Crucify the Flesh
"And how shall they preach, except they be sent?" Romans 10:15a
Some say this is the hard way. No, the way of a transgressor is hard. “Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.” (Proverbs 13:15).
This is going to grate against some people’s flesh when they read this; but, it’s truth.
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Matthew 16:24). The Greek word for deny is “a)parneÑomai” which means to affirm that one has no acquaintance or connection with someone or forget one's self, lose sight of one's self and one's own interests. In this scripture, JESUS says if anyone comes after Him, he/she must deny himself/herself. To deny one’s self is to literally forget about his/her interests. Like it or not. That’s the way it is.
“Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” (Matthew 19:21). The Greek word for follow is “a)kolouqeÑw” which means to follow one who precedes, join him as his attendant, accompany him, to join as one as a disciple, become or be his disciple, side with his party.
A person cannot hold onto the things of this world and think they’re going to automatically one day become perfect and make heaven. These individuals will have nothing to do with this new thing in God.
One cannot sit in the comfort of one’s home and venture out to church a couple of times a week and think that is all that is required of them. Every person in the body of Christ is a member in particular. Every person is called to preach the gospel.
One cannot sell out just one time and think that’s all they have to do. “Well, I’ve sold out once so now I can do what I want to do for the rest of my life.” It doesn’t work that way. JESUS said if I am to be perfect, I have to go and sell everything I have and give it to the poor AND follow Him. That is a continual following of Him. Not just sell out one time and then go and do what I want. To follow Him is to be one with Him and be in the same party. You cannot be one with JESUS and in His party if you hold anything of this world close to your heart or put any little thing before Him.
JESUS, in the days of his flesh, spent his entire life fulfilling the will of the Father and not his own. He was tempted just as we are today. We must do the same as JESUS did in not fulfilling the wants of our flesh but do the will of God for our lives. “And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49)
Whichever side we choose, be it the flesh or Spirit, will depend on our outcome for eternity. Will we spend our 70 or so years living trying to “make it” and survive on this earth toiling away for a dollar bill for temporary comforts of the flesh and make mammon our god? Or, will we forsake all, sell all, and give our life for JESUS as He gave His life for us?
I remember back when I was in the corporate world I made very good money; for a woman that is. I worked for it that’s for sure. I sold my soul to the storefront. I remember not having to budget out anything. If I wanted it, I went and bought it. I drove a nice BMW 735i, had nice clothes, had my hair, nails and feet done, went to nice places etc. I always said JESUS was the one Who blessed me; but, just because I said that didn’t mean I had JESUS first. What was I doing for the Kingdom of God? Was I fulfilling His will for my life? Just because I threw a few bucks in the offering didn’t mean I was doing what God wanted me to do. I couldn’t “buy” God off. If God had not slammed me down for a week, I would still be working that job today. I thank God He showed mercy on me and brought me out of that life.
At the moment, I may not have a nice home, car, clothes, etc., but I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m in the will of God for me. I have a peace and a joy that cannot be described or put into words. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. As for me, I’m with Paul in that I’ve counted all things as dung. “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,” (Philippians 3:8).
“And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.” (Luke 18:29,30). Anyone who sells out will receive much more in this lifetime and the one to come. So when we are blessed by God, we have to make sure we don’t allow the blessings to come before God or to interfere with God’s will for our lives.
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21). There’s no getting around denying our will. We have a choice to either line our flesh up with the Spirit; or, give in to what our flesh wants. The way of our flesh certainly leads to death. We must do the will of God in order to make heaven.
“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26,27). You cannot say to JESUS, Lord I can’t go because I have to take care of my family etc. These excuses will not work.
“But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Matthew 12:48-50).
“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” (I Corinthians 6:20). I’m bought with a price so therefore I can no longer do what I want. I must always glorify JESUS in my life. I must put Him first and destroy my will. Wherever the Lord may lead me, I must go regardless of where that is.
Some reading this may think I’m absolutely nuts, and think God does not require giving up all and selling all. These individuals cannot be part of His body. How can they be part of His body while still holding on to the things of this world? It is impossible. Any one thing in this life that we may put before JESUS makes us lovers of this world.
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (I John 2:15-17).
Most churches today preach the blessing plan saying gain is godliness and that if you’re suffering God must not be for you. Here is the truth regarding them…“Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” (I Timothy 6:5).
“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.” (I Peter 4:1-2). JESUS Christ our God suffered in His flesh and we’re told to arm ourselves with the same mindset so that we may cease from sin also.
What kind of life are you leading? Is your every breath used for fulfilling His will; or, your own? Our words are nothing; our actions are everything.
Angela R. Lindstrom