May 13, 2024

The Enemy Within

For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.Galatians 5:17


Three enemies work to sidetrack our faith—the world, the flesh, and the devil. And more often than not, it’s the enemy within that gives us the most trouble. Our flesh works against the things that would actually give us more peaceful and contented lives. That’s because our sin nature is in direct opposition to the Holy Spirit. So, how do we fight the enemy within?  


First, we need to understand how the flesh operates against the Holy Spirit. We grieve the Spirit when we willfully sin (Ephesians 4:30). That is, when we say, “Yes” to thoughts or actions that are contrary to God’s Word. We quench the Spirit when we say, “No” to God; such as when He’s leading us to serve Him or to mature in our faith (1 Thessalonians 5:19).


The result is usually a lack of spiritual understanding and direction. Think about it…the Holy Spirit is our Guide; and a grieved Spirit doesn’t guide. We also feel powerless when we say, “No” to the Holy Spirit and say, “Yes” to the flesh. You see, a quenched Spirit isn’t fully available to do what only He can do.


Secondly, realize that battling the flesh is something every believer has in common (Romans 7:14-25). That’s still not a valid excuse for willful sin. Yes, we’re only human but the Holy Spirit is not! Believer, if you’ll recognize Who dwells in you, it will change how you think and how you live.


Finally, we can’t be passive and live the Spirit-filled life. Being Spirit-filled means giving Him total control. Paul pictured it this way, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). Being consumed with alcohol influences a person’s mind, speech, and motor skills. Likewise, believers should be so consumed with the Holy Spirit—so completely yielded to Him—that He controls our minds, mouths, and behavior.


So, who’s been in control this week? The Holy Spirit or the enemy within? If you’re a Christian, you should be miserable any time you’re not pleasing the Lord. If you want a life marked by joy, peace, and contentment then the enemy within has to surrender to the indwelling Spirit of God. What do you need to give Him control of right now?