Tamarajo is an avid Bible scholar who loves nothing more than seeking out the treasures in God's Word and sharing them with others.
This study will take a lesson from the Biblical book of Joshua as it concerns taking possession of the land and conquering the enemies in it. In this case, Joshua relates to our spiritual life/land and territory, pictures for us Jesus, our Savior, commander, and chief. The enemies that are confronted by Joshua will expose the real foes that lie within us as we attempt to give Christ all the territory of our lives. The enemies in Joshua are named and will help us to identify them as well as overcome them.
A warning the Lord gave His children concerning their conquering was this.
"if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall be that those whom you let remain shall be irritants in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land where you dwell".
— Numbers 33:55
What we choose to tolerate in our self-indulged flesh will become these very things to us in our Christian walk and lives. This reality gives us a lesson to have no mercy on ugly fleshy, strongholds of attitude and behavior.
Laying the Foundation
Before we begin this lesson, I would like to lay a good foundation that will assist us in comprehending the Old Testament lesson imaged for us in the conquering of territory as it applies to our Christian walk and life.
. . . whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
— Romans 15:4
Many dismiss the Old Testament as irrelevant and of no application, but Paul tells us otherwise in his first letter to the Corinthians.
Now all these things (Old Testament events) happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
— I Corinthians 10:11
The Old Testament gives us tangible illustrations of spiritual realities and truths that are timeless and applicable.
In terms of this lesson, let us first understand that our enemies are not people. In chapter six of Ephesians, Paul explains that the New Testament battle is more realistically with that which has dominion over us and others in the unseen realm.
He also reveals that the territory of this battle as being a heavenly/spiritual one rather than physical and teaches us that the way to give God dominion in us is through submission to Him in all of these areas of relationship and living.
. . . we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
— Ephesians 6:12
Our enemies (our flesh and the devil's kingdom) gain dominion in the territory of our lives, attitudes, and actions, through our submission to our selfishness, unbelief, and pride under which all flesh is categorized.
. . . the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.
— I John 2:16
Three Main Venues of Flesh
According to Genesis chapter three, Eve succumbed to the temptation of the serpent through these three main venues. Although the snake issued the temptations, her appetite, unbelief, and pride led her astray. James informs us that
. . . each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed
— James 1:14
The fall began when
the woman saw that the tree was good for food (Lust of the flesh— Appetite) . . .
The truth is
You (God) open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing
— Psalm 145:16
Truth or Consequences
Compare this with the first temptation that Jesus experienced in the throes of a ravaging 40-day hunger.
"command that these stones become bread."
— Matthew 4:3
“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
— Matthew 4
He conquered the flesh that always conjures up fantasy and illusion of satisfactions that require nothing of us. Eve stood amid all provision and chose something else. Christ stood in the middle of nothing and maintained loyalty to God with a real understanding of what life and satisfaction are.
After consulting her appetite alone, Eve concluded that the tree was also.
. . . pleasant to the eyes (Lust of the eyes—unbelief in that she saw what God had offered)
— Genesis 3
The truth is
. . . we walk by faith, not by sight.
— II Corinthians 5;7
because we know that.
. . . faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
— Hebrews 11:1
God's provisions are full of substance and are more real than the tangible things we can see. There is no real substance to anything apart from God.
It is also interesting to note that the order of God's provision changed in Eve's surmising. God's original order of operation was first, "sight," which is an image of faith, then provision.
. . . the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food
— Genesis 2:9
Appetite was second to faith and vision in God's account. When the desire is first, it sincerely skews our perception and our belief. Cravings, put first, actually make us blind to God's provision.
. . . whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe.
— II Corinthians 4:4
Jesus second temptation in Matthew was
. . . throw Yourself down For it is written ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”
— Matthew 4:6
“. . . It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’
— Matthew 4:7
The quote that Jesus used here was about an Old Testament incident that happened at Massah's waters, where the children of Israel needed water. Rather than seek God for their water and believe Him to provide, they uttered these faithless words,
“Is the Lord among us or not?”
— Exodus 17:7
This scene helps us understand that the temptation to throw himself down would be an attempt at asking God to prove Himself.
The third and final category defined in this last temptation by Eve was that it was
. . . a tree desirable to make one wise.
— Genesis 4
The Hebrew word for wise "shakal" used in this passage means more than just knowledge of hidden and maybe forbidden insight and included the idea of success, prosperity, and power.
The truth is
. . . you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth.
— Deuteronomy 8:18
The God of heaven will prosper us.
— Nehemiah 2:20
. . . the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful and prosperous man.
— Genesis 39:2
The temptation Jesus faced in this area of flesh, categorized as pride and self-exaltation through fame, fortune, and power, was the following.
. . . the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”
— Matthew 4:8-9
Jesus reply was
‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.
— Matthew 4:10
This last and final category reveals that whoever sits on the throne of our hearts and whoever we obey is who we worship. It also shows who rules the land of our hearts.
Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?
— Romans 6:16
Compare, as well, the devil's beginning statement of each temptation of Christ of; "If you are the Son of God . . . " and his statement of temptation to Eve; "you will be like God." Eve stumbles in her desire for self-exaltation, which leads to a significant fall of humiliation. Jesus is exalted in humility. Eve was already like God as in created in His image living in a glorious place. Jesus is God and left the beauty of His glorious dwelling place to become one of us.
Psalm chapter one gives us an image of these three main areas showing how they also work progressively.
Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful.
— Psalm 1:1
In this, we see that Eve took counsel from the serpent to put her appetite first, then stood in the path of sinners with her focus now shifted to what she determined best for her. She then sat in the seat of the scorn rooted in pride with the disillusionment of achievement apart from God.
The following chart puts all of these together, showing us God's ever-consistent patterns of revelation.
|Three Main Categories of Flesh||Selfishness||Unbelief||Pride|
I John 2:16
Lust of the flesh
Lust of the eye
Pride of life
Eve saw the tree was good for food - appetite
pleasant to the eyes -Eve saw what God had offered, didn't believe it to be sufficient
desirable to make one wise, successful and prosperous
"Turn these stones into bread"
"Throw yourself down" - See if God will save you
"obtain the kingdoms of this world"
Psalm 1 Showing Progression
Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly
Nor stands in the path of sinners
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful
Jesus Our Answer to All
Jesus the way
Jesus the truth
Jesus the life
Our Faith in Him Exhibited
Territory and Dominion
Continuing with laying the foundation, this time, in terms of territory; It is necessary to observe that there are two major themes of the Bible that concern the ideas of "territory" and "dominion." Both are significant to our study. Territory and dominion relate to the area in which the life of flesh or faith and plays out. God begins in the first chapter of Genesis by granting the humans that He created dominion over the earth's territory and all its contents.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
— Genesis 1:26
God placed Adam in the territory of the Garden and commanded him to serve and protect it. I like Young's literal translation of God's command to Adam to work at protecting what God had given him.
And Jehovah God taketh the man, and causeth him to rest in the garden of Eden, to serve it, and to keep it
— Genesis 2:15
In obeying and serving God, Adam and Eve dwelt freely in a territory in which tranquility and rest were the atmospheres of the kingdom.
When we are in submission to anything else but God alone, it is, entirely, the opposite.
They chose new gods; then was war in the gates
— Judges 5:8
In the beginning, God established a piece of land, a specific place where Adam and Eve could exercise the dominion God gave them. It was a sort of microcosmic kingdom. In their adulterous rebellion in defecting to another lord through their lusts and desires and the devil's temptation, the tranquility and rest they once enjoyed disappeared. They are forced to leave that domain or remain separate from God in perpetual guilt for eternity.
There is an excellent lesson in this story that we should not fool ourselves into thinking that we can remain in fellowship and presence with God while habitually living a lifestyle of sin with the thought that God doesn't mind.
No one who abides in Him [who lives and remains in communion with and in obedience to Him—deliberately, knowingly and habitually, practices sin
— I John 3:6 (Amplified)
We all sin daily, but to knowingly ignore habitual sin and outright accept it and settle down into it, we are riding on a dangerously thin line of presumption.
For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins.
— Hebrews 10:26
Back to Eden's domain—there is a curious phrase that is used when God comes to look for Adam that is key to understanding this concept of dominion throughout the remainder of Scripture.
And they hear the sound of Jehovah God walking up and down in the garden.
— Genesis 3:8
To and Fro
The phrases "walking up and down," "walking to and fro," "back and forth," in the Bible all have to do with surveying land for potential possession. The extended goal was to exercise dominion over it. God tells Abraham.
“Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendant.
— Genesis 13:14-15
God tells the children of Israel.
Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours.
He tells Joshua the same as it concerned conquering the land.
Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you . . .
— Joshua 1:3
Take this verse into account. Consider what God was doing as He walked up and down in the garden after the fateful treason.
. . . the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.
— II Chronicles 16:9
God is looking to seize the opportunity to exercise His dominion and show Himself strong to His people. Their disloyalty ended up disqualifying them, and the battle began.
As it concerned King Asa, who took the temple treasures, gold, and silver to pay off another nation to protect him. In Eden, this was an issue of disloyalty and faithlessness that disqualified him from God's provision and protection.
“Because you have relied on the king of Syria, and have not relied on the Lord your God, therefore the army of the king of Syria has escaped from your hand.
— II Chronicles 16:7
Gold in the Bible is symbolic of godliness, and silver is a symbol of redemption. Asa illustrates how we might sell out to our selfish flesh by forfeiting the godliness that he has given us. It is a trade of an indescribable gift of redemption for much lesser things.
Let's look at another verse in Job with this similar phrase as it concerns what Satan was doing when God questions him as to what he is doing and where he is going.
Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.
— Job 1:7
He was also the one who once
. . . walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones of God's holy mountain.
— Ezekiel 28:4
What was Satan doing based on this revelation of territory and to and fro? He was looking to seize an opportunity and legal right to possess and exercise his dominion in the land of Job's life. He technically had no right to Job for the following reason.
. . . (He) was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.
— Job 1:1
The devil has no rights to the territory of hearts, minds, and lives submitted to God. When Balaam tries to curse the children of Israel at the request of a Midianite king, he cannot do it for a particular reason.
“He (God) has not observed iniquity in Jacob, Nor has He seen wickedness in Israel. The Lord his God is with him . . .
— Numbers 23:21
After three failed attempts at cursing them, they could find no way to penetrate the protection of the Lord God almighty as long as they were obedient and faithful to Him. Shortly after this incident.
. . . the people began to commit harlotry with the women of Moab . . . And those who died in the plague were twenty-four thousand.
— Numbers 25:2,9
When we set foot outside of God's covenant love and protection through the unfaithfulness of blatant disobedience to Him, in favor of our fleshly desires, we make ourselves targets and opportunities for evil and chaos.
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands,you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
— James 4:7-8
The Battle Begins
Now that we understand the role and dominion of flesh, as it applies to the territory of our lives, in terms of who rules and reigns over it, we can continue with the subject of this lesson beginning with a portion of Scripture from the book of Joshua. This scene takes place at the end of the 40-year wilderness wanderings of God's children. God had delivered his children from the Egyptians and promised them a permanent land of their own where God would be their king ever-present with them that would satisfy all their needs. But this possession would not be without a fight.
And Joshua said, “By this you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Hivites and the Perizzites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Jebusites.
— Joshua 3:10
Seven enemies needed to be conquered before the children of Israel would be able to take possession of the land God had promised them.
The meanings of their names lead to some interesting insights that are reflective of the spiritual enemies of our flesh that we are confronted with as we enter and take possession of the promised land of an eternal relationship with God and the life He intended us to have.
In this portion of Scripture, Joshua leads his people into a land flowing with an abundance of everything they ever wanted or needed. Joshua represents Jesus.
In the Scripture verse above, we see Joshua telling the Israelites that God will drive out these seven enemies before them. One might conclude that the children of Israel would step across the Jordan and "poof" new land, new life, enemies, are gone with no participation on their part. We know from the Scriptures that follow that this wasn't how it happened. There is always participation required on our part that invites God to do His part. There is no such thing as dual citizenship in the Kingdom of God. We either serve Him or another, and whoever we serve has legal jurisdiction over us.
You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons.
— I Corinthians 10:21
This concept conflicts with modern Churchianity, which preaches the Gospel of "don't change a thing; just come to Jesus and hang out with church people, and you will just "poof" change. We must take those steps towards Him of conquering the territory of our lives through repentance and submission to Him. "Repentance" is the first word of the Gospel, and although it is God that does the work in us, it is our job to turn towards Him and not towards sin, the flesh, or any of the wares the devil would try to peddle us. Paul exhorts us
. . . work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
— Philippians 2:12-13
So it is with us. Sometimes in our walk with God into the eternal life that God intended for us, we are surprised to learn of these enemies and equally astonished at the realization that we play a role in the personal defeat of them. Rather than evict these enemies, we often make friends with them and let them hang out with us to our demise. The work is a progressive one that will continue this side of eternity, but we must head in the right direction.
Jesus had gone before us and defeated our foes.
And the hostile princes and rulers He shook off from Himself, and boldly displayed them as His conquests, when by the Cross He triumphed over them.”
— Colossians 2:15 (Weymouth)
We have a good fight of faith to fight in seeing this victory come to completion in us and live in that reality. Just as the children of Israel had to stand, challenge, and resist their physical enemies, God invites us to engage in this battle of removing the fleshly occupants that don't belong in our relationship with Him.
. . . those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
— Galations 5:24
The enemies in this chapter represent the fleshly occupants of the territories of our soul. These enemies must be conquered through faith in the completed work of Jesus on the cross so God can take possession of the land of our lives.
These enemies' names show a progressive downward spiral of allowing these fleshly enemies, invited by and empowered by our sin and rebellion, to dwell in the land of our lives. Let's take a brief look at each one, and then we will see how they operate and function in us that we would not be ignorant of his devices. (2 Corinthians 2:11)
The first enemies mentioned in the list were the Canaanites. The lessons from this enemy will lay the foundation for the concept of legal transactions that vie for dominion rights and will be valuable in understanding the other occupants of which many were sons of Canaan.
Canaan carries a couple of meanings and attributes that are both applicable and relevant. The first attribute this clan is associated with is that of trading or trafficking. It comes from a root that means lowland and includes the idea of being brought under and into subjection.
Trafficking rightly describes a portion of Scripture in Ezekiel that gives us a demonstration through the earthly king of Tyre. This depiction animates what occurred in the spirit realm with the "evil one." It points to where all of this originated. Because of Satan's trading, God cast him out of His mountain. Ezekiel describes him as a covering Cherub that loses his position and territory.
“By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within, And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones.
— Ezekiel 28:16
Isn't this what took place in the garden with Adam and Eve? A transaction with the devil occurred, in the form of a trade. A truth was exchanged for a lie, and they were cast out of the land of the garden.
Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
— Genesis 3:13
According to both Strong's and Gesenius, the Hebrew word for deceived in the above verse includes the idea of purchasing something on credit, as in a buy now and pay later transaction. The definitions also included the burdensome consequences of oppression, taxation, and being seized with a debt to a creditor that could not be afforded. Isn't that what the devil does? Like a crafty snake oil salesman, he offers up something that is nothing then takes all you have and leaves you with a debt you cannot pay and, in turn, requires your servitude.
. . . the borrower is servant to the lender
— Proverbs 22:7
Who you buy from is who you owe. Compare this with God's proposal.
“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price.
— Isaiah 55:1
God's invitation is upfront and free, but not without cost. Two chapters before Isaiah 55, the prophet describes the suffering servant who paid the ransom for our release from the kingdom of darkness.
The second meaning given to Canaan is humiliated and related to the lowland definition introduced with this enemy. Could we say this enemy of the flesh speaks of living the low life that inevitably leads to humiliation?
"The world does not object to your being a Christian for a time if she can but tempt you to cease your pilgrimage, and settle down to buy and sell with her in Vanity Fair"
— Charles Spurgeon
The second enemy was the Hittites. "Hitti" comes from a word meaning terror and leads to the idea of being shattered, broken, and confused. When we sell out to the snake oil salesman and make trades that lead us into a low life, this one comes with it. This enemy of the flesh is about the fear and anxiety that creeps into one's life.
In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence.
— Proverbs 14:26
Anxiety can be self-focused, and I would also venture to guess that the fear of man and the opinions of man rank pretty high on the terror list as well.
The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.
— Proverbs 29:25
This enemy wants us to desire to look good in man's eyes and be so self-focused that we become distracted and fragmented by it that we really won't care what God thinks.
Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.
— Isaiah 51:7
The third enemies were the Hivites meaning "nomadic tent dwellers," and speak of restlessness and unsettled life. It illustrates wandering aimlessly and living without purpose or vision. One of the descriptions of this word from an Arabic standpoint, according to Gesenius, is to roll oneself in a circle. Could we say an unfocused and unpurposed life is a futile life of running in circles and accomplishing nothing, like a dog chasing its tail?
Where there is no vision from God, the people run wild.
— Proverbs 29:18 (The Voice)
God calls us to know our calling and is full of vision and productivity.
. . . be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him,being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy.
— Colossians 1:9-11
The fourth enemies were the Perrizites, and they were known as inhabitants of the open country characterized by unprotected villages and cities without walls. Unwalled cities illustrate for us the undisciplined life without boundaries.
Whoever has no rule over his own spirit Is like a city broken down, without walls.
— Proverbs 25:28
The Hebrew understanding of a relationship with God revolved around the walls and canopy of a covenant described in Isaiah.
Violence shall no longer be heard in your land,
Neither wasting nor destruction within your borders;
But you shall call your walls Salvation,
And your gates Praise.
— Isaiah 60:18
To walk outside those boundaries through disobedience to God's will and ways by catering to the whims of the flesh, we to step outside of God's protection. This enemy would like us to believe that we can have our cake and eat it too, but in reality, it will only lead us to a vulnerable place where we can be trodden down and plundered.
The fifth enemies were the Girgashites. Gergashi, according to Gesenius, means "clayey soil" and images for us how our flesh gets us off track and stuck in the mud by leaving the path of righteousness as described in Proverbs.
. . . those who leave the paths of uprightness To walk in the ways of darkness; Who rejoice in doing evil, And delight in the perversity of the wicked; Whose ways are crooked, And who are devious in their paths(ruts, cycles, and courses)
— Proverbs 2:10-15 (NET Bible)
This enemy wants us to remain on familiar paths and return to our old ways.
But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit, a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.
— II Peter 2:22
God has delivered us from the miry clay. Let us not return there again. The Lord gets us unstuck from the mud and establishes our goings.
He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
— Psalm 40:2
The Sixth enemies were the Amorites. The Hebrew word Amori has to do with the need for publicity. If it isn't apparent already, pride plays a significant role in this enemy of our flesh and is characterized by boasting. Our flesh wants to be popular and well-liked and will tend to do wicked things to obtain this type of affirmation.
. . . the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire; He blesses the greedy and renounces the Lord.
— Psalm 10:3
Self and God cannot both sit on the throne.
. . . the workers of iniquity boast in themselves.
— Psalm 94:4
The following verse is a temptation buster.
. . . let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the Lord.
— Jeremiah 9:24
The Seventh enemies were the Jebusites, and their name means "to trod down with the feet." This phrase refers to a holy place and concerns the polluting and profaning it.
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
— I Corinthians 3:16
This fleshly quality treats the grace of God as a common or cheap thing.
Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
— Hebrews 10:29
This fleshly attribute could very well sum up what all carnal characteristics do when we voluntarily and habitually live in them. God warned the Israelites and us that to live in fellowship with these characteristics is to our own demise.
. . . they shall be snares and traps to you, and scourges on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land which the Lord your God has given you.
— Joshua 23:13
We can see what happens when sin operating through our flesh is the ruling force in our souls. There is a progressive downward spiral caused by the destroying forces.
Pulling It All Together
The Canaanites illustrate for us the humiliation and shame when we lower God's standards of right living to make provision for our flesh. It is mainly living the low life.
. . . make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
— Romans 13:14
Jesus invites us to come up higher.
. . . as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways.
— Isaiah 55
The Hittites revealed that when satisfying the self and flesh is the focus of our lives, this ultimately leads to fears that drive us to make many bad decisions moving us away from God's comfort and confidence. Lack of focus and anxiety, in turn, progresses to an aimless unproductive existence, of careless living and a casting off of restraint. This concept is shown in the definition of the Hivites. In leaving the path of righteousness, our lives become like cities without walls, boundaries, or standard of living represented by the Perizzites. We get stuck in ruts and cycles of sin and defeat imaged by the Girgashites. They also convince us to minimize both sin and consequence. The Amorites reveal how pride attempts to mask and hide all of the above and deny that living under these dictates truly does trample the blood of Christ shed to deliver us from these very things, underfoot exhibited by the Jebusites.
A Demonstration From Cain and Abel
The Cain and Abel narrative is another example of how faith in our flesh or trust in God's sacrifice works. Able offered a blood sacrifice, acknowledging a real understanding of his condition. Cain offered the fruit of his work that denied his need for atonement. Cain became upset because he thought that God liked Able better. The real difference was that Able understood and humbled himself, admitting the actual price of His sin. Wherein lies another huge universal lie; "Our sin isn't that bad."
Cain refused to acknowledge the gravity of his sin. God even came to him and explained that if he would do well that he too would experience God's favor. His pride tainted reasoning had now twisted his thinking to believe that it was his brother's fault that he felt so small and insignificant rather than his disobedience.
This deceptive type of thinking led him to believe that eliminating his brother would solve his problem instead of facing the truth about himself. Blame is an excellent indicator of pride in action. Anger and defensiveness, as seen in this story, are apparent evidence of pride.
God's Battle Strategy
The first step to defeating these fleshly enemies is acknowledging their existence and the problems they are causing. Acknowledging that have we have either made a god of ourselves, others, or things is relevant to the story. It is essential to look at how we take life into our own hands without considering what God might do for us. When God is not on the throne of our hearts, our flesh is.
The next phase after discovery is to forgive and experience forgiveness. Both our own sin and the sins committed against us were born by, and suffered for, by Jesus who hung on a cross bearing it all in His body. His blood covered it all.
Next, we must repent and turn away from our old ways, attitudes, behaviors, and fleshly reactions as we discover each unconquered territory of our soul.
We need to put our faith in God for every insecurity and need we have and consciously choose not to worship ourselves by doing what we want, nor do we worship others by doing what we think they want us to be and do.
These patterns of living in the flesh become strongholds and are the fortresses that keep us in bondage.
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds . . .
— II Corinthians 10:4
We can live in the awful patterns of sin and addiction or maybe the patterns of relationship troubles and issues for the rest of our lives, which the cycles these enemies create show us. The Israelites circled the mountain for 40 years because their flesh always seemed to overrule their faith, or we can break out of their grips through submission to God in repentance, forgiveness, and trust in our Mighty Conqueror by
. . . casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
— II Corinthians 10:5
Walking in the flesh is always about rebellion, no matter how cleverly disguised it is. The excuses we come up with to maintain our flesh and its desires are infinite. Therefore, I would also like to look at the fine line between freedom and rebellion, considering we often give in to our flesh with misled ideas of freedom.
Webster's Dictionary, interestingly, defines freedom as a state of exemption from another's power or control. Exemption from slavery or servitude or confinement.
Rebellion defines as; open renunciation of authority and open resistance to lawful authority.
From the definitions above, these sound quite a bit alike, except for freedom. Freedom is a state of being through submission to authority. Rebellion, on the other hand, is choosing to resist and defy authority openly. The latter eventually leads to law and restriction. It is a choice. Freedom through submission to God and His ways comes with a fence of protection. Rebellion through fleshly desires is a city without walls.
Isaiah offers us this warning
Woe to those going down to Egypt (picture of the flesh)
expecting help — relying on horses;
trusting in chariots, because they have many,
and in the strength of their cavalrymen (looking to self, people, programs, procedures and powers governmental or otherwise) —
but not looking to the Holy One of Isra’el,
not consulting Adonai
— Isaiah 31:1 (Complete Jewish Bible)
Often, we mistake God's fence of protection (boundaries) as confinement when it was never meant to keep us in as much as keep the enemy out.
Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility,for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
— 1 Peter 5:5-11
Whenever the children of Israel succumbed to their fleshly natures in following after the gods and practices of the other nations, they were overcome by these same enemies and eventually oppressed by a foreign enemy.
We would do well to do spiritual battle against the enemies of our flesh as Joshua and the children of Israel did by eradicating the sin and unforgiveness in our lives that invite and empower them so that we may live in the plans of peace and wholeness God intended.
For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
— Jeremiah 28:11
. . . put to death the earthly parts of your nature...and...put on the new self, which is continually being renewed in fuller and fuller knowledge, closer and closer to the image of its Creator.
— Colossians 3:5,10
© 2010 Tamarajo
Tamarajo (author) on July 27, 2019:
Thank you Tim. I am glad that the lesson was useful. I appreciate you reading and for the feedback.
Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on July 17, 2019:
Enjoyable read. Very insightful and educational article about the temptations and faults of the flesh. Thank you.
Tamarajo (author) on December 20, 2014:
My humble apologies. The source for this particular article was a hand out I received from a Bible Study teacher several years ago, of which I am unable to locate presently. I am for the most part careful to check my sources and file them with the printed material I write, apparently such is not the case here. I did look this particular word up in both Strong's and Gesenius and both list its possible meaning as "clayey soil". I will be going through the article for either revision or removal upon this discovery. I will leave the article up for a few days before I take it down for either or, so that you can read my reply.
I thank you so much for your question pointing this out as I would like what I write to be accurate.
Hi on December 20, 2014:
Where is explanation that girgashi means deception? Pls
Tamarajo (author) on January 26, 2014:
I appreciate your visit your blessing and encouraging comment. Shalom!
Pastor Dharani Isaiah on January 25, 2014:
Thank the Holy Spirit to have led me here today. God bless you and use you mightily! Shalom!
Tamarajo (author) on April 23, 2013:
Hi Theresa, Glad the article ministered to you. Humility really is essential for any truly significant spiritual success. Any prideful motives born from our insecurities always end in disaster. I have had to learn this lesson the hard way so many times. God does such a better job of lifting us up as we submit ourselves to Him and His ways.
Blessed by your visit and comment
theresa on April 23, 2013:
GOD IS SOOOO GOOD . THAT SONG REALLY TOUCHED MY HEART. WE HAVE TO HUMBLE OURSELVES BEFORE HIM, AND BURN ANY DISTRACTIONS THAT HINDER US FROM DOING GOD WORK AND LISTENING TO HIS VOICE.
Tamarajo (author) on March 20, 2012:
Hi Chin chin, Glad you were able to glean something from the hub. I tend to see our flesh sometimes to be the biggest enemy we have to deal with. I am grateful too for what Christ has done for us and giving us the victory over it.
Thank you for visiting and commenting.
Chin chin from Philippines on March 20, 2012:
Hi Tamarajo. I learned something again from your hub. I didn't know that the names of the enemies of Israel had something to do with the enemies of our flesh. Thanks for sharing as well how we can defeat the enemies of our flesh. Really grateful for what Yeshua has done for us.
Tamarajo (author) on April 09, 2011:
Thank you Minnetonka Twin.
That is my passion in writing to bring clarity to the truths in the scripture and show how this ancient writing is applicable and relevant for today.
I am glad you were inspired by the hub. I appreciate your visit and your thoughtful comment.
Linda Rogers from Minnesota on April 07, 2011:
What a inspirational hub. I like your writing style which made it easy to understand some difficult concepts. Thanks for the beautiful uplift today:)
Tamarajo (author) on March 12, 2011:
Thank you creativeone blessed by your visit and encouraging comment.
Benny Faye Ashton Douglass from Gold Canyon, Arizona on March 10, 2011:
Thank you FaithDream, for a thought provoking hub that your spiritual juices running. Thank you for sharing. Godspeed. creativeone59
ladyjojo on February 01, 2011:
you are most welcome my sister in Christ :)
Tamarajo (author) on February 01, 2011:
Hi Lady Jo Jo. Yes it is those ites I talk about in the hub our enemies aren't flesh and blood they are our own willful ways and the evil one who seeks to destroy us.
I am not Jewish. But I am with you in having a heart for the Jewish people. They are the ones with whom God covenanted with to bring us the savior and my heart goes out to them for all they have suffered.
I also enjoy the Hebrew language which the Old Testament is written in and the Jewish people speak.
Thank you so much for coming by and adding your thoughtful commentary.
ladyjojo on February 01, 2011:
Thanks for another insightful hub.
Even though all those ites have been killed out in the old testament , there is a new batch of ites that live amongst us today. Who continue to persecute us for righteousness sake.
There is coming a day that there will be the greatest WAR of all times a show down a battle between God and Satan. I just can't wait to pierce satan for all the wicked things he cause me others to do.
For i am a child of the GREAT KING, who will destroy satan and his host.
are you jewish by chance Tamara? If yes there's a great love in my heart for jews they are God's children and especialy after watching and seeing holocaust the love grew more.
God bless you
Tamarajo (author) on January 23, 2011:
Thank you for your visit and comment Lady E
Elena from London, UK on January 21, 2011:
Inspiring Hub - May God give us grace. I think it's more of a challenge to live the Xtian life these days... the end times...
Tamarajo (author) on January 10, 2011:
Thank you for coming by onegoodwoman.
The in depth look at biblical truth really helps me to confirm the truths already there and sometimes gives me a perspective I had not considered before useful to walking this thing out.
I am glad you enjoyed and thank you for your encouraging comment.
onegoodwoman from A small southern town on January 10, 2011:
This is fantastic!
Giving meaning to the names, makes
it all so more clearer. We all need
the basic building block of learning.
I Thank You~~
Tamarajo (author) on January 01, 2011:
Glad to see you again James. Always blessed by your visit.
His Word is unfathomably deep and Wisdom infinitely wide. I love to treasure hunt in His truth. He never seems to disappoint me.
Thank you for your complimentary comment.
James A Watkins from Chicago on January 01, 2011:
I am dazzled by your wisdom. I had no idea the exegesis of those verses was so deep, nor did I know what the names of those people meant. This may be your most profound teaching yet. I am edified by it. Thank you.
Tamarajo (author) on January 01, 2011:
So glad you stopped by Voice CIW. I am so blessed by your encouraging comments.
I am glad that you were blessed by it.
VOICE CIW on January 01, 2011:
Tamarajo, I love it, every word. You are so blessed in the knowledge of the Word. The Seven Enemies Of The Flesh is so awesome, the way you presented it in this writing is so special. I have heard of and am aware of the seven enemies of the flesh, but the way you have presented it, is excellent. God is really using you, you are truly gifted of God. I thank God for you, thank you for sharing, your hub have truly blessed me. God Bless You! As always I will keep you in my prayers. I love you in the Lord.
Tamarajo (author) on December 29, 2010:
Thank you for stopping by Tinamarie and thank you for your encouraging comment.
tinamarie9884 on December 29, 2010:
I am glad that I stopped by to read your hub, great job and well written!!
Tamarajo (author) on November 22, 2010:
Thank you Christina for your visit and thoughtful comment.
Cristina Santander from Manila on November 22, 2010:
Great hub which presents great insights to ponder about. Thank you for sharing these timely reminders in the light of God's Word. Blessings to you and best regards.
Tamarajo (author) on November 22, 2010:
Hello Lady_E, Glad for your interest and enlightenment. His Word is a lamp unto our feet and light unto our path.
blessed by your visit and comment
Tamarajo (author) on November 22, 2010:
Yes EmbracingTheTruth. I love the Old Testament for that very reason. It so vividly illustrates the spiritual application of the New Testament concepts.
Thank you for stopping by.
Elena from London, UK on November 21, 2010:
Very interesting read. I found it enlightening.
Helena on November 20, 2010:
Another great example of how God used the physical circumstances in the Old Testament to demonstrate the Spiritual in the New Testament. Thank you for sharing such an insightful hub!
Tamarajo (author) on November 18, 2010:
Hello heart4theword, I agree, So many times I have discovered through this fleshly process that I am trusting in someone or something other than Him. The downward spiral is becoming more obvious to me. It is relieving to know that there is a solution and that is humbling ourselves before Him.
Thank you for you visit and blessed comment.
Tamarajo (author) on November 18, 2010:
Faithful Daughter blessed by your visit : ). It has taken my a long time to comprehend that my battles in life had more to do with the spiritual background activity and my own areas of defeat and insecurity then it did the people and circumstance I was dealing with.
I also wasted a lot of time focusing on an enemy that I gave permission to through my flesh choices of reaction and action. When God makes it clear as we humble ourselves before Him He will lift us up. We don't need pride to do that for us and is only evidence of who we are relying on.
I Peter 5:“ God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”[b]
6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because[c] your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith,
Thank you for your encouraging comment.
Tamarajo (author) on November 18, 2010:
Hello Hisdaughter, I'm still a work in progress and remind myself often of what I'm dealing with when the process begins and always try to remember whose battle it really is and submit myself to Him.
Great to hear from you
Tamarajo (author) on November 18, 2010:
Hi Brother Dave. Yes it is at the foot of His cross that are forgiven and forgive. Where we put away all our insecurities and pride and are lifted up from all we have done and all that has been done to us by His goodness and grace.
Bless you for stopping by.
heart4theword from hub on November 18, 2010:
When things, aren't moving forward in life...I realize somewhere I had gotten off track, was trying to do things as you said..in the flesh. Humbling myself before The Lord, sets my spirit right:) Walking in Him, does help to keep our path straight! You are so awesome, tamarjo! I think this is, one of your better hubs:0 Loved your wording here:) Many blessings to you!, from The Father above!
Evie Lopez from Sunny Florida on November 17, 2010:
"People are not our problem nor our enemies. Our spiritual condition is more consequential than our human relationships. It is in those relationships that we exhibit our true spiritual position with God."
So true Tamarajo! That shows true spiritual maturity and insight! What an awesome Hub! Loved it!
His daughter on November 17, 2010:
Love this Hub and thank you for the insights. I certainly don't want any of the "ites" in my life. Thank you, Jesus that you have defeated every enemy. Thank you again and God bless. These insights may start a further study on this myself.
Dave Mathews from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA on November 16, 2010:
Tamarajo: I will always Choose to serve The Lord My God and Christ Jesus. Well written thank you. The cross, the foot of the cross is where I kneel in repentance pleading for forgiveness.
Tamarajo (author) on November 15, 2010:
Hello drpastorcarlotta thank you for your vote, visit, and comment. It is interesting the lengths we will go to to avoid that feeling of humiliation which most generally spirals down to prideful actions. If we could only remember that to humble ourselves before Him...in due time He exalts and lifts us up.
blessed by your visit
Tamarajo (author) on November 15, 2010:
Thank you DaPuma5 for your visit and comment. we do have a tendency to mistake rebellion for freedom in our quest for the sense of being lifted up inside. In reality we end up getting slammed to the floor when we walk in sin and the flesh to obtain satisfaction.
Pastor Dr Carlotta Boles from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC on November 14, 2010:
I love when you said: "A lot of times we associate humility with humiliation. Humility is actually being confident enough in God and having enough faith in His love for us that we are able to bow to His requests. Humiliation is more like a shameful weak and lonely state." Yes! YES! I bow down to His request! Love the music as well! I voted-up on this Hub! Excellent!!!
daPuma5 on November 14, 2010:
Fascinating! I liked the contrasts you used here. I especially liked the section on freedom and protection. Couldn't be more true.
Tamarajo (author) on November 13, 2010:
Thank you again ichoosehim. I love your hub handle name it is beautiful. I am happy you stopped by and even more happy that you learned something deeper about Him, and the things that get in the way of us relating with Him.
Have a blessed day.
Tamarajo (author) on November 13, 2010:
Thank you Icg4jc. I too have caught my self at times sliding down the slippery slope of the flesh. The revelation for me in this lesson was that the effects of sin were the same whether they were a sin I committed or one committed against me. They both were required to be dealt with at the cross.
I am happy you were blessed and encouraged by your comments.
I know you love the Word too.
Bless you sister.
ichoosehim on November 13, 2010:
I ENJOYED YOUR HUB AND I LEARNED SOME THINGS.
lcg4jc on November 13, 2010:
Thank you for such a great hub! Bookmarked up. I really enjoy the systematic approach of the seven steps. It is very insightful and I can see the downward spiral in my own life this last year, but praise be to God that He did not allow me to continue past the third step. However, I can see how easily one can fall. One more thing for me to be grateful to our Lord and Savior, no wait two more things: first not allowing me to fall into total despair and second because you wrote this hub so that I can be aware of my blessing. THANKS!!! :)
Blessings to you and yours
Tamarajo (author) on November 13, 2010:
Hello Rev Lady always blessed by your visit as well. I always used to look at my enemies from external perspective but I am beginning to see sometimes the biggest battles are fought inside of me.
Thank you for reading.
Tamarajo (author) on November 13, 2010:
Thank you lifegate always appreciate your visit comments and encouragement.
RevLady from Lantana, Florida on November 13, 2010:
WOW! What a great hub that so delicately yet, meaningfully expresses the enemies of the flesh.
I really enjoyed and appreciate the video as well.
William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on November 13, 2010:
More great stuff from you and another bookmark for me. Thanks for your work here on hubpages.
Tamarajo (author) on November 13, 2010:
Thank you skye blessed by your visit and comment.
skye2day from Rocky Mountains on November 12, 2010:
Beautiful informative heartfelt and truth hub. I need to come back to finish reading. I am too tired to absorb all the read.It deserves my full attention.
I am so grateful I was led here tonight. You are a light shining for our Lord. I look forward to returning. Sweet Dreams Hugs to you. Bookmarked up and awesome Love n Peace