Friday, January 7, 2011

Flesh? We don't need no stinkin flesh!

Philippians 3: 1 Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. 2 Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence.

If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Watch out for the dogs. When I see this verse I just see some goth person standing there all black and a billion piercings with their ear lobes stretched like an African. Sitting there cutting their flesh with a shiny razor. But you know who this is talking about? People of the flesh. This could be a name it claim it preacher preaching prosperity. It could also be a mainline church preacher who has burned out and is just doing the job of preacher. See, we don't have much of a problem identifying the wiccans or mormons or the muslims as wrong teachers or of the flesh doing evil. But what about us? How much flesh do we have in us? What about everything we've built and done? Paul has a word for all that...

"I consider them garbage". Such harsh words for the stuff of our life. I cringed in offense every time I had heard this spoken. But I've worked so hard for this stuff. I don't have garbage, I've got things. Without these things I couldn't be where I am today. I hear it all the time. Standing there looking into the mirror, telling myself how much better I am because we're not in debt. Thinking that one day too, I'll have bigger, better stuff. Sure we've been sacrificing but only because we want all those things too, but already paid for. Is that really how to live? Don't get me wrong, because I'm a huge Dave Ramsey fan, but really? Live like noone else so you can one day live like noone else? What a great line. The problem is that we're sacrificing now for riches later. We're not sacrificing because we consider the stuff garbage. Actually it's the opposite, it's the god.
Want to move up in gods? Save up or go on out and buy yourself a motor home or boat. Next thing you know you'll be out there preparing your god for service. One of the first things you'll notice is what David noticed.

2Samuel 7:
1 After the king was settled in his palace and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies around him, 2 he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.”

So you'll build a nice shop or shelter for your god to protect it from the elements. Everywhere you go you can see these large garage type shelters just for motor homes or boats. But now comes the fun part. See, these types of gods aren't cheap. So you've got to work at a minimum 5 days a week to either replace your bank account or to just pay the minimum payment. Now you're down to two days you can enjoy actually using the god that you worked all week to afford. The only problem is that one of those days is the Lord's, you know the true God? Who do you think gets the boot? Not the god, but the God.

Now you probably think I'm anti motor home or boat, but that's wrong. My fleshly side would LOVE a nice big ski boat. I'd love nothing more than to be out on the water with the kids and my wife. But I can tell you that what I just said wasn't true. There is something I'd love more to do and that's be in the house of God on Sunday morning and most of the day. See, every time I drive by a boat and think... boy I'd sure love me one of those. I ask Charity... "want to buy a boat?" And she and I both say... "sure, we can give up Church and ride the lake on Sunday." But you know, it's not just those things. Maybe it's season tickets to the Falcons games. The other day Camden asked why we never went to a pro football game. I told him it's because they're on Sunday and we're not going to miss church to see a stupid game.

So, wow Doc you've really got it going on right? ummm NO! So I sacrifice some to be in church with the Lord, but that's a whole 1/7 of my days and even then that's not even a full 1 on the fraction. As I draw closer to the Lord I can see why Paul calls this all garbage though. Why? Because it distracts us from loving the Lord with all our hearts. It keeps us out of the word. It quenches the Holy Spirit. I want the Lord. I want his Word. I want his comfort. I want to resist my flesh. I want to forget this world.

Now I'm going to say something controversial but it needs to be said because we're dealing with the flesh and this world. How much of the church (all the church including ours too) is of the flesh and the world? I've heard the quote a lot lately and it's one from Falwell I think but it has to do with God's house should be bigger and better than everything else. Yes, that's a paraphrase and my memory isn't what it used to be so I may have gotten it wrong so just put the right quote in it. It really sounds great right? God's house should be the best. We should have the state of the art facilities that would make the government envious. We've got to build this or that and it has to be millions and millions of dollars. Really?

How much of this is our flesh talking? Jesus went to an old rugged cross. His cross wasn't overlaid in gold. He didn't build a huge estate just outside the Jerusalem city limits to avoid the millionaire taxes. In fact digest this:

Luke 9:
58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

Jesus didn't even have a house. How did his ministry turn out? We've got to build buildings to reach people? Tell me then, where was Paul's home church and how much was their budget? Didn't he reach a few for Christ? Seriously, how much of this is flesh? How much are we really depending on the Word of God? How much flesh are we denying? When Jesus comes back will he look at all the church's acquisitions and shake his head because we forgot to acquire Jesus himself? We just have to be very careful what we're doing. No, I'm not accusing our church leaders of anything but warning. It's easy to get caught up in becoming the church and not becoming the Body (of Christ). We have to be careful that we don't become a corporate structure hell bent on growing and maintaining that we forget that we personally need to maintain the Holy Spirit and walk with the Lord EVERYDAY.

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead which is Jesus Christ. Flesh be damned, I hate the flesh. One of the greatest achievements of my life will be when my soul goes on to Heaven and my flesh meets it's ultimate doom. I've grown to hate this world and satan's wiley ways. I so look forward to Jesus' triumphant return and the building of new Jerusalem. I can't wait to see his robe dipped in blood with the name KING OF KINGS, LORD OF LORDS on it. I cheer right now just at the image of the beast being thrown into the bottomless pit. I'm humbled at the brightness of God's holiness, radiating out. We must constantly work harder and harder to deny our flesh. It's a liar who is within who wants to cheat you out of your rightful possession of Jesus Christ. He died for you and has his rightful place at the right hand of God the Father. He's waiting on your sacrifice of the flesh and devotion to him in your heart. He's waiting on you to make the decision for him. He's waiting for when the flesh says, once more... You'll say, NEVER AGAIN!

No comments:

Post a Comment