Thursday, May 5, 2011

"No Confidence In the Flesh"

Many years ago, I heard a man say, "You can't buy me! I won't compromise!"

You can guess what happened. He was bought. He compromised. He spent his entire life seeking fame, power and the trappings thereof. To a large degree, he got what he was looking for. But God clearly sent leanness unto his soul.

"In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride" (Proverbs 14:3).

Anyone who believes that they cannot fall perches himself on a crumbling precipice. The Apostle Paul himself revealed his understanding that it was not guaranteed he would finish his course of faithfulness. "I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway" (I Corinthians 9:27). He also confessed to the Romans, "In my flesh dwelleth no good thing" (Romans 7:18). Notwithstanding the presence of Christ in our spirits, the potential for a fall always exists in born again believers. No Christian is above temptation, and we can be sure that grave deception has overtaken us if ever we fancy ourselves beyond the possibility of compromise.

This is in no way meant to discourage, but rather to encourage. Rather than trust in our own faithfulness, the possibility of unfaithfulness presses us to look to the One of whom Jude declared, "Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen" (Jude 1:24-25). We no less require the dynamic involvement and action of the Lord Jesus Christ on our behalf for a life of faithfulness than we did for our new birth. "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him" (Colossians 2:6). Understanding this truth and humbly submitting ourselves to the faithfulness of God rather than the delusion of our own fidelity makes far more likely our walk in genuine holiness.

Believers should have much confidence in God's promised working in us "both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). We should, however, "have no confidence in the flesh" (Philippians 2:13). Such an attitude and its subsequent fruit will lead not to the boast of "I won't compromise!" but rather to the Psalmist's acknowledgment of "It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect" (Psalm 18:32). There is a vast difference in these sensibilities, a difference that will go far in determining whether a lifetime of genuine faithfulness characterizes our walk with God.

"Without Me ye can do nothing... I can do all things through Christ which strengtheth me."
(John 15:5; Philippians 4:13)

No comments: