being continually renewed in true knowledge in the image of Him who created the new self.” Col 3:8-10 (AMP)
God did His part on the cross. We now have a responsibility to do our part. It’s not just about saying a one time “yes” to Jesus. Daily we must put to death the old nature in us and choose to renew our mind in the Word of God. Follow His instruction and pledge allegiance to the King of kings.
“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23 (NLT)
How’s Your Heart?
I used to have a computer that was so slow that when I switched it on I’d have to leave it to chunter away for 10 minutes whilst I went to do the laundry or hang out the washing, so I didn’t have to sit there and watch it loading.
Now, I’m not a “techie” kind of a person, but I do know that when this happens, there’s too much going on for the computer to cope with, perhaps unnecessary programs running in the background and it needs a serious clean up and “de-frag” (or whatever you call it).
When we don’t keep our hearts clean and guarded from irritations, accusations, ego, gossip, hurts, jealousy and insecurity, then like my computer we struggle to operate effectively and become weary.
Too much is going on on the inside of us for our hearts to cope with. I believe this can delay our destiny and even put our lives on hold.
Perhaps, (like with me and my computer) God’s waiting for us to “load” and goes to do other work or use someone else until we’re ready to cooperate? Ouch!! My heart immediately cries, “Don’t pass me by! I want to be ready to be used by You.”
As I’ve been reading the story of David in the Bible, I am overwhelmed by his heart-response to many situations he faced.
He was not only a man after God’s own heart but he was a man who knew how to guard his heart. He was pursued with hate, envy and jealousy by King Saul, a man David served and honoured. Many times David asked the question, (talking to Jonathan, Saul’s Son)
“What have I done? What is my crime? How have I wronged your father, that he is trying to kill me?” 1 Samuel 20:1
Twice David had the opportunity to kill him but he chose to show honour. He never avenged himself, even when he had the opportunity.
“I will not lay my hand on my lord, because he is the Lord’s anointed.” 1 Samuel 24:10
David’s heart was kept humble, pure and dependent on God. In the book of Psalms he writes,
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By living by Your Word. I have looked for You with all my heart. Do not let me turn from Your Law. Your Word have I hid in my heart, that I may not sin against You.” Psalm 119:9-11
We’ve all been through heart-break situations and as life goes on it can feel like there are layers of scars and bruises on the inside of us, but we have a choice….We can either let these war wounds make us, or break us. They can make us bitter or better.
I believe God used these difficult situations to make David into the man he was. David kept his heart clean because he knew when he did that he had favour with God.
“In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him.” 1 Samuel 18:14
Even when David sinned, his first response was…“Cleanse my heart!”
“Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 (NLT)
Perhaps, like David, you feel you’ve been wronged by other people, or dealt a bad hand in life. Can I encourage you to examine your heart and if needs be respond like David, “Create in me a clean heart.”
It didn’t take long to clean up my computer and it soon started running at full speed again.
Let a deep clean take place in your heart. Release forgiveness, eradicate bitterness, isolate insecurities, banish worry.
You’re precious. Your heart, the real you, the inner you, is where life springs from. So keep it fresh, pure, healed and forgiven.
“Keep vigilant watch over your heart;
that’s where life starts.
Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth;
avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip.
Keep your eyes straight ahead;
ignore all sideshow distractions.
Watch your step,
and the road will stretch out smooth before you.
Look neither right nor left;
leave evil in the dust.”
Proverbs 4:23-27 (MSG)
An Extract from “A Fusion Of Humanity & Divinity”, a book by Victoria Cooper available from Amazon globally or from our online shop.
This book takes you on a journey and tackles some real issues and strongholds in our humanity which holds us back from this incredible partnership God meant us to participate in from the start.