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When the Enemy is Us

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When the Enemy is Us
K.P. Yohannan
Gospel for Asia


Our refusal to bend and break and be humbled causes us to be God’s enemy. Yet we can also have another enemy throughout this process of brokenness—ourselves. We are often our greatest enemy in seeing the work of the cross reign in our lives.

Watchman Nee said this: “Anyone who serves God will discover sooner or later that the great hindrance he has in the Lord’s work is not others, but himself. He will discover that his outward man (soul) is not in harmony with his inward man (spirit). Both tend to go toward two opposite directions from each other. He will also sense the inability of his outward man to submit to the inner control. . . .Thus he is rendered incapable of obeying God’s highest commands.”

You see, Scripture speaks of an inner battle that takes place in all of us. It even goes as far as to call it a war, one that rages between our inner man and our outward man. Consider what Paul wrote in Romans 7:22—“For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war . . .” (NIV, emphasis added).

There is a clear distinction between our inner man and our outward man. There is a battle, which can have only one winner. If our outward man can be broken and crushed, the inward man can shine through and the beauty of Christ within seen.

Please understand. “The inward man cannot come forth, because he is resisted and blocked by an exhausted outward man. That is why we have repeatedly suggested that this outward man must be broken.”

Founder of Christian and Missionary Alliance, A.B. Simpson, once wrote a hymn entitled, “Not I, but Christ,” in which he captures perfectly the need in each of our lives:

Oh to be saved from myself, dear Lord

Oh to be lost in Thee;

Oh that it may be no more I,

But Christ that lives in me.

Oh to be saved, not from adultery and thievery and lying and cheating and all the gross, visible sins that are happening out there, but from myself. Oh to be lost in Thee, that it may be no more I, but Christ. That is the brokenness I desire for myself and for all of us.

Brokenness for Today

Sometimes we may not even see how much we need to be broken. Depending on the culture we grew up in, some can—without realizing it—have an unbroken, prideful attitude ingrained in them. We may have been taught from birth to let no one intrude in our lives. We raise our children, and from the day they are born they have their own rooms, their own toys, their own everything. And using each other’s things without first asking permission is not allowed.

How careful we are to protect our personal lives. We are brothers and sisters in Christ until you cross that fine line and enter my private life. And if you are brave enough to do that, the quick reply you’ll hear is, “Hey, listen. I love you and respect you, but this is none of your business.” Whether we see it or not, this is unbrokenness.

This is not how it should be. In the family of God there is no veil. There are no barriers, no shields, nothing. We have been crucified with Christ, and things like age and looks and material possessions no longer matter. In the kingdom there is no pushing to get first place; there is no standing up for our rights. In the kingdom, up is down and down is up, and the servant is greatest of all.

As a leader, I am in a most dangerous place of not recognizing unbroken areas of my life. The Lord reminds me often to be extra sensitive to this, because, especially in the Asian culture, very few people will go to a leader, look them in the eye and say, “You are wrong. You messed up.”

Because of this, I have tried to order my life so that I am surrounded by people who watch what I do and say. I have sat down with a few people and said, “If you care about me and love me, please, tell me anytime you see something wrong in my life.” I am not infallible. I am capable of doing any wickedness you could possibly imagine. I am a man living in mortal flesh with every vice and temptation anyone else faces.

In fact, there have been times when I’ve had to stand up before the people I work with and repent and ask forgiveness because I publicly hurt one of them. I can easily slip. I can easily get the attitude, “I know who I am. I know how much I studied. I know my leadership. I know what I am doing.”

One incident while on a recent visit to India reminded me of the need to be on guard and continually asking the Lord to search my heart, that I would remain broken before Him.

As I stood beside a coconut tree outside of the library at our seminary, I was absolutely spellbound by the look and elegance of the building. I thought to myself, “I wish I were young again so I could study here. Look at all these books!”

And suddenly, as I was standing there, these words came to my mind: “Look at this huge, wonderful building,” as if I had made that place happen. Honestly, I had had nothing to do with the beautiful library. But if I had let my thoughts continue as they were going, I would have ended up like Nebuchadnezzar, saying, “Wow! I did something terribly wonderful and significant.”

I will never forget leaning against that coconut tree, all alone, looking at the library. I said to myself out loud, “As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more” (Psalm 103:15–16).

“Lord,” I said, “that is what I am. I am like the grass and the flower.” And I spoke to myself, “Look, flesh. Now you understand what it’s all about. You can do all these things and there will come a day when the very place where the things are done will remember you no more. Walk away from it. Don’t hold anything so tight. Even in the work of the Lord, it is worthless.”

I was 16 when the Lord first called me to serve Him. Now I am much older. In this journey, over the years I have met, lived with, taught and served so many whose lives have been destroyed by pride. They simply were not willing to give in. God did not come down and take away their lives, as happened in the Old Testament. Instead, because of their continual resistance, they were “shelved”—put aside from God’s work—while less able, younger but broken people went on with God.

We miss God’s greatest blessing when we harden our hearts. We become our greatest enemy when we allow our outward man to remain intact and never broken. Proverbs 29:1 (NIV) warns us, “A man who remains stiff-necked . . . will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.”

Again and again and again He reminds us, “Today, if you hear [My] voice, do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 4:7, NIV).
 
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Once again Awesome thread. While I understand you didnt write it I want to know where you find these..


I want so badly not to stuggle with pride...the song that was qouted really says my thoughts

Thanks sister!
 
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Amen JLU, Yes Coconut, this is awesome!

"Because of this, I have tried to order my life so that I am surrounded by people who watch what I do and say. I have sat down with a few people and said, “If you care about me and love me, please, tell me anytime you see something wrong in my life.� I am not infallible. I am capable of doing any wickedness you could possibly imagine. I am a man living in mortal flesh with every vice and temptation anyone else faces.

What a wonderful gift our fellow believers are and what a great example of bearing one anothers burdens. (Gal 6:2) For some reason, I usually think of this verse as referring to outward trials - but praise God for this humble (and beautifully broken) leader for his recognition of the resource he has in others.
 
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Btw, I tried to edit out the 0s and #s and all that stuff, but I am not sure why it won't edit out. I did copy and paste - maybe that introduced it. Either that or I am typing in tongues unintentionally. In any case - sorry can't seem to fix it.
 
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Bobbie I found this message on crosswalk at http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/
I do a lot of surfing, and its a blessing to be able to share the treasures God has given to others :smile: That song is my hearts cry as well. The closer I come to Christ, the more I see how wretched I really am! I could`nt even come to Him except He drew me, I can`t even walk with Him, except He holds my hand, His grace alone keeps me from falling! How I adore Him for caring so much for someone as unworthy as me!

fightngwrmwood I would`nt mind if the Holy Ghost rendered all our speech unitelligable :wink: Glory to God!
 
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Coconut, thanks so much for this post. I have spent most of the last two hours telling myself how important I am and that this blasted computer of mine should be doing a better job of serving me.

I came upon your post at the right time for me to get out of myself and into Christ.

SLE
 
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Reading this post, which is absolute truth, brought to mind a hymn sung in the days when we sang such.

Make me a captive Lord, and then I shall be free.
Force me to render up my sword, and I shall conquerer be.
I sink in life's alarms, when by myself I stand,
Imprison me within thine arms, and strong shall be my hand.

My will is not my own, Till thou hast made it thine.
If it would reach a Monarch's throne, it must its crown resign.
It only stands unbent, amid the clashing strife.
Till on thy bosom it has leant and found in thee its life.

s
 
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SpiritLedEd said:
Coconut, thanks so much for this post. I have spent most of the last two hours telling myself how important I am and that this blasted computer of mine should be doing a better job of serving me.
I came upon your post at the right time for me to get out of myself and into Christ.
SLE
Glad I'm not alone SpiritLedEd. Thanks for the chuckle. Really good thread Coconut.

We miss God’s greatest blessing when we harden our hearts. We become our greatest enemy when we allow our outward man to remain intact and never broken.
Amen, May God help us all and help us to help each other.
 
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In humbleness of spirit and the lifting up of holy hands:

"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
"And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalms 139:23-24 in the King James version of the Holy Bible

"Show me favor, O God, according to your lovingkindness. According to the abundance of your mercies wipe out my transgressions.

"Thoroughly wash me from my error, And cleanse me even from my sin.

"For my transgressions I myself know, And my sin is in front of me constantly.

"Against you, you alone, I have sinned, And what is bad in your eyes I have done, In order that you may prove to be righteous when you speak, That you may be in the clear when you judge.

"Look! With error I was brought forth with birth pains, And in sin my mother conceived me.

"Look! You have taken delight in truthfulness itself in the INWARD parts; And in the secret self may you cause me to know sheer wisdom.

"May you purify me from sin with hyssop, that I may be clean; May you wash me, that I may become whiter even than snow.

"May you cause me to hear exultation and rejoicing, That the bones that you have crushed may be joyful.

"Conceal your face from my sins, And wipe out even all my errors.

"Create in me even a pure heart, O God, And put within me a new spirit, a steadfast one.

"Do not throw me away from before your face; And your holy spirit O do not take away from me.

"Do restore to me the exultation of salvation by you, And may you support me even with a willing spirit.

"I will teach transgressors your ways, That sinners themselves may turn right back to you.

"Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God the God of my salvation, That my tongue may joyfully tell about your righteousness.

"O Jehovah, may you open these lips of mine, That my own mouth may tell forth your praise.

"For you do not take delight in sacrifice--otherwise I would give (it); In whole burnt offering you do not find pleasure.

"The sacrifices to God are a broken spirit; A heart broken and crushed, O God, you will not despise."

Psalms 51:1-17 in the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures

and I am "4givN"

Thank you for this wonderful Thread, coconut!
 
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coconut, thank you for this post....it trully speaks to the spirit. its easy to loose sight of one's weaknesses especially if we have been gaining spiritual victories over past failures...."Pride" can become a part of any persons weaknesses if not carefully watched out for. I appreciate the light that is shone, for the Truth brings forth light....We can do nothing of ourselves that will result in an eternal change....only carnal. However we can do all things thru Christ that strengthens
us!!!
 
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There is not a true Christian but who can say, "I really want to do His perfect will."

But here is where we miss it, we set our hearts on something that we want, something that looks good that sounds logical, but is not God's will. We will fast and pray and intercede for it! Cry a river of tears! Claim it! Bind demons hindering possession of it! Quote Bible! Get others to agree with us!

One of the biggest traps to Christians is a good idea which is not God's mind, a good strategy which is not His, a well-conceived plan that is not His.

The question is - can your desire survive the Cross? Can you walk away from it and die to it? Can you honestly say, "Lord, maybe it's not the devil stopping me, but You! If it's not Your will it could destroy me. I give it up to the Cross! To death! Do it Your way, Lord."

It is when you go down into the grave of death to all self, all ambition, all self-will, that you hear His voice.

Jesus said, "The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God... All that are in the graves shall hear His voice" (John 5:25,28),

This is why thousands of Christians today are getting into trouble hearing still small voices. There is confusion, things are not coming out right, because there has been no dying to self-will. Yes, I believe God does speak to His children. You can hear His true, holy, unmistakable voice, but only after crucifixion of self-will and self-desire. Jesus heard clearly from the Father. So did Paul, Peter, John and Stephen; but only because they were dead to this world. They were consumed with doing His will only.

http://www.tscpulpitseries.org/english/1980s/ts880208.html
 
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Good stuff, Coconut! Praise God!

Jesuslovesu, if you're ready to go deeper with God, the original author of Coconut's post as well as an author he mentions are both wonderful resources for doing just that. Watchman Nee books can be found almost anywhere for a relatively small price. You can visit K.P. Yohannan's website for Gospel for Asia and find links to his books there I think. Our church to sponsors about 27 missionaires thru GFA so we received some free books from them by K.P. Yohannan (an amazing man). Two books in particular that you might try reading (altho let me warn you that they are MEATY and will cut you to the quick) are "The Life That Wins" by Watchman Nee (got his book at Hastings for $5) and "The Road to Reality" by K.P. Yohannan. These books will have you really examining your relationship with the Lord, His people and the lost. More than that, they will stir you up and encourage you to LIVE YOUR LIFE FOR JESUS IN VICTORY!!!! Jesus paid that price once and for all when He hung on the cross so that we can live a life not in defeat, but in victory daily!!! To quote Watchman Nee from his book "The Life That Wins":

"'Sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under law, but under grace' (Rom. 6:14). Oh, how I love this verse! Let me ask you: Who is the one in view here who is not under law but under grace? Is it Andrew Murray? or Paul? or Peter or John? Or is it, that all who believe are not under law but under grace? How many of you are under grace today? Praise and thanks be to our God, all of us are under grace, with none of us still under law! The words which precede this statement we have just discussed are, 'sin shall not have dominion over you'. Here it declares that sin shall not be our lord! Victory is not the experience of special Christians, it is instead an experience all believers may share; because all who are saved are under grace."

Amen...and again I say AMEN!
 

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