The enemy within

Psalm 56:1-2 “Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me; all day long an attacker oppresses me; my enemies trample on me all day long, for many attack me proudly.”

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “He’s his own worst enemy.”  Could it be that this idea is included in the many warnings in the Bible about our enemies?  Generally, the “enemies” mentioned in the Bible can be placed into the following three categories: the world, the flesh, and the devil.  The world includes all aspects of this world’s systems that are arrayed against God, i.e., the world’s media, entertainment, governments, religions, ideologies and other forms of world leadership.  The devil is just that, Satan and all his hosts.  But the flesh means OUR flesh, i.e., our fleshly lusts – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16).  It is because of the sin that permeates our lives that these lusts are so destructive to us.  We can be our own worst enemies. 

Self-destructive patterns of living seem to always be with us, always lurking, constantly working to rob us of God’s best.  The evidence is everywhere as we see the various addictions people struggle with.  Why would anyone choose to binge themselves to death with alcohol and drugs?  Why be so tempted to sexual sins that plague us with disease, destruction of families, guilt, and regret as “rewards?”  Why be so ready to believe lies that are opposed to the truth of God that is meant to give us “life to the full (John 10:10)?”  We are indeed our own worst enemies so much of the time.  Thus, the psalmist’s cry above is so appropriate in this context.  “Be gracious to me, O God,” since it is only God’s grace, his unmerited favor, that gives us any hope in such times when we continually choose to do things in direct violation of his Word, i.e., anything that would ever merit such favor. 

We need so much help to live a life that glorifies Him and resist the ever-present temptations to do damage to ourselves – regardless of the fact that we are made in God’s image.  May God help us and be gracious to protect us from our greatest enemies, including when one of those enemies is ourselves.

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