My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Cor. 12:9
The earth’s magnetic north is described as “the direction a compass needle always points”. Man has his magnetic north, which is the flesh. That is a fact, lest we boast. Man’s desires, aspirations and actions all gravitate towards self, the flesh. That is why when Eve “saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat” (Genesis 3:6).Those are our original parents, and that’s quite a statement the Bible is making there!
Many aspects of our ‘self’ nature are so well-hidden we are not aware of them. We see only the surface of things. We see the good deeds we do. Sometimes we do such remarkable deeds that we are tempted to believe in the ‘goodness’ of man.
But nothing we do can fool God. God knows what is in the heart of man, and the fact is, we are rotten to the core. The Bible in Romans 3 provides us with our ‘charge sheet’, as it were, and in verse19 it concludes that the entire world is “guilty before God”!
We dare not boast. On the contrary, we can thank God for His grace in giving us a Savior, Jesus Christ His Son. He alone was the sacrifice considered worthy enough by God to take away our sins.
The flesh does not go away just because we are saved. The ‘magnetic north’ instinct hounds us to our deathbed, and woe to the man who thinks he is so spiritual as to ignore that fact. We are not called to ignore it but to defeat it. True, God does a lot for us at salvation; but, just as a father would help a child to cross a street then let go his hand, God also calls us to responsibility in the Kingdom. And by allowing us to carry the Cross God gives us the privilege of being a part of the winning team, of which He is the Captain! What an honor!
Losing our lives is the challenge. The call of God in our lives is to partake of Christ’s victory by participating in His death. That is the heart of the message of the Cross. That is what the Apostles talked about in their epistles. God and the Apostles knew that if we are victorious over the flesh, no other enemy can defeat us. The Apostle Peter says: “And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?” 1 Pet. 3:13. He is talking about spiritual victory.
The charismatic gospel that is prevalent in the Church today will never deal with the flesh. Actually it is a gospel of ‘me’. Recently I saw an advertisement that said simply, ‘You. First.’ How apt!
Miracles and healings, though a work of the Spirit, can never bring a man to spiritual maturity. God intended something else to bring the Church to maturity. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:22-24, “For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”
Spiritual maturity is what God wants the Church to arrive at. He is looking for sons and daughters, not spiritual babes. That certainly makes sense, doesn’t it?
You might notice that the Corinthian church had all the gifts of the Holy Spirit operating in their midst, but the Apostle Paul still referred to them as spiritual babes.
The Apostle Peter raised Tabitha from the dead, but still Paul chided him for his immature behavior.
It is the revelation of the Cross of Christ only that can deal with the carnal nature of man. That was why Paul would preach no other gospel other than “Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). And when he says he would boast in nothing else apart from that Cross “by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal. 6:14) there is nothing of false humility with Paul there. Rather, he is testifying to a real work in his heart. Paul knew where the power of the gospel lay: it was in the Cross working in his life! What Paul means by ‘weaknesses’ in 2 Cor. 12:9 are the sufferings of Christ through which he would partake of the power of God.
That is why the Church today needs a spiritual understanding, or a revelation of the Cross of Christ. And that is why in our day we can thank God for men like Miki Hardy, in whom the Lord has invested such a revelation.
Anyone who has the chance to hear the preaching of the gospel that addresses their flesh should be grateful to God for that grace and privilege. In the midst of the many gospels being preached today, and where the flesh is either not dealt with or is even celebrated, it is truly a grace from God to hear the one gospel that confronts head-on this most indefatigable of God’s enemies.
I thank God that I do not only write this blog or preach, but that I am a partaker of the most important aspect of our calling, which is to carry my Cross and follow after Christ!