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.


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.


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.


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.