man staring out the window

The Enemy of Your Soul

The natural man is an enemy to God, but society would tell us otherwise. Only through Jesus Christ can we control the part of ourselves that separates us from God.

Society teaches us to indulge and enjoy, to live out the mantra “YOLO” (you only live once). We are encouraged to minimize the consequences of our decisions and even to ignore the repercussions of our actions. This shortsighted thinking is derived from the natural man.

man going up steps, with the text: The spiritual man overcomes... the inability to perceive spiritual realities, pride, overly competitive and externally driven feelings, and the harsh and crude. - Robert L. Millet

What is the natural man?
All of us can trace our mortal history back to the Fall of Adam and Eve. When Adam and Eve transgressed, they became mortal and were no longer allowed to live in the presence of the Lord. In the process of becoming mortal, Adam and Eve also became inclined to give in to “passions, desires, appetites, and senses of the flesh rather than . . . [to] the promptings of the Holy Spirit.” We, too, are subject to these effects of the Fall. In each of us is the natural man, which “is an enemy to God.”

In an Ensign article, Robert L. Millet helps us recognize the natural man within us and learn how to overcome—or “put off”—those tendencies.

How can we put off the natural man?
Brother Millet explains that the natural man is

    • unable or unwilling to perceive spiritual realities,
    • proud,
    • overly competitive and externally driven, and
    • inclined to yield himself to the harsh and the crude.

We can’t put off the natural man just by hoping a change will occur. Brother Millet teaches that only through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ are we able to adjust our attitudes, behaviors, and thoughts to be more spiritual.

In the Ensign or in the Liahona, read Robert L. Millet’s article about how to put off the natural man.

Sources: Ensign and Liahona
—Allen Warner, Mormon Insights

Find more insights

To read more about putting off the natural man, see or read “Ye Must Be Born Again,” by Elder David A. Bednar.

For further information on the effects of the natural man, see “Put Off the Natural Man, and Come Off Conqueror,” by Elder Neal A. Maxwell.

Photo courtesy of Norman Tan

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One Comment

  1. I’ve always loved millet’s pieces. I know that we were not born naturally evil—we were born as divine spirit children of god. we become natural through this earth life. i love how we can explore our human existence and learn from each other how to overcome the physical and become more spiritual.

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