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My Worst Enemy - A Devotion

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Galatians 5:16-17 (NLT)
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.

You are your own worst enemy and so am I. We think that the face of the adversary comes in the form of other people or terrible tragedy but none of these things can ever separate us from the Love of God. We choose to walk away and it is false to think that anyone can take us from Him. The devil cannot make you do anything that you do not want to do. The face of opposition in our life looks strangely familiar as it resembles our own image. Desperately we seek the Kingdom of God and cry out “unfair” when we miss the mark of the High Calling of Jesus Christ. Tripping and falling over our pride, we fail to gain wisdom from scraped knees and insulted dignity to get back up and runaway again. Looking at the rules and regulations of the Law, people pursue God by religion trying to overcome the flesh with human will power rather than surrender and submission to God. There is no so such thing as compromise or even a place called gray area or middle of the road. You either love God or hate Him altogether. It is human nature to find a safe place to entertain the world yet seek the Lord. Paul talks about our struggle with sin in Romans 7. It’s a good read. One that I wander back to time and time again especially when the way is not clear and my next step uncertain. It is the heart of the matter which has nothing to do with God’s Plan or Provision in my life but determines my final destination. God has a plan. (Jeremiah 29:11) It is a good one with a future and hope. God’s Word including His Law points the way to this future. (Romans 7:14) The problem is with me as I am a slave to sin. My deep desire to have my way is from a heart not fully yielded. It still craves the things of this world and has a secret agenda. But God did not leave us disabled with nothing to lean on. Jesus Christ gave us His Spirit. We are instructed to let the Spirit lead our lives. The Spirit lives in a very hard place. He rests in our heart. God has a plan that includes a future and hope but requires that we pursue Him wholeheartedly. This is our problem. We are our worst enemy.

Romans 7:21-25 (NLT)
I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.

The term “running around like a chicken with its head cut off” is true. Those who have ever had the “pleasure” of beheading a chicken will often tie their feet together because as soon as the head comes off – the body takes off running. Why? It is a futile effort as the bird is clearly dead. It is impulse. These are the final impulses of the brain being carried out before it falls dead. It sounds quite disgusting. However, I believe that it applies to human beings. The moment we attempt to surrender our heart, mind, body and soul to Jesus Christ, it is that very second that our sinful nature becomes our enemy. Our flesh becomes hostile to the Spirit of God that now lives in us and begins to fight for control. Even though our old way of life brought no satisfaction, we crave it all the more. Repentance is a change of direction as we turn our lives back to Heaven and pursue the Kingdom of God. Without a change of direction, there is no change in destination. We will chase after what we desire. To conquer the flesh means to change our heart, mind, body and spirit. It is the death of me in every sense of the word so my heart, mind, soul and body oppose the change that leads to death refusing to follow the Spirit to the Perfect Plan of God for our life. To change our direction in life requires a change of in our desires. We are completely incapable of doing so without the guidance of God’s Spirit living inside of us. Even with His Spirit, it is a full-on war!

James 1:13-15 (NLT)
And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

There are babies born every day. Each one is a precious person created by God with a purpose that leads to fulfillment. But many of those infants will be neglected and abused, so they will fail to thrive. There are some who will leave the earth today at the hands of the ones who God gave the privilege of parenting. We are born in our flesh. It is everything that is contradictory to God as it is unyielding and unruly. Stubbornly it seeks satisfaction in life caring nothing for the source. When a baby is born, if not nurtured it will die. If he is neglected, he will experience failure to thrive. But the baby who is well-cared for will grow, develop and prosper to a child, adolescent and adult. This is how it is with human desire. The desires that we nurture grow and develop but those we ignore or set ourselves apart from will die. God does not tempt people. He cares for them. He has given us His Spirit alive and breathing within us to change our heart. His Purpose is to place a longing and great desire within us to know Him more so we will desire the Lord and all that He has for us. It was never God’s Intention to live apart from His People – His People chose such a life when they wanted something more than God. Temptation comes from own desires seeking their own way according to our will with little or no interest in God’s Plan and Purpose for our life. God’s Spirit lives inside of us and is envious of everything that we have allowed to become a barrier between us the two of us. He wants it removed so He can come closer and we will cling tighter to the Lord. This is not an act of force but humility. As we surrender our body, soul and spirit – He changes the desire of our heart and we are able to turn things around and seek the Lord wholeheartedly. (James 4:5-10) Resisting the enemy begins with the one that lives inside of me as I daily surrender my way for His Way.

I Peter 4:1-2 (NLT)
So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.

Are you finished with sin? Good question and one that we should ask ourselves every single day. Sin is an acute condition. It is a terminal illness that creates unhealthy desires within us. The more sin allowed to remain in us the more likely we are to give in to our sinful nature and human desire which drags us from the Lord and right back where we came from. The Lord instructs us in His Word to “let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2) Sin keeps us from chasing after God. We carry it secretly hidden in our hearts denying it all the time. We are to strip off every weight that slows us down. Sin slows people down every time. Sin trips us up every time. It doesn’t take a lot just a little. Jesus Christ showed us how to overcome our sinful nature by a little thing that is called faith. It has great potential in the hands of the right people. Are you that person? Are you finished with sin and ready to run the race that God has put before you?

Psalm 51:16-17 (NLT)
You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

God does not require a sacrifice. Jesus Christ was more than enough to satisfy our sin debt and open the door to His Kingdom for all mankind. The Blood of Jesus Christ offers forgiveness for every sin that we are willing to surrender to its flow. Grace covers yielding sin. But sin that we continue to harbor, nurture and allow to exist will kill our progress and prosperity every single time. It takes the life right out of us if allowed to co-exist in our heart. A broken spirit is surrendered and submissive to the leading of God demonstrated by the Holy Spirit no longer hostile to His Word, Will and Way. A repentant heart becomes changed as it is yielded completely to the Lord. This takes time. It is going to requires endurance. You will have to wait on the Lord. As God continues to change our heart, He begins to put the pieces back together as His Plan and Purpose becomes our reality. He gave you enough faith to begin the process now it can grow and develop into the prosperous life that you are after. He put Eternity in our hearts so we would one day desire our destination according to His Promises. We have everything that we need to live out God’s Perfect Plan but are we willing to give it back to Him so He can do something with it? Human desire is never satisfied. (Proverbs 27:20-21) As we decide that what human nature desires is nothing compared what the Lord has planned for us, we repent and turn back to home. In doing so, our heart’s desires are granted and we can finally find satisfaction and contentment that once was elusive. (Psalm 21:1-4) We are driven by desire to seek fulfillment. (Isaiah 57:10) If we would just be honest with the Lord about our struggle with sin, He could meet us in that place with grace sufficient for the cause. This would allow us to finally find success! (Psalm 51:5-6)

Matthew 6:20-23 (NLT)
Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!

What do you treasure the most in this life? It will be the object of your affection. It will be the picture of your success. It will be the substance of your satisfaction. You will exhaust yourself in this world trying to have it all and have it now. We born pursing satisfaction but grossly misled in its substance. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and evidence of the unseen. (Hebrews 11:1) This leads me to believe that if I can see it, it cannot bring me satisfaction. I must decide what real treasure is. Everything in this life is subject to death and destruction. The only thing worth saving is human beings according to God who will wipe this planet clean one day. If this is the case than the real treasure that we are after is not seen. Heaven is real although we cannot see it. The Kingdom of God is like a luxurious destination that we have only seen glimpses of in brochures. The devil wants you to question the picture painted in God’s Word and the faith that is trying to grow in our lives. How many times is the real thing less than the brochure? How many times does the product not meet the hype? Manufacturers sell lies every single day. People are not satisfied but settle for the immediate gratification rather than pursing full satisfaction. We change our appetite by changing our diet. You are what you eat physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. When God’s Word falls on a heart crowded with the things of this world and pursuit of the American Dream, it is choked out because it cannot offer the immediate gratification that we are after. It is a process and nobody wants to wait anymore. (Mark 4:18-19) Hebrews 11 talks about men and women who died to hold on their faith but we are a world that has surrendered faith for fear and will actually pay for it if necessary. There is no appreciation for the vast potential found by faith in the Living God who is alive in us. We do not believe so our lives are impossible. (Matthew 17:14-20) We can’t because we do not believe giving our faith to a world that consumes us. Impossible becomes possible when we decide that our faith is more precious than any other commodity this world has to offer. When we seek it more than wealth, power and influence – we will succeed in becoming rich, powerful and influential all because of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 5:6 (NKJV)
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled.

What are you after today? What do you desire above all else? Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be satisfied. It sounds so easy but it will be a fight for your life. Like battling a sinking ship with a teaspoon, you will feel the constant battle within to remain reconciled to Christ with a body in full rebellion. (I Timothy 2:1-6) Faith is worth fighting for even when the enemy is you. God give us that which we desire even when it is not good for us because He is always good and loves us enough to allow us to choose the life that we want to live. (Psalm 78:29) If you are not satisfied with your life, don’t blame God. It is your desires that are being fulfilled. His Plan and Purpose with every promise they contain are achieved from start to finish by faith in God allowed to prosper in the Grace given by Jesus Christ. Discernment allows us to separate the truth from a life. (I John 2:18-21) You must know the Word of God to rightly divide your life. (Hebrews 4:12-13) The message of the pulpits today is confusing and often contrary infused with manmade gospels that are not true. God has given us His Spirit. We must feed the Spirit the Word which He can use to change our mind. This will change our desires. He will become hungry for God. We will thirst for His Spirit. We will be satisfied now and forevermore. It is a battle worth winning even if it means total surrender and submission to the Lord (which it will)! ”For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” (Philippians 2:12) Help the Lord win the battle for your heart today by surrendering all that you are to all that He is! He has a good plan with a future and hope well worth having. Make today count. Stop being your own worst enemy – surrender your life to Jesus Christ!

Romans 8:28-29 (NKJV)
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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