BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“And now the LORD God Almighty, the God of Israel, asks you: Why are you destroying yourselves? For not one of you will survive – not a man, woman, or child among you who has come here from Judah, not even the babies in your arms” (Jeremiah 44:7 New Living Translation).
Why are you destroying yourselves? That was the question God asked the Israelites, who had escaped to Egypt, after the destruction of Jerusalem, despite Jeremiah’s warning not to go. They got to Egypt, and unfortunately, they continued with idolatry. God said in verse 8, “Why arouse my anger by burning incense to the idols you have made here in Egypt? You will only destroy yourselves and make yourselves an object of cursing and mockery for all the nations of the earth” (New Living Translation). Take note of that phrase: You will only destroy yourselves. Because they wanted to destroy themselves, God said He would destroy them. “Therefore, the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I have made up my mind to destroy every one of you!” (Verse 11 New Living Translation)
Because Pharaoh hardened his heart not to allow the children of Israel to go (Exodus 8:15, 32), God hardened his heart (Exodus 9:12, 10:20, 11:10, 14:8). Because of this, God destroyed the armies of Pharaoh – they perished in the Red Sea (Exodus 14:26-29).
Speaking in Proverbs 8:36, wisdom says: “Those who miss me have injured themselves. All who hate me love death” (New Living Translation). Isaiah 3:8-9 says that Judah and Jerusalem, by their disobedience to God, had brought about their own destruction. You won’t expect people to destroy themselves, but what are the things people do that amount to self-destruction?
Some ways people destroy themselves
1.They live in disobedience to the Word of God. Hosea 4:6a says, “My people will be destroyed, because they have no knowledge” (New Century Version). Rejection of knowledge of what is right and true – God’s commandments – will cause their destruction. Why will anyone reject God’s commandments which, according to 1 John 5:3b, are not burdensome? Keeping God’s commandments is for your own good (Deuteronomy 10:13). You’re not doing God any favour by obeying His Word. It is meant to preserve you.
Disobeying God’s Word is rebellion against God.Hosea 13:13 says, “The people have been offered new birth, but they are like a child who resists being born. How stubborn they are! How foolish!” (New Living Translation) Babies who refuse to come out of the womb jeopardize their own lives and their mothers’ lives. This self-sabotage, can lead to death. Don’t sabotage your own life by rebelling against God; it leads to destruction, because God doesn’t tolerate rebellion (verse16).
Every action has consequences. Everyone or nation destroyed in the Bible was as a result of their self-destructive behavior. God doesn’t wish that anyone should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). But the soul that sins shall die (Ezekiel 18:4) – this is the justice of God.
King Jeroboam of Israel self-destructed by disobeying God and promoting idolatry. He did more evil than all who lived before him (1 Kings 14:7-11). God destroyed him because of this.
King Baasha also self-destructed by rebelling against God, and the consequence followed – he was destroyed together with his family (1 Kings 16:3-4).Don’t rebel against God; don’t self-destruct.
2. They cultivate sinful, destructive habits. This is related to disobedience to the Word of God that I have just discussed. Your habits determine your future. 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits’” (NKJV). These destructive habits are many, affecting the totality of man. Such destructive habits include abuse of the body by engaging in the use of narcotic drugs, alcohol and other addictive substances. Ephesians 5:18 warns, “Don’t destroy yourself by getting drunk, but let the Spirit fill your life” (Contemporary English Version).
Sexual immorality and bad eating habits are also some of the destructive habits people engage in. According to Job, “Lust is a … devastating fire that destroys to hell. It would wipe out everything I own” (Job 31:11-12 New Living Translation). Those who engage in sexual immorality destroy their lives. Proverbs 2:19 says the man who visits the adulterous woman is doomed; he will never reach the paths of life (New Living Translation). The same thing will happen to the woman who allows an adulterous man into her life – she won’t see the paths of life, but the paths of destruction. “Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; he who does so destroys his own soul” (Proverbs 6:32New King James Version). Flee all forms of sexual immorality; don’t destroy your soul.
Your body belongs to God; it’s not for sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:13b). Verses 18 cautions: “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body” (New King James Version). To abuse your body is to self-destruct, because your body is the temple of God, and God frowns at such abuse. The Bible saysif anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).
Other forms of destructive habits are keeping company with the wrong people, wasteful spending, failure to learn from mistakes, excuse-making, pride, self-pity, over-committing self, procrastination, trying to please people, etc. These are negative seeds people sow into their lives; and when they begin to reap the harvest, they turn round and blame God. “People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the LORD” (Proverbs 19:3New Living Translation).
For example, when you see a proud person, it is only a matter of time before he destroys himself. Proverbs16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. It is better to live humbly with the poor than to share plunder with the proud” (New Living Translation). Human beings hate proud people, but the number one enemy of the proud is God. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6; 1Peter 5:5).
What of a wasteful spender? He’ll end up in penury (Luke 15:13-16). To avoid self-destruction, get rid of pride and every other sinful and destructive habit in your life.
3. They reject godly wisdom and counsel, and make wrong choices. They refuse to follow God’s wisdom but promote human wisdom above the wisdom of God. But the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God (1 Corinthians 3:19).
In 1 Kings 12, Rehoboam sabotaged his own reign when he rejected the counsel of the elders who had advised his father, and chose to follow the advice of his age mates. His father, Solomon, was the wisest man that ever lived but Rehoboam didn’t demonstrate that he learnt wisdom from him. He messed up an easy opportunity to continue to preside over a united kingdom.
How many young people have destroyed their lives because they rejected godly counsel and made wrong choices! Proverbs 19:27 warns, “Cease listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge” (New King James Version).
Don’t be wise in your own eyes and end up destroying yourself. Listen to wise counsel. Ecclesiastes 7:16 warns, “Do not be overly righteous, nor be overly wise: Why should you destroy yourself?” (New King James Version) Overly righteous and overly wise there refer to self-righteousness and being wise in your own eyes. Proverbs 3:7-8 says, “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil” (New King James Version).Don’t be foolish, but understand what the will of the LORD is (Ephesians 5:17).
4. They fail to heed divine warnings and stubbornly continue in their own ways. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12, 16:25 New King James Version). God’s warnings always precede God’s punishment. But those who want to destroy themselves don’t repent. Instead of repenting and sparing themselves the negative repercussions, they continue on their wrong journey and ruin their lives.
The people of Nineveh repented when they heard Jonah’s message and God withdrew His hand of judgment against them (Jonah 3:3-10). But about a century later, Nineveh was destroyed because the people fell back into sin. Nahum 3:7b says, “Yet no one anywhere will regret your [Nineveh’s] destruction” (New Living Translation). That was not God’s fault. They destroyed themselves.
To harden one’s heart to divine or godly warning is to invite self-destruction (Zephaniah 3:6-8). Those who fail to heed divine warnings will have themselves to blame for their destruction; their blood shall be on their heads (Ezekiel 33:1-5).
God has sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for the sins of all. But sinners, who fail to heed divine warnings to repent of their sins and give their lives to Jesus, will end up in the lake of fire. Have you given your life to Jesus?
5. They are cruel to others. Cruel people end up destroying themselves. The evil they do against others eventually boomerangs. The principle of sowing and reaping works against them, and the harvest is always more than the seeds sown. Sometimes, the harvest may come long after the seeds have been sown, but it will surely come. “Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel”(Proverbs 11:17New Living Translation).Don’t be cruel to others; don’t destroy yourself.
Judas self-destructed when he went to betray his Master, Jesus, to the conspirators. Eventually, he couldn’t spend the money he collected but hanged himself (Matthew 27:5). Though Jesus was crucified, he resurrected after three days. Hallelujah!
Haman destroyed himself and his family because of his cruelty. The evil he plotted against Mordecai and the Jews backfired on him and his sons. He was consumed together with his sons, by his own wickedness (Esther 9:25).If you plot evil against someone, ultimately you’ll destroy yourself. Regret is always the lamentation of people who do this. “They make trouble, but it backfires on them. They plan violence for others, but it falls on their own heads” (Psalm 7:16 New Living Translation). Proverbs 26:27 says, “If you set a trap for others, you will get caught in it yourself. If you roll a boulder down on others, it will roll back and crush you” (New Living Translation). Don’t be cruel to people; do good to others. Hebrews 13:16 says, “Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have with those in need, for such sacrifices are very pleasing to God” (New Living Translation). Turn away from evil, and do good (1 Peter 3:11a).
6. They use their tongue negatively. Many have destroyed their lives, using their tongues to curse themselves, express their anger, gossip, attack, deceive, etc. James 3:6 says, “And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is full of wickedness that can ruin your whole life. It can turn the entire course of your life into a blazing flame of destruction, for it is set on fire by hell itself” (New Living Translation).
Don’t destroy your life with your tongue. Use your tongue in a wholesome way. Proverbs 6:2 says, “You are snared by the words of your mouth; you are taken by the words of your mouth” (New King James Version). Jesus put it this way: “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:37 New King James Version).
David told the Amalekite, who claimed to have killed Saul, “Your blood is on your own head, for your own mouth has testified against you, saying, ‘I have killed the LORD’s anointed’” (2 Samuel 1:16 New King James Version). His mouth killed him.
A similar thing happened to Rechab and Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite. They stabbed the king of Israel, Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, to death in his house. They brought his head to David at Hebron, telling him the LORD had avenged David of Saul and his descendants (2 Samuel 4:8). But David told them the same thing he told the Amalekite, who had claimed he killed Saul. At David’s command, his young men executed them, cut off their hands and feet, and hung their bodies by the pool in Hebron (verses 9-12). The mouths of these two brothers killed them.
Exercise self-control in the use of your tongue. In his charge to Timothy, Paul says everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). He adds in verse 13, “But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will go on deceiving others, and they themselves will be deceived” (New Living Translation). If you deceive others, you’re actually preparing the ground for you to be deceived and destroyed.
Tame your tongue so that it doesn’t destroy you. Psalm 52:2 talks about the tongue that devises destruction, like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. But Proverbs 15:4 says, “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit” (New King James Version).
James 1:26 says, “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are just fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless” (New Living Translation). Spiritual maturity is demonstrated by your ability to control your tongue, not in your ability to talk much! “We all make many mistakes, but those who control their tongues can also control themselves in every other way” (James 3:2 New Living Translation). Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry (James 1:19).
Conclusion: Don’t self-destruct by living in disobedience to the Word of God. Avoid sinful, destructive habits and don’t reject godly wisdom and counsel. Heed divine warnings. Don’t be cruel to others and don’t use your tongue negatively. You will not destroy yourself in Jesus’ name.
If you are not born again, I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I confess my sins and repent today. Forgive me Lord. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and my Lord and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching church in your area where you will be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. May the Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523 WhatsApp No: +2349081295947 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org,
email@example.com Website: www.cedarministry.org