It’s easy to become a slave to self, whether in a positive or negative view, in our overly self-absorbed society. We either think too highly of ourselves or we think very poorly of ourselves. Perhaps many of us can relate to both sides. We can easily look down our noses at folks with a haughty attitude of “I’m better” and in the same breath and feel inadequate. Both are lies from the enemy.
I heard a message this week that addressed both ends of the spectrum. When you think you think you’re high and mighty- that you’re such a good person and better than someone else- remember that outside of Jesus Christ you deserve death. We all do. No one is better than any other person. We are all created in the image of God and need His grace to make heaven our home.
At the same time, we are the righteousness of God in Christ. If you’re hearing thoughts (or someone else is telling you), “You’re not good enough,” You’re never going to be good enough,” or “You always fail” – these are lies from the enemy. These lies are spiritual warfare. We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities (Eph 6:12).
Have you ever wondered why the scripture is written that way? Why did Paul feel compelled to explain that we wrestle not against flesh and blood? Perhaps it is because spiritual warfare appears to be fought against other people– even against ourselves at times. In actuality, spiritual warfare is fought in the spirit realm– against demons and the lies of the enemy.
Our job as Christians is to resist these lies. How do we do this? We go to the Word of God. Anytime we have a thought or are told something that does not line up with the Word of God, we can discern that it is a lie. If you hear, “you’re such a good person because you…”- counter with God’s Word that says we are saved by grace and not actions lest anyone should boast (Eph 2:9). If you hear that you are unworthy, God’s Word says you are the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor 5:21). If you hear God can’t help you, God’s Word says He has a “plan to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future” (Jer 29:11). He is not surprised by your circumstance, because He knew it was going to happen before you did. It’s part of His perfect plan.
Not only can we resist the lies of the enemy, we can operate in the freedom in Christ by shifting the focus off of ourselves. We do this when we stop thinking about how great or how not great we are and we start helping other people. Other people are our ministry. God didn’t call us to be islands (Rom 14:7). He called us to be the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27).