Monday, February 20, 2012

"How Frail I Am"

    We begin our lives completely dependent on others, and under normal circumstances, the loss of our abilities through aging means that we will likely end our lives in the same condition.
    The flesh of humanity nevertheless blusters and boasts of its powers to navigate the course of life despite ever moving toward its destiny of dust.  "I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul" declared the poet's foolish and doomed potentate.  "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!" The inscription carved upon the fallen and decaying statue in the desert recalls the dead, buried and decaying corpse of this pretender to the throne. 
    The murky, subterranean stream from which such poisoned waters flow in the soul of man originates in the ancient lie spoken by the serpent: "Ye shall be as gods" (Genesis 3:5).  Adam and Eve long ago embraced this deception, the latter by deception, the former by willfulness, and thereby cast humanity into the disastrous insanity of self-dependence.  Despite lifelong evidence to the contrary, we thus live with a flesh bent toward pride and the delusion that we made and sustain ourselves.
     Long ago, King David discovered this dark deception in himself, and prayed one of the wisest prayers recorded in Scripture.  "LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am" (Psalm 39:4).  The mighty "man of war," greater than Goliath and countless others who fell by David's stone or sword, realized what far weaker men often fail to ever know about themselves. 
     "In Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28).
     "It is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves" (Psalm 100:3).
     "What hast thou, that thou did not receive?" (I Corinthians 4:7).
     "He giveth to all life and breath and all things" (Acts 17:25).
     "By Him all things consist" (Colossians 1:17).
     "Without Me, ye can do nothing" (John 15:5).
     "What is your life?  It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away" (James 4:14).
     "That which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other" (Ecclesiastes 3:19).
    Another mighty man, the Apostle Paul, also discovered the weakness of his flesh and his inability to produce righteousness and godliness of heart.  We close with his blessed discovery, and the affirmation of the Christ who alone can deliver us from the delusion of independence...
"For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh."
(Philippians 3:3)

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