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Oh, you may think it is about the battle between Satan and God, but Satan long ago realized his best strategy was to appeal to our self, our control center. If he gets a foothold there, your self will ultimately dominate you, and from there Satan is on cruise control.
All sins emanate from self. This is why Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves … their selfs … and take up their cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:24).
Notice he did not say “must deny themselves things.” We can deny ourselves things all day long with no heart transformation. Things are not the problem. Self is the problem.
Jesus goes on to observe, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Allow me to substitute self in this passage: “For whoever wants to save their self will lose it, but whoever loses their self for me will find the A+ Life to the Full.”
In the first Garden Satan did not have a vast array of things with which to tempt Adam and Eve. In the first Garden he only had their self to use against them. But that was all he needed. Satan appealed to Adam and Eve’s self, and he won.
Even today, with Satan’s entire arsenal at his fingertips: our sick, and getting sicker by the day culture, and all that goes with it—at its core, the temptation is still and always about self. Nothing has changed; the battle is always against self.
Jesus went into the Garden of Gethsemane to do battle with his self. Remember, three years prior Satan had tried to tempt Jesus in the wilderness with three appeals to his self. Afterward, “When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left Jesus until an opportune time.” (Luke 4:1-13)
The Garden Battle in Gethsemane was that “opportune time.”
Jesus had to do battle with his self in that garden. And Jesus won. He defeated self once and for all, so you and I could be freed from the tyranny of self.
Yes, you can be free from your self, your old self, your dominating, “What about me? What about my feelings? What’s in it for me?” self. But not by yourself. You need more than self-help. You need more than a helping hand.
Jesus’ Garden Battle caused him to sweat blood. Do you think you can do it on your own? You need a Savior. And you need his power to defeat your self.
From the Garden through the Cross, Jesus destroyed the work of Satan. Satan thought he was engineering the crucifixion of Jesus. He was a fool. He accidently engineered the crucifixion of self.
Now it is up to you. Will you fight the Battle of Self in your own Garden of Gethsemane? Will you?
You will need help. Each day. You will need the power of the Holy Spirit. Each day. The Cross opened this Holy Spirit power to you. Jesus made it available to you. He died for you to have this power.