Know Your Enemy: The Devil, the Flesh, and the World

Know Your Enemy: The Flesh

 

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Ephesians 2:1-3 (NIV)

 

Our Three Enemies

  1. The Devil’s deceptions
  2. The flesh’s desires
  3. The world’s values

 

 

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. Gal. 5:17 (NLT)

 

Two competing desires that are at war with each other:

  1. The flesh (sinful nature) – animalistic desires for pleasure, self-gratification, self-preservation, superiority, and control
  2. The Spirit – the empowering presence of Jesus that fuels the desire for selfless love and goodness

 

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these…But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:19-23 (NLT)

 

Training Exercises

  1. Learn to know your Creator (information and intimacy)
  2. Become like Jesus
  3. Renew your thoughts and attitude
  4. Confess your sins to others
  5. Fast to learn to be content even when you don’t get what you want

 

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Gal. 5:24-25 (NLT)

 

But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. Col 3:8-10 (NLT)

 

Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God. Eph. 4:22-24 (NLT)

 

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. Rom. 8:5-6 (NLT)

 

Whatever controls your thinking controls you!

 

If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Cor. 10:12-13 (NLT)

 

“Sin demands to have a man by himself. It withdraws him from the community. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him…Sin wants to remain unknown. It shuns the light. In the darkness of the unexpressed it poisons the whole being of a person” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer