Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Our Greatest Spiritual Foe

PSALM 115:1 – Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!”


THEME OF THE DAY:  OUR GREATEST SPIRITUAL FOE.  Let’s start today with a two-question quiz focused on spiritual warfare every Christian faces daily.  Here is question number one – “What are the three spiritual foes that seek to derail, devour, and destroy the followers of Jesus?”  I am sure this will be answered without much difficulty.


First, we face a deceptive devil with an organized battle plan against Christians – Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6:11).


A second foe is the world and all its sinful passions which continue to pull on the heart of God’s people. The Apostle Paul would define the world and its course of action – And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us (Ephesians 2:1-4).


The third and final spiritual foe is the person we spend the most time with – self, and particularly the remaining flesh the Christian must battle daily.  Again, from the Apostle Paul – For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing (Romans 7:18-19). And when it comes to this spiritual foe, it operates from the DNA of sin – selfishness. Flesh says, “Life and everything is about me” and if our Christian life is lived with a “me first” mentality, spiritual defeat is sure, and it did not come from the devil or world.


Now the second question in our spiritual warfare quiz – “Who is our greatest spiritual foe?  The answer was provided in the last paragraph, last sentence, and is implied in today’s scripture.  This foe?  Self.  There is no question the devil and world are formidable foes, yet, they do their most damage through our selfishness.  The Psalmist would use a double emphasis – “Not to us, not to us” – to imply the intense warfare we must wage against ourselves.  And the reason why this person is our greatest spiritual foe?  It is in direct opposition, and always hostile, to the chief discipline in the Christian’s life; self-denial.  Without this, no spiritual growth, no spiritual maturity, and no spiritual victory. This discipline was the first Jesus mentions in the requirements to be His follower – And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me (Luke 9:23).  May the Lord help us to be good warriors, fighting the good fight, under the banner and help of His empowering grace.


PRAYER: “Father, help me never to trust myself, lean on my own understanding, or be self-deceived .”


QUOTE: “Self is our greatest spiritual foe for it easily justifies disobedience and caters to self-interests.”


In the affection of Christ Jesus,


Pastor Jim