In Scripture the term “flesh” has two meanings: 1) the physical body; 2) the mere human nature, the earthly nature of man apart from divine influence, and therefore prone to sin and opposed to God. The prior term is the Hebrew word bä·sär' and is found only in the OT, which never refers to the nature of man’s spirit and soul but only that of the physical body, for the physical body itself is never referred to as sinful but is only used sinfully. The latter term is the Greek word sarx’ and is only found in the NT, which in the epistles nearly always refers to the nature of man’s spirit and soul. Once this is understood by the believer, identification can be made of the old man (sin nature) and its activities, from which the majority of our trials will derive, and by which our faith will be most exercised thereby.
Scripture may appear to teach that one who is saved can enter in and out of a salvific condition according to how one lives, but it rather teaches that one lives according to the nature of one’s spirit and soul! I believe it needs to be understood that the description of what one lives after, will concern that which one does the most. Paul revealed that all either live after the sin nature (flesh), or they live after the Spirit, which establishes the impossibility of living after both (Rom 8:5; also Mat 7:18; Jas 3:11). Hence, a soul’s condition (saved or unsaved) will be indicated (not necessarily confirmed) by what they do the most, e.g. “the tree is known by his fruit” (Mat 12:33).
Center to Circumference
The proof of the real value and force of life—the life of the Lord Jesus in us—is the way and manner in which it resists the opposition of the flesh; and not only how it resists, but how it manifests and expresses itself (the ways of the new nature displayed—NC) in the place of that which it has resisted.
I have a new nature, its source and standard is the Lord Jesus Christ (Col 3:10 – which is the goal of the new covenant to make souls one with each other and God—NC); He is my “Life” (Col 3:4), and the only measure for my walk. The Spirit of Christ is the power to enable me to act according to my new life and nature. Now if I were in heaven (physically—NC) there would be no check to this new nature (testing not necessary there—NC); there would be perennial sunshine and everlasting verdure. But here, on the contrary, everything is adverse to it, because the flesh “is enmity against God” (Rom 8:7; Gal 5:17), and this is in myself and in everyone around me.
I am here like a diver in a diving bell. Everything around me, the very element I am swelling in, is disastrous to me unless I can resist it (keep from desiring it, which ability comes from God via the new nature—NC). I must not only resist it, but I must express an action in it (Rom 6:13, 19, 22), quite new and unknown to that which opposes me (self, Satan and society—NC). It is not enough for the diver to exist under water, but he must also act there.
A saint now has not only the know that he is safe in Christ (continuously without ceasing, regardless of all things within and without—NC), that his life is hid in Him and that he is at home with Him above (not only in position but presently in permanent physical union via the Spirit—NC), but he is set here to show forth the virtues of Him who has called him “out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1Pe 2:9). Hence everything of the flesh in himself, and in everyone with whom he comes into contact becomes a trying of his grace (“trying, i.e. exercising; the believer is not tested or tried for pass or fail but is only exercising faith, which grows in the using of it”—NC).
If he meets flesh with flesh he is vanquished (e.g. faith unsuccessfully exercised—NC); if he overcomes it the Lord Jesus is glorified. There may be great or little foes, but whatever they be, they are the enemies to whom we are not to yield. Each of us has his own foes to resist, and not only to resist but to manifest in place of and in contrast to that which he has resisted, the way and manner of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, the first opposition you meet is in yourself, and then in everybody else; it is the force of the flesh. You are called to repel it (“put off”), and if you cannot repel that force, you can repel none (all believers are enabled to put off the old man via the Spirit using the new nature—NC). Hence, private life is the beginning of the campaign. If you cannot run with the footmen, what will you do with the horsemen? The contrarieties begin at home, or more properly they begin first within. If you cannot resist them in the inner circle (old self—NC), how can you face the outer one (old man in others, and Satan—NC)?
But they are to be resisted, and they are the force which you are called on to resist, and instead set the Lord Jesus on the ground which they once occupied. If you complain of your foes, wither the inward or the outward ones, your strength is less than theirs (no need to complain knowing all is for your “good”—NC); you are unwittingly making the Lord Jesus inferior to them, or else you are thinking of yourself as still in the old man (the old man is in us but we are no longer in it – Rom 8:9—NC)!
I am not merely to find fault with my enemies—the carnality in myself and in others; I am simply to resist them in the grace of Christ, and to manifest on the ruins of the foe, the beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ.
You begin in private life, which is the closest circle to yourself. You refuse the old plantation, and you supplant it with entirely new growths; and as you do this in the inner and home circle, you are prepared for still greater advance in the outer circle (glorifying God by being used to strengthen the saved and draw the lost—NC). Having learned on the parade ground how to use your weapons, you will find that they are “mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2Co 10:4, 5).
— James Butler Stoney (1814-1897)
MJS devotional excerpt for June 11:
“We are the objects of the continual care and discipline of our heavenly Father. If we walk after the flesh, instead of after the Spirit, this may call for His loving rebuke and chastening (child training); but that in no way interferes with the precious truth of our continual acceptance and position in the risen Lord Jesus Christ, by whose one offering we have been perfected forever.
“Through grace, we are not in the flesh, but in Christ, yet the flesh is in us; but our part is to reckon it as having been, before God and to faith, judicially put to death in Christ crucified, thus setting us free to be so constantly occupied with the triumphant Son of God, as to find all our resources, all our strength, all our springs, in Him.” - Hugh Henry Snell (1817-1892) http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
I know you’re with me on this one. Hope in times of despair sounds impossible. Yes, when life terms are unbearable, emotional turmoil is a constant struggle. This unwanted distress brings forth problems reserved for Christ’s intervention.
Today, many people are protesting for several reasons. Most of their actions are peaceful, but others use violence to incite riots. And using physical force for victims of injustice frighten others causing an atmosphere of despair.
Other circumstances leading to discouragement are death of a loved one, financial hardship, unemployment, homelessness, and chronic illness. Those create a mindset of impending doom.
What is hope?
In the carnal world its approach to every life crisis is temporary and the future holds a brighter outcome.
But in God’s kingdom it’s knowing in Christ our place in eternity is heaven (John 14:2). This places our focus on God and not here on earth.
I think you’ll agree with me when I say people who disbelieve God live in hopelessness. But they’re blinded to their eternal anguish and rely on their individual strength to move pass despair. Because they reject Christ, their resolutions are short-lived.
Here’s something we both can agree on is Christ’s hope isn’t from this world but of heaven. Yes, Jesus promises an everlasting hope to God’s chosen people. Amid a world entangled with wickedness, this spiritual truth makes our lives worth living.
Remember, we live for Christ and God designed hope as an assurance for our eternal future (Jeremiah 29:11).
The interesting part of Jesus’s hope is its power over despair. Tapping into Christ’s strength overtakes the hardship caused by original sin (Genesis 3:16-19) but sometimes it takes perseverance to discover God’s hope.
The key that unlocks Christian hope is prayer. Here’s why that’s important. Because prayer is the backbone to Christian faith. It’s the way I connect with God and the powerful impact it has in changing my spirit. As the result of prayer, I find solutions to my problems.
As seen, finding hope in times of despair is possible with the Holy Spirit. I encourage you to continue seeking God. Believe me, it’s worth the effort. Trust in God and you’ll find an abundance of spiritual confidence.
How do you find hope?
We who are reborn are merely camping on low grounds until the High Grounds are reached; and for us, through the entirety of the journey since believing, “all things work together for good,” that is, to the reborn! This means we can consider all that we encounter from now on, esp. the difficulties, regardless of the degree and from where they originate, are being used for our good. This applies mostly to our faith in trusting God that He is unfailingly doing this, for our faith is now of the utmost importance, as “faith works by love” (Gal 5:6), thus the stronger the faith, the stronger the practical love.
I say practical love because it is the actual love, not just desired love. One’s desired love to God can be unlimited, but desirable-love-only is not actual, because only practical love is real. Faith is being used only in this life as our “hope” (not a hopeful hope but a knowing hope). In eternity we will only walk by sight, for faith and hope will no longer need to be; “hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for (Rom 8:24)? Being “saved by hope” has not the sense that the hope we are given (same as “through faith” Eph 2:8) saves us; “not that hope is the cause of salvation, but the means by which souls are brought to the enjoyment of it; salvation, or glory, is the object of it” (J Gill).
I think the most pleasing of it all concerning God’s goodness to us is that it is not affected by what we do and say (which only shows who we are, not makes who we are), but by what God He already prearranged, “from everlasting to everlasting”!
In the spring of 1985, I found myself at the doorstep of mom’s house. She was expecting me, but unprepared for the shock of her life. I had called to inform her that I was coming back home.
I hopped into my car and drove the four and half hour trip. I was a physical wreck for it took every bit of strength I could muster up to complete the journey. I had the shakes and a severe hangover from the previous night. I cannot remember the last time I had taken a sober breath.
I pulled into the childhood driveway, threw the transmission into park, and walked up to the front door. With my right hand, I reached for the doorknob, twisted it, and walk through the threshold. I was embraced with a loving hug followed by sobbing. The tears falling down the cheeks of her face were not joyful but terror.
She did not recognize her youngest son because she remembered her boy being full of life. Bewilderment radiated through her expression, and she was devastated. I was one hundred and ten pounds and the skin on my face was sunken inward, giving the appearance of a sick and frail young man. I was speechless, hopeless, and desperate.
I was only away from home for three years. I never thought it would end up like this. I was full of ambition, ready to take life by the horns. I had visions of prestige by planning to make a name for myself. I had a lot of good intentions. These should have been achievable goals, but the demons inside myself stripped away anything worthwhile.
I was baffled, ashamed, and did not know where to turn. My parents agreed to provide me a place to stay under the condition I would seek help. I was willing and took them up on their offer. Mom knew of a counselor who specialized in alcohol addiction. So I contacted him.
After the first face to face session with Mr. Barfield and just before leaving his office, he handed me a flyer with a list of twelve-step programs. He highly suggested I start attending meetings.
I decided to choose one and did not know what to expect from the twelve-step program. I was scared. I cannot recall the topic at my first meeting. I continued attending and began to identify with the medical description of alcoholism.
The way they laid it out made perfect sense because for the first time concerning my drunkenness there was a logical explanation. It spoke volumes, and as I looked back at the past, there was concrete evidence staring me between the eyes.
Then came their hook, line, and sinker that would be the only solution to my predicament. God! That presented me with a major stumbling block because I was agnostic. There could be no God in this world riddled with evilness. I was highly offended by their seemingly shallow outlook. How could God do anything for me?
Well, they said to me, just hang in there a little longer. Don’t give up before the miracle happens is a frequent slogan. Things did change. God began to work on me, and I gradually found faith.
As a result, from seeking God a transformation began taking root, and I learned a lot about how He works. I came to understand that through trusting Him everything will be taken care of regardless of the current situation.
The power I received from His strength allowed me to make amends for my wrongdoings as well as healing my heart. Even though I found the effect of God, I failed to maintain it and became complacent. I was content with the way my spiritual life was and started to slack off in my devotion.
I did not realize the danger this type of view would bring. This blindness cost me dearly and after eighteen years of sobriety, I got drunk.
I remember the moment I started using alcohol again was not wise. Everything God had done for me was tossed aside because I decided to get drunk. The insanity of alcoholism returned with a fury taking me places of degradation. I was in the grip of wickedness unlike any I had known. I was dying a slow and miserable death.
God did not give up on me and continued calling me back. I finally heard Him after eight years of misery. He opened His arms, and I embraced Him. God picked up where He had left off and quickly showed me the light at the end of the tunnel.
As I walked down God’s tunnel, He delivered me to His Son Jesus Christ and into salvation. I now know the Light at the end of God’s tunnel is Heaven.
We have to be careful with our actions verses are words reason I say that because your actions speaks volumes.
now I am not saying not use your voice to promote peace, I am saying stop and fight with shield of faith protest peacefully.
freedom of speech we have the right to lift every voice. But what we have realize that God can still turn this all around.
He is master of all good and bad nothing happens unless says so. the system was created for us to fail for us be so easily distracted
make up excuses . Now we have no excuses we either bow down right now cause his word said every knee shall bow every tongue shall confess.
people are now being forced to choose. people are repenting coming to knowledge of who God is. wanting to know him and serve him
that is a part of the plan bring people back to heart of worship. their is still hope have faith in God rise up be the solution not problem.
come together seek justice love and peace as one. enough is enough its time for a change.