What is meant by doing things in the ways of the flesh? If you are looking for approval, acceptance, promotion, appreciation from your good works, or anything that motivates you other than because you love Jesus or because you love the people you may be serving, or because you love to give and have a generous spirit, then that is pure flesh. The Scripture states, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love”
We are talking here about God’s love expressing itself through us, with no other motivation. Therefore, He gets all the glory and honor because it is His love we are giving away. It is a complete renewal of the mind, a mindset coming to the realization that Christ is living His life in and through us. Whatever our motivation is other than this, is absolutely and totally the ways of the flesh.
The flesh will sing in the choir, teach Sunday School, preside at elder meetings, preach from the pulpit, go to Bible college, volunteer for the mission field, and a thousand other things. The flesh will seek to cause every Christian to live by their own strength instead of by the power and grace of the Lord Jesus, and to conclude that doing so is actually a good thing.
Now here this, God does not honor men and women for the ways of the flesh. The Father in heaven delights in honoring His Son. It is only the life of the Lord Jesus (His activity, clothed with you and displayed through you) that ultimately will find the approval of God. The Word of God tells us, “Whatever you do, no matter what it is in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God, the Father through Him.” (See Colossians 3:17)
You can try to steer clear of sin. Try to avoid temptation. Refuse to steal, lie, or use drugs or alcohol. You can indeed try to be sinless. But that is still you! And you are still trying. Jesus Christ was not holy because He focused His efforts on avoiding sin. Instead, He refused to allow there to be any possible explanation for the quality of His life, other than God the Father living in and through Him. Jesus said: “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing His work.” (John 14:10)
LIFE LESSON: “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own: you were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with your body…Be transformed by the renewing of your mind…It is no longer you who lives, but Christ who lives in you.” So who do you want living the Christian life; more of you, or all of Jesus? Remember the mystery revealed in Colossians 1:27: “Christ lives in you, the hope of glory.” So watch out for the ways of the flesh!
Alert! We are excited to share with you, hot off the printing press the “Five Christian Life Alerts”. They are 5 simple truths filled with knowledge to enhance your Christian life. Wisdom is applied knowledge. You’ve been alerted.
Thank you for your prayers and faithfulness to this ministry.
Growing in His Grace