Scripture declares that human beings are not naturally self-destructive, but rather self-nurturing and cherishing.
"No man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it" (Ephesians 5:29).
Why then do we see so many do so much obvious harm to themselves? The answer lies in the truth of influences outside ourselves that seek our hurt.
"Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour… We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, againts the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (I Peter 5:8; Ephesians 6:12).
When we see in ourselves or in others the tendency to think, speak, act, or relate in a manner that clearly jeopardizes our well being, we can know that the source of such foolhardiness originates not in our own desire for self-destruction, but rather in devilish and worldly entities who desire our spiritual, moral, relational, and physical ruin. Again, "no man ever yet hated his own flesh." Of course, we are fully responsible when by our own hand and devices, we hurt ourselves. The notion of self-destruction is valid in the sense that human beings participate in accomplishing our own hurt if through unbelief and lack of submission to God, we "give place to the devil" (Ephesians 4:27). In most cases, we do not know that we are responding to malevolent spiritual influences. The truth remains, however, because no race of beings that by nature "nourishes and cherishes" itself can seek its own harm apart from sources outside ourselves bent upon our demise. Our natural tendency toward self-benefit and preservation precludes such personal inclination toward our own destruction.
Somebody hates the human race with a malevolence beyond our awareness and understanding. He and his minions prey upon our weakness and blindness caused by the sin with which he originally tempted our original forebears. We must open our eyes to this reality as we seek to overcome destructive tendencies in ourselves, or help others to avoid pits dug by devils. Remembrance of this truth should get our spiritual dander up, as it were, whenever we see supposed "self destruction." The term is a misnomer, although valid in the sense that we choose whether or not to respond to our enemy's allure to act and react in ways that lead to personal harm. Somebody is trying to hurt you and me, and all others of the human race he so terribly despises. Let us open our eyes to the ongoing assault and attempt to devour, committing ourselves to the One who seeks our best interests and well being, and who can save us from the "self destruction" that actually originates outside ourselves.
"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
Weekly Memory Verse
Godliness with contentment is great gain.
(I Timothy 6:6)