Friday, December 15, 2006

No Longer Flesh Bags, Pt. 4

(This is part four of a series, “No Longer Flesh Bags.” Below, we continue from last week…)

Luther Price wrote: “Be what you is, not what you ain’t; ‘cause if you ain’t what you is, you is what you ain’t.” In other words if you believe you are something (the flesh) when, in fact, you are not, the life you live will be a false one. You won’t live as you really are and have become because you’ll believe you’re something else; you’ll live as you ain’t.

This is why we must not implore Christians to surrender, but rather encourage them to believe. While it’s true that we have flesh, that isn’t us, not anymore, neither does the flesh surrender to God’s commands. Paul wrote that the fleshly mind “is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. (Rom 8:7-9 NAS, italics mine.) Now that you have been reborn and belong to God, “you are not in the flesh”! You’re no longer found there! You’re “in the Spirit”! And you’re of the Spirit!

This is why, falsely identifying ourselves, whenever we implore ourselves to surrender, we add fuel to the false fight! If I believe that part of me which seems stubborn and reluctant to offer itself to God is me, then I’ve believed the flesh is me and I’ll see to command its surrender. Yikes! No wonder we can never seem to do it.

“Now, look here, flesh – I’m serious! I’ve had it with you and your terrible rule in my life, so I’m ordering you to cease your efforts immediately. You must no longer produce all that lousy, ugly stuff you’ve long pumped into my life – no more of that! Further, you must submit to daily prayer and Bible reading and like it! You hear me?! Surrender! I mean it!”

Twisted in my belief, I will invariably be twisted in my efforts. The way out of the twist is to live by faith and rightly identify the monster. Paul said that if he sinned, it was not him sinning; who was it? The monster! The flesh, through Paul! That which Paul used to be, but was no longer, ever since he had been remade and given life.

The following describes our hope:

11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.
12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh--
13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
(Rom 8:11-14 NAS, italics mine.)

You’re no monster – you’re a son! And you have the Spirit of God, and you have life. Because this is so, you may now happily put to death the ugly and awful deeds of the flesh.

When sin is evident in my life it isn’t the evidence that I am still seriously sinister, nor is it what I truly want to do. Sin is now a fleshly compulsion through the mental and emotional faculties of my body to harken back to empty days of long ago by rejecting dependence upon God in order to do something else. Empty stumblings.

Now, what do we do with this? If I offend you, I’ll say something like, “I’m sorry I did that to you…” But, I’ll know from where it came. If I don’t apologize to you, owning the offense, I’m irresponsible and our relationship will be impaired. After all, the behavior came through me – I’m responsible. However, if I do not accurately identify the producer of the behavior, I’ll be blaming the wrong thing, most likely the devil or me, and I’ll be boxing the air.

But that’s not for you…not anymore. You’re better off than you think.


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