5. WHO IS THIS NATURAL MAN ENEMY "TO" GOD???
Updated: Oct 10
Chapter 5 – Who is this “Natural Man Enemy” TO God?
THE DUAL NATURE OF MAN
Would you rather be possessed by a good Spirit of Joy & Peace or by an Evil Negative Spirit of Contention, Anger and Fear? The choice is yours – make the choice now!
All men and women are made of two parts as we are told by the Lord in D&C 93:33-35: “Man is Spirit, and the Elements (of Man) are eternal; and Spirit and Element, inseparably connected receive a fullness of joy, and when separated, man CANNOT “receive” a fullness of Joy. The elements (of Man) are the Tabernacle of God, even Temples; and whatsoever Temple is “de-filed” (de-filled with Spirit?), God shall destroy that temple”.
Now by way of explanation, that means that we are made firstly of Spirit or what the Lord, in D&C 93, calls the “Spirit of Truth”, which was in the beginning with God. This is the real “you” that has existed forever. There is neither beginning nor end to the real “you”. Your Spirit is made of “Light”, or the “Light of Christ”, which is the same as “Intelligence” or “Truth” or “Spirit of God” as explained in D&C 88. He says: “I am the True Light that is in you, otherwise, ye could not abound (or exist).”
Your Spirit, then, is an Eternal Being and is inseparably connected with God. If you will study and ponder John 15:1-6 where the Savior explains that He is the Vine (meaning the entire plant with roots and branches and leaves and fruit), and that we are branches on that vine, meaning we are part of what God is. Now we can choose to cut ourselves off from that plant or vine; but then we would be a dead branch and not able to continue to live or exist. We would then be good for nothing except to be trodden under foot of men and then gathered and burned as all dead branches are. He says: “without Me ye can do nothing.” That is because as a branch, or small part of Him, the whole plant, we receive our life and our sustenance and our strength and our whole existence from Him.
When we speak of what the real “Me” is, we could say that we then are made of the “Light of Christ” or the “Spirit of Truth”, or that we are a “Soul of God”. When we think of which part of us that is, it is most often described as the “Heart” or “Eternal Soul”.
Now the other part of us is our Elements which means our body which is made of dust and water. Within that body is the Brain and the other organs. This is what we normally call “Me” or “My Self”. We have a tendency to “think” that the body is who we are, but the body only functions as a machine that breathes and moves automatically and by instinct as other animal bodies do. The body, not being the real Eternal “Me”, could actually be called the “IT”, or as King Benjamin and the Apostle Paul called it ---“The Natural Man”. The brain wants to think that “IT’, or the body and brain is all we are composed of. The brain has an “Ego” which it thinks is the only “Self”. It only exists however from conception until death; whether that is hours or up to 100 years, and then IT dies and becomes dust again. Meanwhile, as Alma says to his son in Alma 40:11-13: The “spirits” of ALL men, whether they are good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them “Life”. The elements themselves are eternal, meaning they go into another state of dust or water, but they do not always stay in the state of being your body until the “final” resurrection. That “final” resurrection is conditional upon becoming inseparably connected with your Spirit. You must understand that the body and the brain, or mind, is not the Real “You”. “IT” is the Natural Man, which is an “Enemy to God”, according to King Benjamin.
This is borne out in the statement of President David O. McKay: “Man is a dual being, and his life a plan of God. That is the FIRST fundamental fact to keep in mind. Man has a natural (carnal) body and a spiritual (eternal) body. Man’s body is but the tabernacle (space suit) in which his Spirit dwells. Too many, far too many, are prone to regard the (physical) body (and Brain) as the man, and consequently to direct their efforts to the gratifying of the body’s pleasures, its appetites, its desires (lusts), its passions…(The Abundant Life in a Self-ish World, Improvement Era, Sept 1949, pg. 558)
IN Galatians 4:16-17 Paul said it this way: “Do not fulfill the Lusts (desires) of the flesh (body). The flesh (body) lusteth (desires) against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the Flesh, and these are contrary (at war) the one to the other.”
An experiment that you can use to show this understanding would be to sit quietly some where and close your eyes and empty your mind or brain of all thoughts for as long as you can. Now as you sit quietly there, watch carefully to see how long it takes for a thought to enter your brain. It could be seconds before a thought comes, or it could be up to several minutes. But sooner or later you will have a thought – take note of that thought. Now that you are aware of the thought that has come into your brain, consider which part of you noticed that a thought came into your brain. It could not be your brain that noticed the thought. It’s as if the real “you” is sitting up in a higher place than the brain, watching what goes on in the brain. And once you notice that, then you can sit back and watch what is going through your brain, then you can realize that the part of you which does the watching is your “Spirit” or your “Heart” or your “Soul of God”, the “Branch of God”.
Now it is critically important that you have this understanding or “awareness” of the difference between your “IT” or your “Natural Man”, and your Spirit or Heart. Without this awareness you will go through life thinking that your brain or your ego or your “Self” is “Me”. It is not the Real “Me”. It is your body which was given you for a short time to experience upon the earth and to learn to deal with. Your brain and your ego does not go with you once you die, unless and until you go through a “resurrection” in which your body becomes inseparable with your Spirit. The Lord says that when Spirit and Element are inseparably connected, THEN comes a “Fullness of Joy”.
It is also critically important to be aware that the “IT” or the “Natural man” is “an enemy TO God”, as explained by King Benjamin in one the most important sermons ever given to us. And immediately the question comes: “Why is the Natural Man an Enemy to God?” Well, let’s discuss what the Natural Man does and then we might see why he is an Enemy TO God.
The Natural Man is “The Self”, The Ego, The Brain of man, and as Paul said in 1st Corinthians 2:14 “The natural man receives NOT the things of the Spirit”. Alma said, “The natural Man Knoweth NOT the things of God (Alma 26:21). In D&C 67:10-15, the Lord says that “you cannot see God with the Natural Mind”. This points out that the Natural Mind or brain IS the Natural man. The natural man is egotistical, prideful, Self-ish, Self-Centered, Earthly or Carnal, Competitive, Blaming, Contentious, Hard-hearted, Stiff-necked, naturally envious and jealous of others, is scarcity-minded, dependent on the body physical senses or Sensual, and self-seeking. The Natural man seeks for power and gain, lives in past strengths or weaknesses, lives by the physical senses. The Natural Man is devilish in that it is Judgmental of Self and others and in that judgment the Natural Man must be on the good side of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in order to be of worth. The Natural Man is a ladder climber, and has most of life’s focus on ME, ME, ME, and what is MINE. The natural Man is so concerned about self that he is stuck in “what I think I am” and “getting all that I can get” (because my possessions are a direct indicator of my identity, who I “am”) and “how do I look”. For the Natural Man, Position and Possessions and Power and Praise from others is everything!!! However, that is a state contrary to Joy and Love and Peace:
Alma 41: 11 And now, my son, all men that are in a state of nature, or I would say, in a carnal state, are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; they are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness.
Let’s take a look at how Elder Dallin H. Oaks pointed this out as he quoted C.S. Lewis: “C. S. Lewis explained this teaching of the Savior: “The moment you have a self at all, there is a possibility of putting your Self first—wanting to be the center—wanting to be God, in fact. That was the sin of Satan: and that was the sin he taught the human race. Some people think the fall of man had something to do with sex, but that is a mistake. . . . What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come . . . the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.” (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1980), 49; emphasis added)
Continuing this thought Elder Oaks stated: “A selfish person is more interested in pleasing man—especially himself—than in pleasing God. He looks only to his own needs and desires. He walks “in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world” (D&C 1:16). Such a person becomes disconnected from…..God (see D&C 1:15) The values of the world wrongly teach that “it’s all about me.” That corrupting attitude (seeking to perfect and redeem and exalt one’s Self into a “god”) produces no change and no growth. It is contrary to eternal progress toward the destiny God has identified in His great plan for His children. The gospel of Jesus Christ lifts us above our selfish desires”. (Elder Dallin H. Oaks “Unselfish Service” CR April 2009)
What is the result of these natural tendencies? The pre-occupation with “Self” results in a pride that as President Ezra Taft Benson said: “Pride pits my will against God” “Pride makes one an “enemy” to God, and of man”. Pride is the Stumbling block of Zion”.
Pride is the Un-godliness that Moroni talks about in Moroni 10:32 because Godliness is the direct opposite of Pride. Godliness is NEVER about “Self”. It is humble and grateful, and kind, gentle and meek. Godliness is about pure love unfeigned, and focuses on others, and suffers long, and is NOT puffed up, and seeketh not her own. Godliness is the very definition of Charity or the Pure Love of Christ; whereas pride is the very opposite of that. Pride causes us to live in the Gall of Bitterness.
In Alma 5:28, Alma points out that “Except ye are (completely) stripped of pride, ye are not prepared to meet God”. How could one possibly want to meet God with pride, when pride is the very opposite of all that God is, and pride makes me an enemy TO God? (Be careful with that word “Enemy” – the prefix EN means ‘Within”- so the word “Enemy” means “Within me”. God does not see us as His enemy – It is the enemy within me that keeps me from coming TO God in voluntary surrender. Pride is that Natural man ego within us that chooses to fight God and others – which only ever results in contention and fear and hate and war with self and others)
Now, what is the result of Focus on Self and one’s Position and Possessions and Power? The immediate results, as we have all learned by sad experience, is a sort of hellish experience here on earth in which we may have one or many of the following emotions take hold of us and we suffer under these results: Fear, Anger, Contention, Fighting, Separation from others, Hate, Judgment of Self and others, Greed, Stress, Frustration, Worry, Doubt, Depression, Lust, Pride, a feeling of lack or scarcity, Envy of others, Jealousy, haunted by our past, regrets, great worry about our future, bitterness and pain and suffering, a feeling of guilt and dread of the punishment I have coming, or a desire to escape of this suffering through drugs, alcohol, self-centered sex, incessant TV or game watching, failed relationships, inability to communicate with others, a general habit of blaming everything “wrong” on somebody else, and general darkness or desire to force ourselves upon others, either through abuse or by using the Law to force others. All of these various results of SIN, which is clearly defined as “focus on Self, or upon one’s Position and Possessions and Power”. Let me say that again: SIN IS FOCUS ON EGO SELF! Alma told his son Corianton that “Sin will never be happiness”, and Sin will always result in one or more of the above dark states.
These dark states are negative spirits that possess our Natural Man Self, and/or our body/brain. And if we are truthful with ourselves we will all realize that we are all in this hellish dark world to some degree or another. Denial of it does not make it go away. We are all feeling the effects of our Natural Man self and it is a kind of bitterness – the very gall of bitterness.
Most of us are in the grip of the Ego mind of the Natural Man; we are identified with our thoughts and run by our thoughts, our brain, and our mind. If we do not find freedom from our natural man mind, we will be destroyed by IT. We will experience confusion, conflict, violence, illness, despair, foolishness, fear, hate, pride, envy, bitterness and depression. The Ego mind is like a sinking ship; if we don’t get off the ship, we will go down with IT. The Ego mind of humans is the most dangerously insane and destructive entity ever to inhabit this world. And the faster we become aware of that fact, and the choice we all have to turn to the help that is offered, the sooner we will find the rest and fulfillment we all seek (if we are conscious enough to admit it).
The result and effects of living in the Natural Man mind are clearly pointed out by the Prophet Joseph Smith as he said in the King Follett Funeral Discourse: “A sinner has his own mind, and HIS OWN MIND DAMNS HIM. He is damned and man is his OWN tormenter and condemner. Hence the saying: They will go into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. I have no fear of hell fire, THAT DOESN”T EXIST; but the torment OF disappointment IN THE MIND OF MAN is as exquisite as a lake burning with fire and brimstone. So is the torment of man.” DHC 6:302-317
Now, the Lord spoke about this condition of the Natural Man’s mind and tendencies as a bondage upon all of us in D&C 84:49-59 in which He said:
“And the whole world lieth in SIN, and groaneth under darkness and under the bondage of SIN. And by this you may know that (you) are under the Bondage of SIN, because (you) come NOT unto Me. For whoso cometh not unto Me IS under the bondage of SIN. (Am I under the bondage of SIN because I come not unto Him? How do I “come unto Him”?) And whoso “receiveth” not my Voice is NOT acquainted with My Voice, and is NOT of Me. And by this you may know that the whole world groaneth under SIN and Darkness even now (does that mean the whole world or just the world minus me?). And your minds have been darkened because of UN-Belief and because you have treated lightly the things that you have “received”. Which VANITY (Natural Man Pride) and UN-Belief have brought the WHOLE CHURCH under condemnation. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, EVEN ALL! And they shall remain under this condemnation until they REPENT and remember the New Covenant. Otherwise there remaineth a scourge and a judgment to be poured out upon the Children of Zion.”
Now do not think that this was something the Lord said only to the early members of the Church, because President Ezra Taft Benson made it very clear in three conference talks as President and Prophet, that the Lord had made it known to him that the condemnation is still upon the whole church, even all the children of Zion, has never been lifted since the early days of the church and rests even greater now upon all the children of Zion. In fact, President Benson gathered all the Quorum of the 12 into the Temple in a special meeting and told them that the Lord had given him one message to give to the LDS people and that was “the whole church was still under bondage and condemnation for VANITY and UN-Belief and that we would never be released until we study in the Book of Mormon to discover and remember the NEW COVENANT!” He then tied that into his talks about PRIDE being the stumbling block of Zion and of the church, and he pointed out how Zion will NEVER be established by members of the Church, unless we begin to Come unto Christ and a great cleansing takes place in the church (Cleansing the Inner Vessel).
Do you feel that bondage? Do you feel that darkness? If so, do you desire to get out from under it? Do you begin to see that the very definition of SIN is a constant focus on SELF, and Self’s Position and Possessions and Power, and also what the result of focus on Self does to us? Literally, our Natural-man pride causes us to be an Enemy TO God and brings us into a condition of Sin and bondage and condemnation that will result very soon in a scourge and judgment being poured out upon us. It also causes the UN-Belief which is the other part of why we are under the bondage of SIN. Now please understand that Heavenly Father is not saying this to us because He is angry. He is not the Angry-God/Corporate CEO that some people have portrayed Him to be. He is saying this because He loves us and desires with all of His magnificent merciful Being to save us from the bondage of “Self”. How will He do that unless we are willing to accept His offer, for God will not compel us to Re-Ceive His Love?
“For what doth it profit a man if a Gift is given and he “receive” not that Gift? He neither rejoices in the Gift nor in the Giver of the Gift.” D&C 88:33
In Alma 34:34, Amulek, a great teacher of spiritual principles and understanding, taught us that we must not procrastinate our “Re-Pent-ance” from this bondage for he said:
“I beseech you that you do not procrastinate the DAY of your Re-Pent-ance until the end, for then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed. Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will RE-Pent, OR that I will Re-Turn to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same Spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body (Self, Ego, Brain & Body) in that eternal world, even until ye have become subjected to the Spirit of the Devil”. (Notice that he says Re-Pent means “Re-Turn to God)
Now do you see that the fact is that when we are focused on Self, the Natural Man, and our Positions and Possessions, this Self-focus places us into a condition of bondage to that SIN which results in the Evil Spirits of Pride, Hate, Anger, Contention, Judgment, Greed, Worry, Stress, Fear Envy, Frustration, Depression, Lust, etc to possess our bodies and our Natural Man Self? And if these evil spirits continue to possess our bodies and our brains, then we could even progress to a point where the “spirit” of the Devil possesses our bodies and our minds and will run us through the very course of Hell and suffering greater than any of us can imagine. Do you think your bondage is great now? Just continue on the path of Self that you are on now and you will see not only a scourge and judgment (which comes as a natural consequence of our choices), but we will see greater pain and suffering and fear and bitterness and guilt than we have ever imagined; somewhat like Alma the Younger experienced when he said that his pain was so exquisite as to cause him to desire to be destroyed forever.
And let us not attempt to blame this condition on someone else – only when we take responsibility for what we are being, can we begin to step out of the Natural man condition – through the Atonement of Christ. Consider this loving counsel from the Prophet Joseph Smith:
“Do not BLAME Satan for the evils you do. The devil could not compel man to do evil; all is voluntary. God will not exert any compulsory means, and the devil could not. Man (the creature) is subject to vanity (Ego pride); all are subject to vanity while they travel through (life). Where is the man who is free from vanity? None ever were perfect, but Jesus, and why was He perfect? Because He was the Son of God and had a fullness of THE SPIRIT! (He was meek and Lowly of Heart which brings the Spirit – see Mormon 8)” TPJS pg.
A great reformer who lived in France over 300 years ago said it this way: Weakness is very painful, but also very useful. While any self-love remains, you are afraid that it will be discovered. As long as the least bit of self-love remains in the secret parts of your heart, God will hunt it down, and, by some infinitely merciful blow, force your selfishness and jealousy out of hiding. The poison then becomes the cure. Self-love, exposed to the light, sees itself in horror. The flattering lifelong illusions you have held of your self are forced to die. God lets you see who you really worship: yourself. -- Francois Fenelon (1651-1715, France)
Now let’s establish several facts shall we?
The Natural Man is an Enemy TO God.
The Natural Man is what we consider our “Self”.
The Natural Man is part of our existence here on earth that we must deal with and learn enough about to see what the Natural Man does to us in terms of pain and suffering and fear and physical and emotional havoc.
The Natural Man is carnal, Sensual, and Devil-ish, and cannot know anything of the Spirit.
The very definition of Sin is: Focus on “Self”.
Sin (or focus on Self) is a bondage which keeps us from God and results in a condition of being possessed by the evil or negative spirits of Fear, Hell on earth, Self-ish-ness, Greed, pride, anger, contention, judgment of others, contention, Fear, lust, envy and depression, etc.
These Negative Spirits that possess us are what Amulek was saying possess us in this life and have the power to possess us in the next world unless we NOT procrastinate our Re-Pent-ance. In fact, if we continue to NOT Re-Pent, then all the “Evil” Spirits of the Devil, which is the true understanding of what D-Evil is, those Painful Negative Spirits will possess us in the next world.
That bondage of Sin occurs because we will not come unto Christ and hear His Voice.
That bondage of SIN is the Gall of Bitterness, and is a brick wall that keeps us in bondage to our Positions and Possessions and “Power” and all of the darkness that the D-evil would like to have us possessed by in order to make us miserable like he is.
That there is another part of us which is Eternal, and is the Real Me and is part of God or called the Spirit of Truth that has existed since the beginning of time with God. This is called our Spirit or Soul or our Heart.
Now has it occurred to you that the way out of this bondage is NOT to focus on Self and Self’s Sins, having the idea of fixing one’s own problems? The result of working on one’s own Sins (which means working on the ego Self), would be the perpetuation of those Sins, which are caused by focusing on Self! What ever you focus on grows larger and is increased or magnified – that is an eternal principle. It is a never-ending cycle. Focus on Self is a sadistic destructive suicide of Self, and will always be met by the Self’s egotistic desire to survive at all costs. And the survival of the Self will result in the destruction of everyone around us. The fixing of the Self by focusing on the Self is the very definition of Insanity! Can the cause of a problem fix itself by using the cause as the fix?
Now we have been talking about “not procrastinating our Re-Pent-ance until the end”, but part of our problem is found in the fact that we “would-be Saints” have a pre-conceived notion of what Re-Pent-ance is, which pre-conceived notion is based upon the traditions of the fathers (which is what that wicked one uses to take away light and truth from us – see D&C 93:39).
If we consult the LDS Bible Dictionary, we discover that to Re-Pent has a lot to do with “turning ourselves”, and in particular “turning ourselves back again to God”. Now if we are turning ourselves back again to God, then we must have been turned away from God; in other words, looking at something or someone else besides God. And in most cases, the nature of our SIN, as I have pointed out, is because of looking at “SELF”, and the Positions and Possessions and Power of “SELF”. So to Re-Pent must mean to take focus off of SELF and SELF’s things, and turn back again to focus on God (or on our Saviour). Take special note that the word Re-Pent-ance has three syllables and all three are important to understanding the nature of Re Pent ance. Firstly, that “RE” has to do with “over again”, “a second time”, “do it again”. Then the word “Pent”, which in this instance means ‘turn back”, but in a deeper spiritual level means “five”. Then the last syllable “ance” has to do with “being in the condition of” whatever came before the “ance.” So “Re-Pent-ance” is a noun meaning: “being in the condition of turning back again or Re-Turn to God”; whereas to Re-Pent is a verb meaning to “Turn back again”.
Now it is important to understand that in the issue of our focus or attention, the choice is always ours to make. We always (even if we were locked up in solitary confinement) have the choice of what we focus on or give our attention to. And the choices that we make in what we focus on will be based upon our perspective or outlook of what we want to control us in life. We can have our egotistical Natural man and it’s endless array of wants and self-ish desires and pride control us; or we can choose to submit and surrender to God’s will as King Benjamin suggested we might do if we really desire to “Put off the Natural Man”. Remember what King Benjamin said:
“The Natural Man is an enemy TO God, has been from the fall of Adam, and will be forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit (in him), and putteth off the natural man, and becometh a saint (sanctified one) THROUGH THE AT-ONE-MENT OF CHRIST THE LORD, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to ALL things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his Father.” Mosiah 3:19
Another way of saying that we have our choice is what Nephi said in 2 Nephi 2:27 wherein he pointed out:
“Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and ALL things are given (gifted) them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose Liberty and Eternal Life, THROUGH THE GREAT MEDIATOR OF MEN, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himSelf.”
Now you will note that we are always free to choose, no matter what condition we find ourselves in, because it is a matter of focus and attention, not a matter of having the right job and sufficient amount of possessions, and the right spouse and being in the right club or church. We are ALWAYS FREE to choose Liberty and Eternal Life based upon what we choose to focus on with our heart. And please understand that our natural man brain does not naturally choose to focus on the things of God, but rather upon the things of SELF. In fact, the tendency for the ego brain towards survival of itself is so strong that it will do almost anything to avoid the surrender of itself to God or to any other focus other than SELF. The EGO is so strong as to fight to the death to maintain it’s identity or existence, and therefore would not naturally yield unto God, which is why Re-Pent-ance is so hard for the Natural Man – it is like giving up or allowing the destruction of SELF in order to focus on God. But sooner or later, we will all come to this realization, that “sanctification cometh by yielding the Heart unto God” Helaman 3:35
Now just before King Benjamin said this, he told his people and us that:
“…salvation can come unto the children of men, ONLY IN, and through, the NAME of Christ, and men drink damnation to their own souls (let’s stop blaming damnation on God by realizing that we block ourselves from getting to God) except they humble themselves and become as little children, and believe that SALVATION WAS, AND IS, AND IS TO COME, IN AND THROUGH the ATONING BLOOD OF CHRIST, the Lord Omnipotent.”
Now the point of all of this is that we get to choose Salvation and Liberty and Eternal Life as a Gift of magnanimous proportions from our Savior, or we get to damn ourselves to the evil negative spirits of pain and fear and suffering and pride and judgment and frustration and lust and Self-ish-ness and depression and “the world”, which all comes upon us to possess us when we choose to focus upon the egotistical Natural Man SELF!
Please also note that King Benjamin did not say that we put off the natural man by our SELF – he said it is done “THROUGH THE ATONEMENT OF CHRIST”! Look unto ME in ALL things! It is a Gift from Him!
This brings us to the understanding of what the result of yielding, or Re-Pent-ing or “turning back to focus on God” does.
“The Gate of Heaven is open to ALL…who believe on the Name of Jesus Christ, The Son of God” (Hel.3:28) “Sanctification cometh by yielding your “SELF” unto God” Helaman 3:27-35 Just give your Natural Man Self, with all your negative evil Spirits that possess you, to your Saviour – He will burn that dross out, and then the baggage you have been carrying all your life will disappear.
What is the result of turning to complete focus on God instead of Self? First of all, the Natural Man is “put off” through the Atonement of Christ. Putting off the Natural Man cannot be done by Self, because Self will never put off the Self. I repeat: SELF will NEVER be put off by SELF!!! It must be put off by Christ – He is the only One who can do it.
“The right way is to Believe in Christ and deny Him not. And behold, I say unto you again that the right way is to believe in Christ and deny Him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down and worship Him with all your might, mind and strength, and your whole Soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out.” Wherefore, we speak concerning the law that our children may know the DEADNESS of the law; and they, by knowing the DEADNESS of the law, may look forward unto that Life which is in Christ, and know for what end the Law was given. And after the law is fulfilled in Christ, that they need not harden their hearts against Him when the Law ought to be done away.” 2 Nephi 25:27-29
The point of this instruction by Nephi shows that the Law cannot ever save or heal or perfect or justify or sanctify us. Our concentration on the Law and how we are focused on using the Law to perfect “Me” and exalt “Me” is NOT the “Right Way”. The Law, said Paul, was to make us all guilty, so that in our humility we would Re-Turn to Christ for our salvation. And the “Right Way” is to look to Christ, not to the law, for our Salvation and Eternal Life.
Now secondly, when we focus on God and turn to Him completely and surrender to Him, then we
begin to be possessed by the Spirit of God, which is Love and Light. God is Love and Light, and to be possessed by Him is to be possessed of all that He is. For example, to be possessed of God is to be possessed by Love, and Peace, and Joy, and Forgiveness and Mercy and Grace, and Kindness, and Gentleness, and Humility and by Meekness, and by His Sanctifying Power, and by His Righteousness. We are possessed by His Spirit. When you think of His Spirit, begin to think of all the things that the Spirit of God is – your soul begins to break forth into that Light and Love and Oneness with Him. You actually receive a “New Life” or a “New Heart”. This is the meaning of “Re-birth” or being “Born of God”. It comes as a Gift, and only a Gift – you do not earn it, you do not qualify for it. You do not possess it, it possesses you! You step into a celestial world of Joy and Love and Abundance and Godliness and Heaven, which could be aptly described as “Zion”.
Now I ask you, would you rather be possessed by the Spirit of God and all that it offers to you, or would you rather be possessed by Darkness, Fear, Pride, SELF-ish-ness, Hate, Judgment, Depression, The World, Contention, Anger, and the Gall of Bitterness? The choice is yours!!! When should you make the choice? NOW!!! When can you step out of the painful bitter Natural Man? NOW!!! Right this second! And that is because now you are aware of what has been killing you. “The Letter of the Law killeth, but the Spirit giveth Life.”
Now let us summarize what we have just said to our gladness and understanding: 1. To Re-Pent means to “Turn to focus on God”, instead of our constant focus on Self.
2. When we Focus on God, we are “Yielding” and “receiving” all that He has offered us.
3. He puts off the Natural Man & all of “IT’s” baggage that we have been burdened with all of our lives.
4. Through the At-One-ment of Christ, the Gate of Heaven is OPEN to all who believe in His awesome power to Re-deem us, to Perfect us, to Exalt us, to Sanctify us, and to Endow upon us the Gift of Eternal Life. “En” means within, and "dow" means to gift or extend or place. En-dow means to place within.
5. What happens to the Evil Spirits that have possessed us? They just disappear, because in the words of Neal A. Maxwell: “Jesus has already overcome ALL Things”. That means all the contention, all the fear, all the anger, and the hurts, all the Pride, all the suffering, all the Hell is just gone; not because the Self eliminated it, but because He did. And I, the eternal Soul, ‘”received the gift”.
6. “Perfect Love casts out ALL Fear” 1 John 4:18 & Moroni 8:16
7. We can choose to be no longer under the Bondage of Sin (SELF).
8. We can Come unto Jesus, and yield our “SELF” to His constant beckoning voice of Love and clarity, and come into His Joy and His Peace (which incidentally, the world knows nothing of His Peace).
9. We can be Re-Born into His Love, His Righteousness, His Glory, His Zion, His Heaven.
10. When we are Re-Born of God, we find that our Body (elements) and our Spirit (our heart) are re-united and are inseparably connected, and we are no longer at war between our two parts, and we are granted a “fullness of Joy”. This is what Paul refers to in Hebrews of “entering into His rest”. Or Mormon calls it “entering into His Rest from this time henceforth”, which “Rest” is the Fulness of His Glory. What greater Rest and Joy can be had than basking in His Light and His Love and Glory.
11. We cannot “enter into His Rest”, as Paul says, unless we believe in His power to bring us into His Rest. We choose to enter His Rest as we choose to focus on Him and have faith in Christ.
Let us now underscore these points by quoting Elder Neal A. Maxwell:
“ONLY to the extent that we put off the natural man can we abide (RE-CEIVE) the Presence of God and “see” God. (D&C 67:10-12) Likewise, ONLY when we put off the natural man and become saints (through the Atonement of Christ) can we then have access to (Re-Ceive) the “Powers of Heaven” and handle them properly. No longer would we then (attempt) to use Power and “Authority” to “cover our sin” (Self) or to “Gratify our Pride (EGO), or our “Vain Ambition”. No longer would we “exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in ANY degree of unrighteousness.” D&C 121:3 Rather, having so responded to the “enticings of the Spirit”, we would find that “The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and “WITHOUT COMPULSORY MEANS IT (the Holy Ghost) SHALL FLOW UNTO THEE FOREVER AND EVER.” (D&C 121:46) ONLY as we become partakers (Re-Ceive) of the Divine Nature (instead of SELF nature) are we qualified to be Partakers (Re-Ceive) of “Divine Power”. (Notwithstanding My Weakness, Pg. 73-76)
Now do we, at that point, have no darkness, and no sin and no weaknesses, and no frailties, and no pain and no hurts caused by our Self choices in relationship experiences with others in our lives? No, but those things do not have to possess us any more because we have the choice to “turn to Him”, and “turn to Him”, and “turn to Him”, and bask in the Light of His love and peace. On the other hand, we do have the choice to slide back down into the “Self” and our focus on “poor me”, and make up stories about how someone else hurt me and blame others for my own Self-imposed suffering, and focusing on the cares and positions and possessions and “power” of this telestial World. It is always our choice to choose liberty and Eternal Life through the Atonement of Christ, or to choose death and captivity through the power of those evil negative spirits that we each choose to possess us. But now that we are aware that there is another choice which we can make, we realize that we do not have to remain in darkness caused by our Self and our Positions and Possessions. I highly recommend that you “Seek this Jesus of which I have spoken” – He is our way out of bondage! The burden is taken off our shoulders, the yoke is (removed) from our neck, the Yoke is destroyed (removed) because of the Anointing (of the Holy Spirit) 2 Nephi 20:27, Isaiah 10:27.
“For THIS is Life Eternal to KNOW the Only true God, Jesus Christ whom He has sent.” (John 17:3, D&C 132:24) And as Peter said in 2 Peter 1:1-4: “ALL things pertaining to (Eternal) Life and Godliness are given (gifted) through the Knowledge of Him.”