- The basic characteristic of the works of the soul is independence or self-dependence.
- Even though the soul side is therefore not as defiled as the body side, it nonetheless is hostile to the Holy Spirit.
- The flesh makes self the center and elevates self-will above God’s will. It may serve God, but always according to its idea, not according to God’s. It will do what is good in its own eyes. Self is the principle behind every action.
- It may not commit what man considers sin: it may even try to keep God’s commandments with all its power: yet “self” never fails to be at the heart of every activity.
- Who can fathom the deceitfulness and vitality of this self? The flesh opposes the spirit not just in sinning against God, but now even in the matter of serving Him and pleasing Him. It opposes and quenches the Holy Spirit by leaning upon its own strength without wholly relying upon God’s grace and simply being led by the Spirit.
- God wants everyone to come to Him in a spirit of utter dependency, completely submissive to His Holy Spirit, and humbly waiting upon Him.
- The Apostle protests in his Philippians letter that he “put no confidence in the flesh” (3.3). It tends to be self -confident. Because they themselves are so able, the fleshly do not need to trust in the Holy Spirit.
- Self-confidence and self-reliance, as we have said, are the notable traits of the good works of the flesh. It is impossible for the flesh to lean upon God. It is too impatient to tolerate any delay.
- Whatever does not issue from waiting upon God, from depending upon the Holy Spirit, is unquestionably of the flesh.
- Whatever one decides according to his pleasure in lieu of seeking the will of God emanates from the flesh.
- Whenever a heart of utter trust is lacking, there is the labor of the flesh. Now the things done may not be evil or improper; they in fact may be good and godly (such as reading the Bible, praying, worshiping, preaching); but if they are not undertaken in a spirit of complete reliance upon the Holy Spirit, then the flesh is the source of all.
- The old creation is willing to do anything-even to submit to God-if only it is permitted to live and to be active! However good the deed of the flesh may appear to be, “I”, whether veiled or seen, always looms large on the horizon.
- The flesh never acknowledges its weakness nor admits to its uselessness; even should it become a laughingstock, the flesh remains unshaken in the belief in its ability.
- “Having begun with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh?” This uncovers a great truth. One may begin well, in the Spirit, but not continue well therein. Our experience bears out the fact of the relative ease with which a thing may begin in the Spirit but end up in the flesh.
- Attempting to follow Him without denying the self is the root of all failures.
- THE SINS WHICH FOLLOW:
- Should a believer be so self-confident that he dares to complete the task of the Holy Spirit in the energy of the flesh, he will not come into full spiritual maturity. He will instead drift until the sins he previously had overcome return to him again in power.
- Do not be surprised by what is said here. It is a spiritual truism that wherever or whenever the flesh is serving God, there and then the power of sin is strengthened,
- Just as the flesh gives you strength to do righteously so it also gives you the power to sin.
The Spiritual Man
Chapter : The Boastings of the Flesh