No Confidence in the Flesh
The first principle of every great move of God is the saints learning that flesh is not the answer. You cannot lean on the arm of the flesh and believe wholly in the Lord at the same time. The Apostle Paul that shook many cities with a Sovereign visitation of the Lord’s power said, "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) Why did Jesus say, "Ye must be born again."? Jesus answered, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again." (John 3:6-7) The flesh can never produce life either before you are born again or after you are born again. "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." (John 6:63)
What a life-changing truth this is for the church. We labor with our many schemes to change our communities and our families and, yet, nothing is happening. Often, we just get worn out with it all. The church world is full of pastors and congregations that have simply given up or turned the church into a social club. The new contemporary direction of the church says, "If we can’t reach them God’s way, we will simply reach them their way." But, flesh produces nothing but flesh, so the church has hired a flock of psychologists and small-time counselors to help deal with a church full of flesh. One leader of a mega church confidentially said to me, "Our backdoor is the same width as our front door." A church full of flesh is earthbound and is not going anywhere when the trumpet sounds.
Leading evangelical ministers have produced all kinds of temperament scales to help the flesh in their congregation learn how to deal with their flesh. Of course, there is some degree of self-help in learning one’s temperament. They can grab themselves by the boot strings and beat that old flesh into shape. The Roman church has used this style of religious work for centuries. When a church claims salvation by faith, but then turns to flesh-controlled temperament training, they reveal the duplicity of their own beliefs. The message to the Galatians is powerful. "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain." (Galatians 3:1-4) That truth will change your life.
God’s Divine Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, was sent to indwell the temples of the Lord’s saints. Every born again believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. ". Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." (Romans 8:9) That Spirit is very God and very Christ living in the very temple of His saints, and He is there to do everything needed to produce Jesus Christ likeness in that saint. To depend on flesh techniques and schemes is to lean on the arm of the flesh. ". Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm ." (Jeremiah 17:5) This is the reason that the church is weak, effeminate, and practically helpless. Flesh is operating fleshly and the church is utterly dependent on every new trend coming down the religious path.
Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life is absolutely no different than the Roman Catholic Mass and confessionals. It’s all driven by the schemes of the flesh and the search for how man can produce the righteousness of God with a big dose of flesh. The next mega preacher and his mega book will produce another flurry of religious excitement and the church world will be a lot closer to the New World Religion of the beast. As long as the flesh is the method and the result is still flesh, the world will love it and the preacher will be a champion.
A sad truth will be evident in the near future when the King returns. "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption." (I Corinthians 15:50) A born again Christian is a new creation. The most radical transformation on the face of God’s earth is the converted soul that has been washed in the blood and renewed in his spirit. No one will need to strip that soul of the habits and bondages of the flesh. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (II Corinthians 5:17) The Holy Spirit at work in a surrendered life for one instant is worth a lifetime of a psychologist and all his folly.
If you doubt me, I challenge you to give the Lord one week to prove me right. One week spent depending on nothing but prayer, the Word of God, the blood of Jesus, and a constant spirit of total surrender is all I ask. Tell God if He does not prove me right that you will give it all up after that week and go back to your own scheme. "O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him." (Psalm 34:8-9) I’m not even worried that He will fail.