The Christian life is one of continuous conflict. There are enemies within and without which we are called to overcome.
This study was conducted in January of 2012 as a topical identification of some of the most common internal enemies which Christians have been called to overcome. External enemies were considered in a subsequent study.
Study One – Appetite
Food and drink are graciously given by God to satisfy man’s physical appetite (Genesis 1:29, 9:3; Psalm 104:14-15).
Our appetite only becomes sinful when we desire or consume excessive amounts of food or drink (Proverbs 23:19-21, 25:16). Practical Advice:
- Call these sins by their proper names (Prov. 23:19-21)
- Consider the seriousness of these sins (Deut. 21:18-21)
- Impose personal dietary limits (Daniel 1:8, 1 Cor. 7:5)
- Avoid people/places that cause temptation (Prov. 23:20)
- Reject legalistic “solutions” (1 Tim. 4:1-3, Col. 2:20-23)
- Sanctify your food and drink with prayer (1 Tim. 4:5)
Study Two – Anger
Anger is a divine attribute which is appropriate to express when God’s honor is compromised (Ex. 32:19, Mark 3:5, 11:15-18).
Our anger only becomes sinful when it is more about upholding our own honor and enforcing our own will than God’s. Practical Advice:
- What’s the source? Love for God and neighbor or self?
- What’s the object? Sin or something we just don’t like?
- What’s the motivation? To honor God or hurt someone?
- What’s the extent? Are we in control or are our emotions?
- What’s the duration? Is it timely or turning into bitterness?
- What’s the effect? Is it accomplishing anything good or not?
Study Three – Covetousness
Desiring the good things God has promised to us in his word is both good and proper for God’s children.
The sin of covetousness occurs when we desire things that God has not promised or chosen not to give us in his wisdom. Practical Advice:
- Give Thanksgiving to God (1 Thess. 5:15-18)
- Learn Contentment (Phil. 4:10-12, 1 Tim. 6:6-10)
- Acknowledge God’s Providence (Deut. 8:18)
- Renounce Covetousness as Idolatry (Col. 3:5)
- Love Your Neighbor (Ex. 20:17, Lev. 19:18)
- Give Generously (Prov. 11:24-28, Acts 20:33-35)
Study Four – Jealousy
Jealousy is a divine attribute through which God protects the honor of his name (Exodus 34:13-15, Numbers 25:10-13).
Jealousy becomes sinful when we are more concerned with promoting our own name or honor than God’s. Practical Advice
- Be Thankful and Content (c.f., previous study)
- Remember Examples (e.g., Cain, Sarah, Saul, the Jews, etc.)
- Acknowledge Physical Consequences (Prov. 14:30)
- Understand Spiritual Dynamics (Galatians 5:19-26)
- Recognize Demonic Activity (James 3:13-18)
- Cherish Church Unity (1 Cor. 3:1-4, 1 Tim. 6:3-5)