Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Put To Death The Deeds of The Flesh

I received a phone call from a woman, a professing believer in Jesus Christ, who was going through some sort of tribulation that was vexing her soul. Her first words after explaining to me what was happening were,

God already knows I am a woman of great faith, so why is He bringing these trials and tribulations into my life?”

The only thing I can say in her favor is that she accurately understood the Biblical explanation for trials and tribulations in the lives of His people:

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1: 2-4; NKJV)

My acquaintance got the connection between how God brings into His elect's lives trials and tribulations to test their faith with the consequent result of patience, a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5: 22-23) being produced in the lives of Christians. She got that. A star for her.

What she so tragically did not get was that she was expressing to me on the phone that she believed she had arrived at such a place in her professed faith in Christ where she no longer needed God to produce patience in her life through the medium of trials and tribulation. In her mind, she had reached a level of perfect sanctification where it was, according to her, no longer a need that the Triune God keep perfecting or completing her.

Why more trials when I am already there? I've reached the goal. I've arrived!”

...being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” (Philippians 1:6; NKJV)

You see, what the Bible teaches is that the good work of salvation, initiated by God in the lives of His elect, won't be completed until the day of Christ Jesus. In other words, the work of completing or perfecting believers will never end until the death of the believer or the second coming of Jesus Christ for His church.

Yet, like so many others with dubious professions of faith in Christ, there is a kind of pride. It is a sinful boasting of having been perfected in grace when in reality there is a total lack of Biblical grace in their lives.

People like that, if they are even Christians to begin with, actually think they have reached a goal while the rest of us sit around in anguish lamenting our pain and suffering. They either are ill taught or are not believers to not know that “until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:6) means that a continual flow of the Grace of God must be constant in their lives to enable them to cope with the multitudinous tribulations that God will indeed providentially bring into their lives.

To deny this is directly from their sinful flesh. In the boast of having arrived at some falsely conceived level of perfection the rest of us are still waiting for, is to glory in one's carnal and base instincts. It is to glory in the self-aggrandized “I have already arrived” state of thinking instead of glorying in the Person and work of Christ and the strength only He can work into your life to enable you to cope with the trials and tribulations God has ordained for your life.

Put to death the deeds of your body and mind (Romans 8:13) to keep yourself from reaching such a prideful notion that you have arrived at a level of completion or perfection and no longer need to have your faith tested by the Loving, Providential, and Sovereign Hand of God. Glorify in the One who can supply you the strength to endure by:

Spend a protracted amount of time in prayer seeking the strength of God.

Spend more time in meditating on the wonders and care of God in His Word. Read the Scriptures diligently and carefully.

Glory in God's strength, the only One who can keep you from falling.

Live nearer to God by watching and praying lest you fall into the temptation of pride and arrogance.

Let your conversation in front of the people of the world ALWAYS be seasoned with the Grace of God.

Let your heart be scented with the aroma of Biblical love for the lost souls of the world.

Let the words of your mouth and the meditations of your heart be such that men want to know what is in your life that's not in theirs.

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12)