Our Own Worst Enemy
My friends, as Independence Day approaches we’d like to discuss the idea that even though independence, certainly, is a wonderful blessing from God’s hand, when it is not used in the ways our Lord intended for it to be used it could turn out to be our own worst enemy.
The Fall of Man
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. Genesis 3:2-3
As most know, Adam, even though he was warned by God himself not to eat of the fruit in the midst of the garden, because Eve tempted him, he did. Why? Because man has a rebellious nature so he rebels against anything he thinks that would keep him from getting something he wants. This rebellious nature of man is one of the things that created many of his problems down through the ages. Even though God gave each of us a free will to use in our lives to make the right choices and decisions, we can see from this scripture that wrong and harmful choices were being made right from the very beginning of time.
There are many enemies throughout our world today. Some nations are considered to be our enemies. Then there are the terrorists who are our enemies. There may be others who we could consider our enemy, or some who would like to do us harm. But a large problem for many is that we are our own worst enemy. Take for instance the alcoholic. He is his own worst enemy. The drug addict is his worst enemy. The smoker is his worst enemy. The shop lifter is his worst enemy. The gossiper is their worst enemy. Do you get the picture? Why is it we are destroying ourselves, or cheating ourselves out of a better life? Have you ever even considered that you may be missing a better life because of your own actions? Think about it for a moment. Oh, at first you may disagree, but after you think about it a while you may come to a different conclusion. Hopefully it would be the right conclusion.
A Saving Grace
Along with free will and freedom, we have God’s Word. The instruction book for life. In order to receive any blessings from God and be able to make the most of all the opportunities he planned for us even before we were created, we need to use his word properly and prayerfully. The problem is, over time in our country and many societies all over the world, people have put God on the back burner. Living independent of God, choosing to do the things they want, never once thinking about how God sees all of this. Even so God continues to give all of us many more chances than we could ever deserve, as he lovingly, and patiently waits for us to repent. We would all admit this if we were honest with ourselves. When we get to heaven, those of us who go there will discover that we missed out on many blessings because we did not allow the wisdom of God to guide us. We went about life doing as we saw fit. I also suspect that those who are unsaved will realize they are where they are because of their own choice. Yes, we make our decisions. No one makes them for us. We are responsible for the choices we make whether they are right or wrong. Wrong decisions come from our hearts. The savior said;
And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. Mark 7:18-23
Even as believers we must adhere to the teaching of scriptures to keep us in fellowship with the Lord. So if we fail to live by the Word of God we will surely be prone to err and make mistakes that will be costly to us.
Led By Self
It is so easy for us to be led by what we see and what we like. How many of us make purchases either large or small and never ask the Lord about it? We just take for granted we know best. So we proceed to buy, sell, trade and live according to our own judgment. We actually think we are getting away with it. Even though it all appears to be working out we should have considered the chastisement awaiting us when we did not live by faith, but lived by sight. (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 2 Corinthians 5:7 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Psalms 119:11 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. James 1:22 ... for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. Romans 14:23 Did you really read the above scriptures? I mean did you really take them in? They really mean what they say, and say what they mean. WOW!
We Are Careless
Why are we so careless with our spiritual lives? It is a sign of the times we live in. That’s the way everyone does it or the way most people live, I suppose, we reason. Is that why the Apostle Peter wrote the scripture that stated;
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18
He knew we all need to continue to grow in the Lord to become the people of God we are to be. As Christians we are told by the Apostle John;
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 1 John 2:15-17
And yet, how many of us find ourselves trapped by our own doings, failing to guard ourselves from the very evils we are so plainly warned about. What happens is we forget who we are. Do you know who we are? In these permissive times we have forgotten who we are. We are the children of God to be sure, but somehow our minds have been dulled to what that means. Maybe we should allow the Apostle Paul to remind us again.
For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. Romans 14:8
Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1Corinthians 6:15-20
Can God make it any clearer who the Christian belongs to. There is no disputing this, we belong to the Lord solely. Folks, this pretty much leaves out this idea that we are independent. Yes, as we said, we have free will but that does not mean we do not belong solely to the Lord! I have seen a boat get loose from where it was tied up. When the rope that held it slipped off, the boat began to drift out away from the shore. That is a simple, but very good picture of a Christian who gets out of their appointed place with the Lord. We lose fellowship with him and we wander into dangerous territory. It is always safer living in the will of God. When we have decided to do our thing and do as we please, we are never as safe as we were, when we were living in fellowship with our Savior. In Hebrews the apostle writes;
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. tells of the chastening hand of God, Hebrews 12:6-8
We Are Satisfied
Isn’t it true we are satisfied living the way we do? If I get too committed to the Lord, I may have to spend too much time working at, or for the church. Don’t many Christians reason this way? Do you? Do you think it is someone else who should be doing all the things that is needed to have services on Sunday? That someone else should cut the grass, vacuum the church, or do this or that. Have you ever thought about the money that could be saved and used for missions if the congregation of Christians pitched in to clean and vacuum the church, cut the grass, paint or did any of the needed repairs if they were only committed to the Lord’s work. But no, we are satisfied to pay someone who may not even be a member of our church, or any church, to keep the house of God prepared for the services. Let me say again, we are our own worst enemy in serving the Lord. We want to serve the Lord, but we don’t want to do anything that would take away too much of our time or resources. Now, isn’t this true? We are living in a time when even we as Christians want to be served. We walk into the restaurant and expect a waitress to come to our table and bring us a menu and take our order for a meal. Then they are to bring it to us, we eat, get up and leave a mess for them to clean up as we walk out the door. Church attendance has about come to these same expectations for service hasn’t it? Most of the congregation does not want to contribute any effort, or anything at all. Some don’t tithe or even give an offering to promote the work of the Savior. Me sacrifice? Me deny myself? Me work for no pay? Me, Me, Me!!! Isn’t that the way it is with so many Christians? People always need to remember who the Lord suffered and died upon the cross for. It was you! It was me! He is the one who had to pay for our sins. Yet, this is a common attitude so many seem to have. They feel they still deserve more from God. What a surprise it will be for many on judgment day when we stand before the Lord.
Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 1Corinthians 3:13
I don’t suppose anyone could describe what it’s like to sacrifice for God better than Apostle Paul. Paul’s words are crystal clear;
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
The Mission of Christ
He came to bring us life. Many people, I am sure need to reassess their lives and get in touch with what the Lord commands us to do as Christians.
And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:40
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. John 6:47
If someone fails to trust Christ, they will be their own worst enemy for the destruction of their soul in hell. Jesus said to the Jews of his day;
And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. John 5:40
Please don’t be like King Agrippa in Acts who told the Apostle Paul when he witnessed to him;
Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. Acts 26:28
There is no record that King Agrippa was ever saved. Here was a powerful man, but he was his own eternal worst enemy, because he lost his own soul by refusing to trust Jesus Christ as his personal savior. Have you received the life that only the savior can give you? I trust that you have, and if so you are rejoicing in the Lord today. But if you are living a life of independence, or rebellion, please reconsider your ways today while there is still time and call upon the savior right now. He is always willing to forgive those who ask him.
Father, thank you for the salvation that is Jesus Christ, who saves us from our self. Use us to encourage others to trust the savior and know the pardon and forgiveness of sins. This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.