THE ENEMY WITHIN PART 2

A Word By Way Of Introduction: If you’ve read THE ENEMY WITHIN PART 1 I left off saying that self in any guise kills. It kills good, honest, hard-working people who live selfish, self-centered lives. Following in the same train of thought, self kills good, religious people too.

2) Spiritual, Religious, Pious People. Good “Christians” can be afflicted with a Selfish disease and they, too, risk eternal loss if they’re not crucifying the flesh. The rich young ruler is a tragic example of Christians who have it right in just about every area of their life—except one—and it’s the one area of Self that they’re holding on to that eventually kills them and bars them from the Kingdom.

Mark 10:17-22,  And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?  (18)  And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.  (19)  Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.  (20)  And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.  (21)  Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.  (22)  And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

The thing that I’d like for you to notice about this young man is that he was very religious, very pious, and very obedient to the Law. Obedience was a habit and a lifestyle with him. If we lived in his day, he would have put many of us to shame. But in spite of his piety, the young man knew within himself that he just wasn’t saved. And that really bothered him. It consumed him. So many today, even professing Christians, aren’t concerned about being saved. They live for Self. They live for the here and now. The state or welfare of their soul doesn’t concern or consume them. And unlike many  today,  this  young  man  wanted  to  be saved! He wanted eternal life! But when Jesus told him what he had to do to get saved, he went away grieved because he didn’t want to give up the one love of his life—that was, his love for his riches or his possessions. He was unwilling to give up what he had in order to get what he didn’t have and desperately wanted.

Friends, the one thing that you love too much, that you don’t want to give up, is the thing that’s keeping you back from following the Lord. And, if you don’t get it right or give it up, THE ONE THING THAT YOU LOVE TOO MUCH WILL END UP KILLING YOU. And when it does, when once you’re cast into Hell’s fires, I guarantee you’ll come to hate and despise the very thing you love. IF JESUS IS NOT THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE, THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE WILL KILL YOU.

THE CROSS IS THE CURE

Jesus lays the demand of the cross upon us because THE CROSS WILL PUT TO DEATH EVERYTHING THAT WOULD OTHERWISE KILL US OR DAMN US. Romans 8:13 tells us, For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

So how do we crucify the flesh? What do we do? Instead of speaking in vague generalities here, let me speak in specific practicalities. Here are some practical examples of what we can do to crucify Self.

  • Husbands, when you want to go to sleep but your wife wants to talk, die out, stay up a while, listen to what she has to say . Give her your input. Let her know you care about the things she cares about.
  • Men, when you want to stay home, kick back, and relax, but your wife wants to go shopping; die out, take her shopping, and be gracious about it, not grouchy. Instead of pleasing Self, please the God-given love of your life.
  • Fathers, when the kids don’t do the job right, even after you’ve repeatedly shown them how  to  do it, instead of tearing into them, die out, keep your lip and your temper under control, and patiently show them how to do it again. Some kids are slow learners. Remember God’s patience towards you. Practice the same towards the children God has given you.
  • Wives, when your husband asks you to cook his steak a certain way or buy a certain brand of bacon, die out and please him. Your loving submission keeps things peaceable in the home.
  •  Ladies, when your husband wants some affectionate attention and you’re just not in the mood, die out and be affectionate because you’re the only woman who could legitimately, rightly minister to his physical needs.
  •  Mothers, when the kids start misbehaving and getting the best of you, instead of tolerating them and watching Household War #475  unfold, die out, drop what you’re doing, and minister the discipline where it’s needed. Parental inattention or neglect produces monsters and brats.
  •  Children, when your parents ask you or tell you to do something, then even though you think they’re just plain ridiculous, die out and obey them because that’s what God wants you to do. Obey them just as you would obey God.
  •  Children, when you ask your parents if you could go somewhere, do something, or buy something, and they say No, then die out and do what you’re told. Try to understand their reasons and see things from their well-meaning perspective.
  •  Youths, when your parents set down some rules and you just don’t agree with those rules, die out, ask God for grace to obey, then start obeying the rules. God’s more concerned about your obedience than your liberty or rights.
  •  Employees, when the boss wants you to do something, or do it a certain way; then even though you think you know better, die out and obey the boss. Employers value good ideas, but they value submissive employees even more.
  •  When your devotional time with the Lord rolls around, then instead of sleeping a few more minutes, or instead of crashing for the night, die out and go meet with the Lord. Make Him a priority and He’ll make sure He shows up during the rest of your day.
  • When you’re tempted to watch another movie or play a thirteenth round of solitaire, die out and go do something constructive. Spend time with the family or the Lord. You’ll feel so much better afterward.
  • When you’re tempted to stuff yourself, die out, practice self-restraint, and don’t eat more than what your body really needs.

CLOSING

We can go on and on, but I trust you get an idea of what dying out is all about. It’s all about not letting Self have its way. It’s about living under authority. It’s about controlling, governing, and restraining your fleshly, bodily, sexual impulses and living under moral laws or restraints. Dying out to Self is all about doing the right thing—doing the Lord’s will—even when, and especially when, Self and the flesh just don’t feel like doing what’s right. You can crucify yourself. Start doing it and don’t let selfishness or fleshliness become a habit and a lifestyle with you. Don’t let Self rule or live. Kill it and you will live. May God bless you with the willingness, grace, and strength to die out.

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