This past Saturday the Lord allowed me to begin something in ministry that I have desired to do for a long time. As I was reviewing the progress thus already made this morning, I refocused this coming week on both progress and changes that needed to be made. In my heart I planned the things that I needed to do and how I might accomplish them. Yet these words like thunderbolts from Heaven fell, “NO CONFIDENCE IN THE FLESH.”
May those five inspired words hold us like captives to the grace of God. May our efforts be arrested, and may, in exchange, God’s power be set free in our lives. The Apostle Paul was not concerned about the efficacy of human abilities, although he possessed many of them. The religious, cultural, scholastic and fleshly benefits of Paul’s life without Christ would have suited any man well to do a “great work” outside of God’s will or against God’s will, but now Paul is working as a laborer together with Christ (I Cor. 3:9), and he needs God’s power and God’s tools to accomplish God’s tasks. Philippians chapter three serves as an internal audit of Paul’s life; when the accounting was done, Paul admits, “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ” (3:7). All of those human advantages were as “dung” in light of God’s power set free in one’s life.
We do well to remember Samson of old. After Delilah had vexed him often with her words and worn his physical resistance, he told her all his heart. He laid his head in the lap of spiritual apathy, and awoke to the cry, “The Philistines be upon thee, Samson” (Judges 16:20). Indeed they were! He had fought them many times and surmounted. However, God’s Word reveals the sad tale: “He awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself.” In essence, Samson said, “I will shake my natural advantages; I will use my abilities, my talents, my gifts, my strength….it will be there for me.” But God’s Word says, “And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.”
Headlining the biography of Samson’s life we may read, “And Having No Confidence in the Flesh.” The songwriter said it best:
Stand up, stand up for Jesus | Stand in His strength alone | The arm of flesh will fail you | Ye dare not trust your own | Put on the gospel armor | And watching unto prayer | Where duty calls or danger | Be never wanting there.
As you account for your Christian life today, depend not on the flesh, for it shall fail. The only One who has never failed, fallen or frayed is God. “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:6). May our Christian life move from verse three, “And having no confidence in the flesh” to verse ten, “That I may know Him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.”