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Your Own Worst Enemy

by Bernie Parsons

Your Own Worst Enemy

 Bernie Parsons 

Presented To The Westwood church of Christ on 08/16/02

Matthew 5:43: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44: But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45: That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” 

Have you ever given much thought to your enemies? You should. Your enemies think about you. They ponder and plan how to sabotage you. They scheme and connive to undermine you. They determine the best ways to destroy you. You should think about your enemies. 

Jesus tells us to love our enemies, and to pray for them. Of course, we are not praying that they succeed in their diabolical plots. No, we pray that they will repent of their evil ways, turning their hearts to God. 

Do you love yourself? A lot of people have a self-esteem issue--they don’t think much of themselves. I blame a lot of this on the media. They push glamour, a trim figure, and physical attractiveness. They also push so-called “creativity” and boundless energy. It’s easy for us to fall into the trap of thinking that we are not what we ought to be. But, guess what--if we don’t love ourselves, we aren’t fulfilling the law of God. Sometimes, we are our own worst enemy—and we are to love our enemies! 

Matthew 22:35 "Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
36: Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37: Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38: This is the first and great commandment.
39: And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40: On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” 

The principle of love under-girds our entire relationship with God. God loves us, and we love God. We love God with all of our being, and we love our neighbor as ourselves. We love our neighbor as ourselves, proving that we are to love ourselves. If you don’t think much of yourself, you aren’t going to think much of your neighbor. 

When you stop to think about it, why shouldn’t we love ourselves? The Bible tells us that we are made in God’s image. 

Genesis 1:27 "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” 

We should love what God has created. Furthermore, as Christians, we are described as the body of Christ. If we are His very body, then we should love ourselves for that very fact—that we are a part of Him. 

Ephesians 1:18 "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
19: And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
20: Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
21: Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
22: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
23: Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.” 

We should love the body of Christ, and since we are the body of Christ, then we must love ourselves. Even so, some people still become their own worst enemy. 

2 Timothy 2:23: "But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.

24: And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

25: In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

26: And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” 

Paul advised Timothy to “instruct those that oppose themselves”. If you do not repent of your wrongdoing against God, and if you do not acknowledge the truth of God, then you are actually opposing yourself. To oppose means to provide resistance. The unrepentant and the ignorant resist themselves, becoming their own worst enemy.


Acts 2:38 "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39: For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
40: And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
41: Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”

Peter told his listeners to save themselves. This does not mean that one can save oneself separate and apart from the grace of God, and faith in Christ Jesus. What it says is that we have a responsibility to repent of our sins against God, and against our fellow man. We can’t just go along with the crowd, being part of a herd mentality, doing what everyone is doing even when it is contrary to what God would have us do. 

Although it may seem right at the time, and although it may bring a certain amount of pleasure to be part of a crowd doing something a certain way, we are actually acting in opposition to our own best interests. It is in our best interest to serve God acceptably, so that our souls may be saved. Be careful that we don’t become our own worst enemy.

 When we pleasure the flesh, we become our own worst enemy.

 1 John 2:15 "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16: For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17: And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” 

When we live for the moment, satisfying the flesh, or our eyes, or our pride, we array ourselves against God, which is not in our own self-interests. The lusts of this world pass away, but the word of God is eternal. It is against that measure that we shall be measured. 

2 Corinthians 10:12 "For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
13: But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you.” 

It is in our best interests to become intimately acquainted with God’s truths, that is, His will for us, so that we might know by what standard we are being measured. If we fail to learn God’s standards, then we become our own worst enemy. When we unwisely measure our lives against those of the people around us, we do ourselves no favor.  

Let us look at another manner in which we become our own worst enemy. 

2 Thessalonians 2:10: "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

11: And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

12: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 

Those who do not want to know the truth bring damnation upon themselves. Some suppose that God will ever plead and beg with us to turn to Him. Those who think this are woefully unaware that God has declared that He will take vengeance upon the unrighteous. Do you want to believe a lie? God may grant you your desire. 

2 Corinthians 4:3 "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
4: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
5: For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.
6: For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7: But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” 

Sometimes God grows weary of man’s arrogance and rebellion. Sometimes He unleashes His great wrath against the unrepentant, those abominable men and women who continually turn a deaf ear to His pleadings. Why do you think that Jesus said: 

Matthew 15:12 "Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?
13: But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.
14: Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” 

If you were lost in the wild, without hope of survival, and wandered upon another equally as lost as yourself, would you then choose to follow that person’s leadership in finding a way out of your dilemma? Yet, those who are lost in sin often do just that—they chose to follow someone else who is equally lost.

 This even happens in the church. Often we seek those to teach us who are least capable or qualified to teach us. Paul warned Timothy about this danger. 

2 Timothy 4:1": I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2: Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
3: For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4: And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
5: But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” 

If we seek only those who scratch the itch in our minds, we may find ourselves learning and following, not the teachings of Almighty God, but the delusions of some man. In doing so, we become our own worst enemy. Instead of learning of God and following Him, we learn what some man thinks, and follow him instead. We become blind followers of blind leaders, and we shall go where we had not intended. 

Romans 16:17 "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
18: For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” 

If we seek teachers who tell us only what we want to hear, we become our own worst enemy.  

Colossians 2:6 "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
7: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
8: Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
9: For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
10: And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
11: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
12: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
13: And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;” 

We must be aware of what is going on around us, and what other people are doing. Otherwise, we might find ourselves steeped in the philosophy of men, deceived into disobeying God, rather than obeying Him.  

Matthew 10:16 "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” 

Our mission is to save, not to destroy. Jesus said in: 

Luke 6:9: “Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?” 

Luke 9:56 "For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.” 

Let us be harmless, but wise, lest we become our own worst enemy. 

1 Corinthians 9: 27 "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” 

Romans 2:1 "Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
2: But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.
3: And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
4: Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
5: But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
6: Who will render to every man according to his deeds:” 

Let us not become our own worst enemy by teaching others how to live righteously, yet failing to live up to those standards ourselves. Let us not teach others, only to be cast away ourselves. We shall be judged for what we do while in this life.  

1 Peter 4:17 "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
18: And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” 

If you are a Christian, be careful to dedicate your life to the Lord, remembering that the righteous shall scarcely be saved. If you are not a member of the body of Christ, where does that leave you? 

You have the responsibility, as Peter told the crowds on Pentecost, to save yourself—to take those steps that put you into Christ. 

Galatians 3: 26 "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
27: For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” 

When the Ethiopian eunuch wanted to become a Christian, here is what we read: 

Acts 8:36 "And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
37: And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
38: And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
39: And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.” 

Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Come repenting, and confess that faith, and be baptized, and you can go on your way rejoicing as did the Ethiopian eunuch.

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