I’d like to talk to you about the greatest enemy that we face in this hour—an enemy who remains the cleverest, deadliest, and most damnable peril to our soul. Let me begin with a poem that’s a fitting opener for the things the Lord wants to say to us in this blog.

  • An enemy I had whose mien
  • I stoutly strove to know
  • For hard he dodged my steps unseen
  • Wherever I might go.
  • My plans he balked, my aims he foiled
  • He blocked my onward way.
  • When for some lofty goal I’d toil
  • He grimly told me “Nay!”
  • “Come forth!,” I cried. “Lay bare thy guise
  • thy features I would see.”
  • But always to my straining eyes
  • He dwelt in mystery.
  • One night I seized and held him fast
  • The veil from him did draw.
  • I gazed upon his face at last
  • And lo, myself I saw!

The poem was written by a gentleman named Edwin O. Sabin. Its title is Myself. And it so aptly expresses the simple, overlooked, and neglected truth that the greatest enemy we Christians face in this hour is the enemy from within—Self.


No, my friends, the greatest enemy we face is not the Devil. He’s a powerful foe alright. But our Lord defeated and conquered that foe. And if we would believe it and walk in its glorious power, Jesus has given us power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt us, Luke 10:19.

The Devil cannot damn a one of us. But if anyone of us be damned it is because we’ve not given heed to Christ’s words to crucify Self in order that we might live. You see, the uncrucified Self is the greatest, deadliest, and most damnable enemy we face. Why is that? Because IF WE DON’T KILL IT, IT WILL KILL US. IF WE DON’T PUT SELF TO DEATH, SELF WILL PUT US TO DEATH. Read it for yourself from the words of Scripture.

  •  Luke 14:27, And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
  • Romans 8:13, For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die.
  • Galatians 5:19-21, Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness [sensual, fleshly, lustful], {20} Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance [strifes, fightings], emulations [jealousies], wrath [angers], strife [disputes], seditions [dissensions], heresies [factions, divisions], {21} Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings [carousing/partying without inhibitions or restraints], and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
  • Galatians 6:8, For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption.


Now the thing about it is, SELF DOESN’T DIE OF ITSELF OR BY ITSELF. IT DOESN’T CONTRACT A FATAL DISEASE THAT ENDS UP KILLING IT. SELF CANNOT BE ASSASSINATED OR MURDERED BY YOUR PARENTS, YOUR PASTOR, YOUR SPOUSE, OR YOUR GOOD CHRISTIAN FRIENDS. SELF CANNOT BE KILLED BY ANYONE EXCEPT YOU. YOU, AND YOU ALONE, ARE THE ONLY ONE CAPABLE OF PUTTING SELF TO DEATH. If Self dies, it will be at your hands and through your own diligent efforts. And if you, in this hour and your whole life through, are not putting Self to death, but instead nurturing it, catering to it, pampering it, giving in to it—you mark my words because they’re the words of the Lord—you will die. As I’m fond of saying, IF YOU LIVE LIKE THE DEVIL YOU WILL BE DAMNED LIKE THE DEVIL.


EVERYTHING ABOUT SELF IS DEADLY. No matter how Self manifests in your life, that manifestation of Self imperils your soul and eternal destiny. Self manifests itself in so many ways. But I’d like to highlight three of these for you because they’re just so glaring and pervasive—even in Christian homes and churches.

  1.  Self-Interest or Self-Centeredness. Your whole world and your whole life centers around you. You don’t think much about anyone else. You don’t take others into consideration. You don’t care how your words, actions, or lifestyle affect others. All you think about is yourself.
  2.  Self-Determination. You decide what you’re going to do and how you’re going to live your life. You do not submit yourself to authority. There is no absolute standard of right or wrong. You determine for yourself what’s right or wrong. Always and invariably, you’re right and nobody can tell or convince you otherwise.
  3.  Self-Willed. You’re going to do what you want to do and no one can compel you otherwise. There is a spirit of lawlessness and rebellion at work whereby you will not submit to authority or the Lord. You will not listen to anyone. You will do as you please and no one can stop you from doing so.


Now when we think of a selfish, fleshly, carnal  person we generally think about someone who isn’t saved  or  someone who’s  supposedly  saved  but  is backslidden and isn’t walking with the Lord.

But Self manifests itself in two other groups of people that, just like the unsaved or unrepentant backsliders, will lead all its victims to Hell. The first of these is Honest, Hard-Working People. They are not criminals. They’re not breaking the law or engaged in any criminal activity. They’re not engaged in overt acts of sin. They’re good, honest, hard-working folks. But Selfish still. SELF KILLS EVEN GOOD, LAW-ABIDING PEOPLE. A SELFISH, GOOD, LAW-ABIDING PERSON WILL BE DAMNED JUST LIKE A SELFISH, EVIL, LAWLESS PERSON.

            Here’s a case in point from one of the parables that Jesus gave us.  And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.  (16)  And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:  (17)  And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?  (18)  And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.  (19)  And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.  (20)  But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?  (21)  So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God (Luke 12:15-21).

Notice all the I’s and my’s in this rich fool’s plans, ambitions, and words. Do they remind you of someone you know, perhaps maybe even yourself? I hope not. But if the shoe fits, then consider this a wake-up call from a God who loves you. The guy here was a perfectly good, honest, hard-working fellow. He wasn’t out there breaking any laws or hurting anybody. He was minding his own business and working hard to make a good living for himself. And he succeeded! But he didn’t take time out for God. God wasn’t in his thoughts, his plans, his future. He was, in a word, selfish, self-centered, and self-gratifying.

What I’d like for you to see here is, A GOOD, BUT SELFISH, PERSON WILL BE DAMNED JUST LIKE A BAD, SELFISH PERSON. SELF KILLS THE GOOD JUST LIKE THE BAD. IT KILLS ALL WHO LIVE FOR SELFFriends, YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A WICKED PERSON TO BE DAMNED. If you’re selfish and self-centered like this rich fool; if God isn’t in your thoughts, your plans, your life; then you need to know that, if you don’t get God back in your life and give your life to Him, then you haven’t got much of a future to look forward to. IF YOU LIVE WITHOUT GOD ON EARTH, YOU’LL LIVE WITHOUT GOD IN ETERNITY.

Drop by for another visit on the web next week and I’ll post the second and concluding segment of this message. I promise you it’ll be worth the visit!  A moment in Hell tells it all: nothing and no one, not even Self, is worth going to Hell over. May God bless you and may give you the heart to die to Self.

1 Comment

  1. Nancy Ludden said,

    September 5, 2010 at 5:04 AM

    Thanks, Gaylord! I needed that!!

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