22nd May 2014

Not In The Flesh But The Spirit 

“…we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh…”
Philippians 3:3 (NIV)
 

The Apostle Paul had a great CV, but if we read the scripture above we will come to realise that he didn’t put any confidence in any part of his previous life before he encountered Christ. Let’s notice what he says here concerning his past life; he was “circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee, as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless” (Verses 5-6). Here he lays out the record of his life; here was everything that meant anything to him as a person before Christ. Now he considers it loss and rubbish compared to his relationship with the one who died for him (verse 8-9) and why; because he had come to realise that he can’t bring any of this former “confidence in the flesh” with him into this spiritual friendship. Paul stripped himself of everything that he could boast about, got rid of all the dross and became more open to the receiving of God’s grace. 

This is what the Lord says:  “’Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who  exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’” declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24 NIV). So you see, God really desires us to boast (glory), in him and have no confidence in the flesh! 

Again Paul writes, “…as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’” (1 Corinthians 1:31 NKJV). Incredibly, Paul actually repeats this thought in his second letter to the Corinthians chapter 10:17 and the chapter ends with these words; “For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends,” (verse 18 NKJV). 

This of course is about getting past self, getting over the flesh and having no confidence in it whatsoever! Realising that all that we are, and all that we can achieve, comes from the great God anyway, as a gift through his Spirit—and above all, never forgetting to give all the glory to him. 

Prayer
God of all wisdom and power, thank you that we can glory in you as you work within us by your Spirit; granting us everything we need to fulfil your will in our lives.
Amen
 

Study by Cliff Neill

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cliffneillAbout the Author:
Cliff Neill is an Elder in Grace Communion Church Luton.

Local  Congregation:
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
Farley Hill
LUTON
LU1 5JE

Meeting time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Harry Sullivan
Phone:  01908-582222
Email: harry_sullivan@wcg.org.uk

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