This post was triggered by one sentence that absolutely hit me wrong from the start but the more and more I thought about it the more the Wesleyan in me could not help but articulate why it hit me wrong.
In Beth Moore's study 'Entrusted' in the 4th video session she states, "You are NOT your own worst enemy." She was teaching that Satan and the other devils are very much our enemy. And they are! But the matter of him or them (the devils) being our "worst" enemy has me say, "Beth... let's rethink this." Who is our worst enemy? Here is why I don't think it is Satan or any of the devils that followed him. Though we should be aware of him and not give in to his temptations.
1. Whatever Satan does or says to me cannot separate me from God.
Satan has no power until I/you give it to him. An enemy is only an enemy if they have the power to hurt you. I would say he is an enemy because he wants destruction in our lives... but not our worst enemy. Our problem is that we give Satan power to use against us when we choose sin. He can't do it without us.... so, which one is greater? In James 4:7 it says, "Resist the devil and he will flee from you." The power is in your hands. When we choose to sin we separate ourselves from God. Satan did not separate us from God, we separated ourselves from God with use of our own free will (this is both talking about personal and original sin). Thank God for prevenient grace! Thank God for Christ's work and mercy that pays for the sin debt we chose!
2. Our sin is just as much our enemy as Satan... and dare I say, I think sin is more of an enemy since it does Separate us from God!
In Matthew 6:13, The Lord's Prayer, some translations read like this, "And deliver us from the evil one." Other translations say, "Deliver us from evil." Which one is it?! Is it an evil being that Christ is modeling us to pray to be delivered from? Or is it general evil? Evil one vs. evil...In the Greek they translate "evil one" and "evil" from πονηρός (poneros) which means evil, wicked, bad, worthless, guilty, be sick, crime...
So, in our English translated Bibles we are at the mercy of the translator to make that decision for us. So, in this passage is Jesus really talking about Satan or is it talking about ALL evil? I would/I do interpret this to mean All EVIL. Which causes me to pray this prayer as I unpack the Lord's Prayer...
Lord, I don't want to just be delivered from Satan. I want to be delivered from Anything and Everything that separates me from you. God deliver me from my sin! Deliver me from my old self... make me new... make me new! Make me yours! Make me Holy! Deliver me from evil! Amen!
3. We have free will.
If we act like our greatest enemy is the one who taunts us instead of the one who can act on it, or the spirit that wants to act in sin, or the part of us... the sinful nature that is of the flesh... that is when we miss our power! God gave us free will.... we can use it for good! but we can also use it for bad. Satan cannot use our free will. But we can use our free will and other people can use their free will. In fact, I am more fearful of other people's free will than I am of Satan. But Jesus Christ doesn't sit back and just let us drown in our sinful nature or our sin that we chose with our free will. He gifts us His Spirit at the very instant we accept Him! And He starts pruning us and through the process of sanctification, entire sanctification.... we are given a new life that we yield up our free will for His will! So even if I am my own worst enemy by choosing sin... Christ crushes all my/all our enemies! I no longer have to be my own worst enemy because Christ. Satan is no longer my worst enemy because he has lost his power... because Christ. I am going to live in the freedom of the Gospel! There is no longer a worst enemy... there are enemies... but they aren't the worst. They've got nothing on my Jesus.
Thanks be to God!
"Satan, go bother a rock." :) Amarie Russell, a good friend and mentor of mine, taught me that saying. I believe it.... we have power to go tell him to bother a rock. "In Christ name, Satan... GO BOTHER A ROCK." And he has to. The power is in you. Use it for good....or you could choose to use it for evil but don't think for a second Satan has any deciding factor over you. He is a defeated enemy.