The Enemy Within. 03/07/2014 (Evening thought)

Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.  17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.  19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,  20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,  21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, 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.  22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

This passage of scripture clearly brings to light the fact that within the domain of every heart, a serious war is being waged and no one is exempt, for all the descendents of Adam, from Cain right down to the baby that was born just seconds ago, have the same fallen human nature that was the result of Adam's sin. The word Genesis starts with the word Gene, and a gene is a unit of heredity that transmits characteristics from parent to child. Even if we do not read the Bible, the battle goes on, and we will still have the voice of conscience to deal with, for the Bible states that the "grace of God that bringeth salvation has appeared to all men". That's why even atheists have some sense of right and wrong. This is what the Word says, and the Word does not err. Let's read:

Romans 2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:  15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

The real enemy therefore is within, and every person will have to decide for themselves whether or not to engage in serious warfare against the sinful lusts, and the cultivated or inherited tendencies to evil which we are all born with. Some regrettably choose the easy way by saying " if you can't beat them, join them", while others put on the armor of Christ, and through prayer, surrender, the word of God, and the power of the Holy Spirit, become more than conquerors. In this way they can, through the power of God, hold the powerful propensities to sin at bay, and over time the carnal, sinful desires of the heart are uprooted.

As was stated before, the problem is internal and therefore the remedy and solution must also be applied internally. The plan of salvation therefore brings to light the only solution in the Person of Jesus Christ, who, through His death for us on Calvary, has opened the floodgates of grace and power so that every believing person may live victoriously.

Manasseh was a king who was mired in sin and iniquity, being riddled with witchcraft and bloodshed, and corruption of every kind. Yet in his darkest hour of need, he confessed his sins, and humbled himself under the mighty hand of God, who was then able to stem the tide of evil in his life, and make him into a completely different person. This is the genius of Christianity, and it is the experience that God desires to impart to every person. Let's read:

2nd Chronicles 33:9 So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the Lord had destroyed before the children of Israel.  10 And the Lord spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken.

2nd Chronicles 33:3 For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.  4 Also he built altars in the house of the Lord, whereof the Lord had said, In Jerusalem shall my name be for ever.  5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord.  6 And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.

To the average person this might seem like a hopeless case, but the God of Heaven specializes in hopeless cases, for when we are at our lowest point, and it seems as if all hope is gone, Jesus is still there knocking at our heart's door, hoping for an invitation in so that He can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. That's why the next passage of scripture brings hope to the most abandoned sinner, for the grace of God reaches to the guttermost to save to the uttermost. Let's read:

2nd Chronicles 33:12 And when he was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers,  13 And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord he was God.  15 And he took away the strange gods, and the idol out of the house of the Lord, and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the Lord, and in Jerusalem, and cast them out of the city.  16 And he repaired the altar of the Lord, and sacrificed thereon peace offerings and thank offerings, and commanded Judah to serve the Lord God of Israel.

Now, if Manasseh could be saved by the grace and power of God, the question is, what are we doing with the remedy that has been provided in Jesus Christ? Millions are going down to Christ-less graves every year, some without knowing that a way of escape has been made. And many others are simply passing up the golden opportunity to be saved from their sins and thus receive the gift of immortal life through Christ.

It is our hope and prayer that as we consider the battle that is being waged in our own hearts, against long held habits that we know are ruinous to our souls; as we observe the power of God manifested in the life of Manasseh and countless others, that we would avail ourselves of the grace of God so freely provided for our rehabilitation.

We therefore end with a text and a promise that should bring hope to anyone who, like Manasseh desires a change of heart and eternal life. Let's read:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

May this experience and promise be ours both now and for the rest of our lives, for Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever. "Good night" and God bless!