under a special agreement with
presents Explorers Series 2
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Lesson 8: My Enemy, Self
When I became a Christian, I thought I would always love God and want to obey Him. But after some time, I discovered that there was something inside of me that did not want to obey God. This enemy within me is called "the flesh."
"The flesh" is not my body, but the sinful nature that I was born with. If you spell the word "flesh" backwards and leave off the "h," what do you have? You have "S-E-L-F." The flesh is SELF!
Before I was saved, I lived for myself. I did what I wanted to do. I lived to please myself. SELF was on the throne of my heart.
Living for ourselves instead of living for God is SIN! We each have lived for SELF and not for God. The Bible says, "…we have turned every one to his OWN WAY" (Isaiah 53:6).
When I was saved, the Lord Jesus came to live in me, but I still have the same body and the sinful nature that goes with that body. Even though Christ is now living in me, SELF is still in me, and SELF wants to continue ruling my life.
The main characteristic of SELF is rebellion against God. Let us look at some of the ways SELF acts.
SELF wants to have its own way. SELF says, "I don't care what anybody says, I will do what I want to do!"
SELF says, "I love MYSELF!" I should love God and His Son, but SELF loves SELF!
SELF says, "I am Number One! I want other people to look up to me and honor me."
SELF says, "It's not my fault!" SELF hates to say, "I was wrong."
SELF says, "Poor me! Nobody treats me right." SELF is always grumbling and complaining.
SELF hates God and will not obey God. SELF says, "I don't care what God says, I will do what I want to do!"
Where does this spirit of rebellion come from? It comes from Satan! The Bible speaks of "the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience" (Ephesians 2:2). That spirit is the spirit of Satan. Whether we realize it or not, SELF is controlled by Satan. If I allow SELF to rule in my life, I will be a miserable, unhappy Christian.
Because God loves me and wants only what is best for me, He did three wonderful things for me:
(1) God brought an end to my old SELF-controlled life, (2) God made me a new person in Christ, and (3) God gave Christ to live in me as my new master.
How did God do this? The moment I took Christ as my Savior, God put me in Christ. The Bible says, "Of Him [God] are you in Christ Jesus…" (1 Corinthians 1:30).
God brought an end to my old SELF-controlled life by putting me in Christ on the cross. When Christ was crucified, I was "crucified" with Him. The Bible says, "Knowing this, that our old man [our old self-life] was crucified with Him…" (Romans 6:6).
God "crucified" me with Christ that I might no longer be ruled by SELF. When Christ died, I "died" with Him. In God's sight, that was the end of my old life. Of course, I have not really died, but that is the way God sees things, and I must learn to see things as God sees them.
When Christ rose from the grave, I "rose" with Him as a new person in Christ! That is the way God sees me now. That is the way God will always see me.
Then God gave Christ to me, to live in me. The apostle Paul said, "I have been crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me…" (Galatians 2:20).
I must choose who will be on the throne of my heart. Will it be Christ or SELF? I will be ruled by one or the other.
If I say, "I am going to live my life my way," it means that I am choosing SELF to be on the throne of my heart.
If I say, "I am choosing Christ to be on the throne of my heart," it means that I am choosing Him to be King in my life. I am choosing God's way.
If I truly love the Lord Jesus, I will choose Him! I will say to Him,
"Lord Jesus, I belong to You and I want You to be King in my life. Right now, I am taking You as King of my life. Help me live a life that is pleasing to You."
Once I choose Christ to be King in my life, I must learn to say "no" to SELF, and "yes" to the Lord Jesus. Day-by-day, I must deny SELF and let Jesus live His life in me. The apostle Paul said, "I have been crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I [not SELF], but Christ lives in me…" (Galatians 2:20).
How does this work out in my life? Let us say that I am doing something that I want to do, but my mother asks me to do something for her. What would SELF do? SELF would grumble and complain. What do I do now? I say "no" to SELF and "yes" to the Lord Jesus. I obey my mother without grumbling and complaining.
Somebody says something mean to me. What would SELF do? SELF would get angry and say something mean back to that person. But I am to say "no" to SELF and let Christ be King in my heart. What do I do? I say a kind word to them.
When Christ is on the throne, the Holy Spirit produces the beautiful fruit of the Spirit in my life. The Bible says,
"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith [faithfulness], meekness, temperance…" Galatians 5:22-23.
1. I have an enemy within me called SELF. This enemy, SELF, wants to be king in my life.
2. God "crucified" me with Christ that I might no longer be ruled by SELF. When Christ died, I "died" with Him. When He rose from the grave, I "rose" with Him as a new person IN CHRIST!
3. God gave Christ to me to live in me. If I love Christ, I will make Him King in my heart and daily say "NO" to SELF.
"Father, I confess that SELF has been living on the throne of my heart. That throne rightfully belongs to Christ. Today I choose to have Christ on the throne of my heart and to say 'no' to SELF. In Jesus' name I pray."
Jared uses his Secret Sword
The story so far…
Dan received Jesus as his Savior. Jared heard a disturbing announcement at school. Carlos told Jared they will never be friends again. Jared discovered an exciting verse in the Bible.
Jared repeated his verse once again, "'…Whatever you shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it to you…' John 16:23."
Jared knelt down beside his bed and began to pray, "Dear Father in Heaven, thank You for this wonderful promise in Your Word. Now I want to ask You to please have Dr. McDougal lift the ban that keeps the school from using his property. And please, please help Carlos to take Jesus as his Savior soon. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen."
Carlos did not show up at school that day. Jared kept praying for him in his heart. Alex scowled at Jared a few times in the hall, but Jared did not pay any attention to him.
After school, Jared went to Carlos' house. Lisa opened the door and motioned to him to come in. "What happened last night, Jared?" she asked with a troubled face. "As soon as Mom and Dad left this morning, Carlos locked his door and will not let me in or tell me what's wrong."
Jared's eyes were as troubled as Lisa's. "Did Carlos tell you where he went on Saturday?"
"No," Lisa brushed the hair from her face and went on, "he just said he was going fishing. From the way he acts, I'm afraid he might have been involved in what happened on the McDougal property. I told him I would go with him to the principal's office, but he won't listen to me. I have been praying that God would show me what to do."
"Praying?" Jared's surprise showed on his face. "When did you…I mean…?"
Lisa smiled. "I went over to Beth's house and we had a long talk. She and your Aunt Emily explained a lot of things to me. I asked the Lord Jesus to forgive me, and I know He did. Now I am going to let Him live His life in me, instead of trying to do things my way."
"Wow, that is great!" Jared exclaimed. "I'm so glad. Beth would have told me last night, only I got home too late to see her." Then Jared told Lisa about Carlos running out on him before he had a chance to explain things to him. "Do you think he would listen to me now?" he asked.
"You can try," Lisa answered. Jared followed Lisa up the stairs.
"Hey, Carlos," Jared called as Lisa knocked on the bedroom door. "I went to see my grandfather yesterday. He and Dr. McDougal are good friends. I asked him to go and ask forgiveness for you and the guys. Let me in and I will tell you all about it."
There was silence for a minute, then Carlos called in a muffled voice, "I don't believe you. Go away, Jared."
"Never mind," Lisa whispered to Jared. "I'll talk to him later. Thanks for coming and thank you for talking to your grandfather. I do hope the ban will be lifted and the boys won't get into too much trouble over all this."
"I don't think they would if they would admit what they did," Jared said as he left.
Wednesday morning Dan was back in school. He looked pale, but happy. Jared noticed more than one of the students gazing at Dan in surprise. Carlos was also back, but went out of his way to ignore Jared.
At the end of the day, the principal made an announcement. "Students, I am pleased to announce that a good friend of Dr. McDougal has acted as mediator on behalf of the boys who vandalized his property. They have admitted what they did and the ban has been lifted. There will be no need to cancel any of the school activities taking place there." All the students were relieved to hear the news.
Carlos caught up with Jared on his way home from school. "Jared," he said, "I'm sorry for the things I said the other night. Thanks for going all the way out to your grandfather's and getting him to talk to Dr. McDougal."
"That's okay," Jared said with a grin. "I have been praying hard. I kept remembering my 'Whatever Verse.' Jesus promised that whatever we ask God in His name, He will give it to us. He answered my prayer.
"When did you talk to the principal, Carlos?"
"After you left yesterday, Lisa banged on the door until I let her in. She convinced me to call the gang and then went with us to the principal's office. We said we were sorry and that we would fix the broken fences. We did not know what Dr. McDougal would do until the announcement. Anyway, I am glad this is over," Carlos said with a deep sigh.
"So am I," Jared agreed. "I hope we can be friends again, Carlos." Carlos scuffed his shoes along the sidewalk. "I want to, Jared," he said. "But the other guys told me that, if I leave the gang, Alex would do something mean. I thought I would go along for a while and then back out slowly."
"It won't work, Carlos," Jared said. "You need to be careful and choose good friends. Alex can still get you into big trouble. If you drop him and hang around with me, what could he do anyway?"
"I don't know," Carlos said. "I sure don't trust him anymore, but I don't want to make him mad at me either."
Who will Carlos choose for friends?
Don't miss more of Jared's nonstop adventures—coming in your next lesson!