Romans 8:1-8

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Dealing with a hidden enemy

‘Now the mind of the flesh is death [both now and forever–because it pursues sin]; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace [the spiritual well-being that comes from walking with God–both now and forever]. – Romans 8:6 AMP. 

We are involved in a cosmic battle against the dark forces of the devil’s diabolic empire, but we are not given the option to choose whether we want to fight in this battle or not. However, we have been provided with all that we need to fight and win the battles that the devil brings our way. Furthermore, we have Christ – our Warrior-King – who has defeated the devil and all who are with him and has given us great authority to stop the works of satan in our lives.

The blood of Christ is the finishing punch on the devil’s face, as it gives us the legal ground we need to resist the devil and put him right where he belongs – under our feet (See Ephesians 1:22,23).

However, there is a second enemy that seems to get the better of many Christians. This enemy – unlike satan – cannot be resisted, it cannot be bound by using our Christ-given authority, it cannot be cast out like you would a demon, and it cannot be dealt with in a counselling session.    

The enemy within

This enemy is on the inside of us and goes with us every where we go, and usually tries to control many things we do. This enemy is the flesh – the carnal nature which controls the un-regenerated man. It is so strong that it controls people’s thoughts, their desires, their perspective or worldview, and also influences their reactions in certain situations. Most people (including Christians who don’t read their bibles) do not know about the existence of this enemy because it is a silent enemy – which makes it all the more dangerous. 

‘The mind of the flesh [with its sinful pursuits] is actively hostile to God. It does not submit itself to God’s laws, since it cannot, and those who are in the flesh [living a life that caters to sinful appetites and impulses] cannot please God.’ – Romans 8:7 AMP.

The crazy thing about it is that it could be taught how to keep good morals, government laws and how to be self-disciplined, but it opposes all that is of God and will never submit to His authority. It feeds on self-righteousness, self-reliance, self-centeredness, sinful pleasures, pride its own ability, rebellion against God, indifference about the things of Eternity, and despises or taunts the Lordship of Christ. It’s that enemy – the sinful and rebellious nature on the inside – that make people want to have their own way even though it ends in shame or destruction.

The devil’s ally

‘But clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for [nor even think about gratifying] the flesh in regard to its improper desires.’ – Romans 13:14 AMP. 

The devil has many allies that cooperate with him in his diabolic agenda, but none of them is as strong as the flesh (man’s sin-inclined nature). For example, if satan wants to send a demon of lust to influence a believer and make them fall into sexual immorality, but the believer has consecrated their body to the Holy Spirit, depends on God’s grace through prayer to keep them from falling, and has resolved in their heart never to yield to sin, it will be impossible for the demon to succeed in its evil mission. The indwelling Spirit of God will strengthen a believer from falling easily to the enemy’s temptations.

‘For the sinful nature has its desire which is opposed to the Spirit, and the [desire of the] Spirit opposes the sinful nature.’ – Galatians 5:17 AMP.  

The devil himself knows that he does not have absolute power to make anyone do anything whether good or evil, so what he does is to take advantage of the carnal or sin-inclined nature of man, encourages them to go ahead and keep doing whatever seems good to them. The devil depends on the carnal self-ruled nature of man, and without it, his work is doomed to fail. This also makes it easy for him to consistently transmit suggestive or sinful thoughts into their minds – whether directly, or through a human (but possibly innocent) agent, or through informative media such as books, the television, or the internet.    

Dethroning the enemy within

‘Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts and passions.’ – Romans 6:12 AMP.

Are you a child of God but consistently fall into sin, despite many sermons and church services attended? Are you easily tempted to commit sin? Are you fed up with being used by the devil, and being controlled by fleshly desires? The devil likes it for you to be that way because it gives him a great advantage over your life, but God does not want that for you, rather He wants you to live a life full of power and victory over the enemy. Your victory starts when you finally decide to dethrone the enemy (the carnal nature), but it doesn’t end there. 

The only way to dethrone this strong enemy is to crucify it – not to counsel or educate it with philosophical ideas – no, only the power of the cross is capable to dealing a terrible blow to the flesh. It is like a Goliath that stands between you and God’s best for your life, and just like David cut off the giant’s head, this is exactly what you need to do. God understands the human condition and his frail nature, and in His wisdom He’s made a way for us to conquer the enemy within.

‘We know that our old self [our human nature without the Holy Spirit] was nailed to the cross with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.’ – Romans 6:6 AMP.

The enemy’s dethronement must take place if the Holy Spirit is going to rule in your life, so resolve in your heart to live under the power of God’s grace which keeps us from yielding to the flesh and the devil.

Winning the battle 

‘For sin will no longer be a master over you, since you are not under Law [as slaves], but under [unmerited] grace [as recipients of God’s favor and mercy]. – Romans 6:14 AMP.

The word of God has clearly shown you the hidden enemy in your life – the carnal & sin inclined nature. You have also seen that there’s victory in the cross of Christ, but the knowledge of a thing is not the application of it! So here’s how to apply the cross of Christ to deal with the carnal nature (or with certain areas in your life):

Whatever areas of your life the flesh has been giving room to the devil, take it before God in prayer and ask that by the power of the Cross of Christ, He would deliver you and grant you victory over the flesh and it’s affinity for sin and darkness. Ask Him to crucify you to the works of the flesh (See Galatians 5:18,24) and to make you alive to the Spirit and righteousness (See Galatians 5:22,23). Stay consistent with this prayer, and pay attention to the Holy Spirit as He begins to show you the things you to know and the things you need to do.

‘And having been set free from sin, you have become the slaves of righteousness [of conformity to God’s will and purpose]. – Romans 6:18 AMP.

Minding how you talk 

‘Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin.’ – Ecclesiastes 5:6 NKJV.

One other area where you need His grace to conquer the flesh is in the area of talking. Through too much talk, many have fallen into sins they didn’t have to. The scriptures warn us clearly to avoid too much talk, because it empowers the flesh to rule us and push us into making wrong decisions. Christ shows us that the devil could also take advantage of us when we talk too much vain things with our mouths, so we must learn – by God’s grace – to only talk when necessary, speak things that edify, encourage, heal, and inspire people.

‘I will not speak with you much longer, for the ruler of this world (satan) is coming. And he has no claim on Me [no power over Me or anything that he can use against Me]. – John 14:30 AMP.

The devil has no place or excuse to get at Jesus for two reasons: Jesus didn’t have a carnal sin-inclined nature (He was conceived and born by the Power of the Holy Spirit), and secondly, He didn’t say things He wasn’t supposed to say. I encourage you to pattern your life after Christ as much as you can – after all that is why we are called Christians, right? This is the key to overcoming our strongest enemy which always works to hinder us from making progress in the things of God’s Kingdom.

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