How do I discern the desire of the inner man that wishes to do good from the religious flesh that wishes to justify itself? M
Hello M. I may be busy, but I thoroughly look forward to communicating with you! I want you to know that, because it is a joy to share some life between us.
Regarding your question: I would agree with your questioning whether you even have to. I say this, not because they are similar, but because they have nothing in common. Because something happens when we start examining them: since the NEED to examine is based on the relativity of comparison, that logic forces the life of God into the same rules as that which is of the world. All we end up with are counterfeits of the original miraculous work of God that took place within us.
This is how you and I perceive our unbelieving world as:
...better than I and that does not seem right. I mean they're kinder, more loving, more obedient, gentle and all the rest. M
What if it was just an illusion? What if they are only APPEARING this way to us? After all, aren't such virtues really the INWARD reality of God that flows outward? Couldn't people learn to curb their true INWARD desires in order to present a decent exterior? What if the Pharisees, in fact, did appear this way to their community? I used to assume that they treated everybody like they treated Jesus. I have come to realize that my view is biased, because my only knowledge of them came through their encounters with Jesus as recorded in the gospel accounts. Something tells me that they were highly respected and appeared truly righteous in the estimation of those around them.
The thing that triggered that well-hidden animosity was the fact that God was walking around in the flesh ... and their encounters with Him undid the facade.
The desires of the flesh are obvious. They want the attention, the credit, the glory. The desires of the flesh will take credit for the activity of the Spirit within you (by the way, this activity is going on all the time). That's why testimony time is a big thing in our gatherings! The simple fact is that you KNOW that God's desires are in you, but your need to call attention to them (yep, I'm with you on this!! :) is not only NOT necessary, it is counterproductive. We only THINK we need to verify God's working in us, but the simple fact is that God speaks for Himself in these things ... for He is our justifier. Whether you recognize it or not, God is validating you every day.
Just remember, God's validation doesn't mean anything to the world ... which means it won't fly with those in the church who are looking for credentials. Remember what Paul said, "But to me it is a very small thing that I should be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. I am conscious of NOTHING against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord." 1Cor4:3&4. Notice that Paul was not resting anything on the fact that he did not examine himself. In other words, he didn't examine his lack of examination! He knew that his acquittal was based on Christ's examination. And how did Christ examine him? Pretty simple, Jesus had already taken the judgment on Himself so that He had already declared Paul RIGHTEOUS. Everything rests on what Christ has already accomplished ... every time you get off it you will seek to justify yourself. Of course, I have noticed that my attempts at my own justification end up driving me back to HIS justification.
The depravity you see in yourself is a FORMER depravity. These are the virtues of that man you USED to be. Never forget that or let a doctrine convince you that you are NOW depraved. For though your own examination of yourself will give you no other choice in the matter the fact is that...
when you were dead in your sins, He made you alive together with Christ Ephesians 2:5
How is Christ to be manifested? I suspect that happens when people no longer see me but Christ. Not that that diminishes me but rather fulfils me. Please don't get the idea that I do not believe that I'm complete in Christ. But something appears to be incomplete, what is it? Have any clues? M
Yeah, the word "appears". It is the big deceiver. But then again, we were left here in the midst of the appearances of this world and had it declared to us that though we were IN the world, we were not OF the world.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen Hebrews 11:1
This is the place, the only place where faith could exist as "substance" and as "evidence". Our Father takes pleasure in it ... and we grow well in this miracle called faith. You know it without seeing it.