CONFESSION

REFORMING MY FLESH OR KEEPING IT DEAD

…FATHER, I know that my natural disposition must be crucified with CHRIST (that is, my flesh must die). The word, “flesh” means my human nature which is “under the control of animal appetites” and is sensuous (ref#150, NT:4559). “Flesh” is defined as my earthly nature apart from divine influence (ref#150, NT:4561).

Flesh is the part of me I must inactivate—kill by neglect. But I am anchored so in it I naturally choose to reform it instead of kill it.

It is intuitive to me to want flesh tamed. Therefore I strive to educate my flesh—teach it to be righteous. I happily give myself over to rules and methods (ref#33, p92). Intensive church activity is a way of attempting to reform flesh. It is frightening to realize that my own flesh can produce acts that appear Christian (Matt 7:22-23) yet they are without the help or consent of You, FATHER (ref#63, p706).

While teaching my flesh to be righteous I concentrate on one sin or a file-folder of sins. I fall into using my flawed self to try to become more like CHRIST. By doing this, I am in the business of trying to conquer and refine my old-nature flesh. I try to get flesh and SPIRIT to cooperate!

But, I cannot, and You, FATHER, will not reform my flesh—even the priceless blood of JESUS can’t cleanse the flesh. The HOLY SPIRIT does nothing to improve flesh; in fact, He will not even dwell in the midst of sinful flesh. The SPIRIT will abide in me for only one reason and that is for warring against my flesh (ref#33, p94).

O LORD, continually bring me to understand the difference between operating by my flesh and working with the SPIRIT—the difference between reforming my flesh and killing it by neglect. It is only by faith and dependence on the SPIRIT that I can put to death the deeds of my flesh (Rom 8:13).

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CONFESSION

TWO NATURES

…FATHER, Your SPIRIT is teaching me to understand myself. This makes me responsible for how I conduct my life. So, let me warn myself about the battle that starts in my mind.

Since the SPIRIT resides in me, I admire righteousness. This admiration comes from the new nature You have given me. But my old unrighteous nature still has the ability to influence my mind—thus the battle.

My mind is in the habit of accepting input from my “flesh”—which is sense and reason without the HOLY SPIRIT. Thus my old nature gladly takes up the challenge to become righteous. This “flesh,” with its carnal thoughts and purposes, cannot please or satisfy You or ever be acceptable to You because it is obsessed with self (Rom 8:6-8). My mind is not renewed so as to change my conduct if I just try hard to act righteous (ref#33, p110).

Therefore, let me warn myself about my “flesh:” “…flesh not only can produce sin but can also perform good” Watchman Nee (ref#33, p110). I can read and preach the Bible, hear and believe the Scriptures in the strength of my flesh and not depend at all on the HOLY SPIRIT Who guides my new nature (ref#33, p113). I can serve You over-zealously like the Pharisees all with my natural strength.

“That which is born of flesh…is flesh, and can never be ‘unfleshed.’ Whether it be the flesh in the pulpit…the flesh in prayers…the flesh in reading the Bible, the flesh in singing hymns, or the flesh in doing good—none of these…can avail…” Watchman Nee (ref#33, p119).

My flesh will try to establish another righteousness outside of CHRIST. Flesh left to itself will lead me down Israel’s path—pursuing righteousness based on works (my doings) and not faith (Rom 9:32).

Because I attempt to follow You in faith, I know that You have gifted me with a new nature that is opposite my unrighteous, fleshly nature. I do not want to walk in the natural, easy ways of my flesh, but desire to follow You in the newness of life that You give. Keep me aware of these two natures within me and provide strength so my actions are in keeping with my new nature.

I make a decisive dedication of my members and faculties to be devoted and well-pleasing to You. Therefore, I determine, with Your SPIRIT’s help, to put to death by neglect my natural thinking.

CONFESSION

DEFINING THE “FLESH”

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 6.29.39 AM“Much of our distress as Christians comes not because of sin, but because we are ignorant of the laws of our own nature” Oswald Chambers  (ref#7, March 22nd).

The Bible terms our born-with natural nature, “flesh” (Rom 8:8). “Flesh” denotes “sinful propensities and passions” of my entire nature Barnes’ Notes (ref#16, [John 3:6]).

This “flesh” urges me to carry out its “sinful passions.” I am the host this sinful nature works through. But as a Christian, You, FATHER have implanted another nature in me—Your nature, Your SPIRIT. He not only overpowers my sinful nature but also allows me to be the host of You accomplishing Your will through me.

CHRIST’s activity on the cross has given me the ability to render useless my fleshly nature, not simply the sins of my flesh. But I am too often concerned with the sins. I’m “occupied with today’s anger, tomorrow’s jealousy, or the day after tomorrow’s strife” Watchman Nee (ref#33, p96).

FATHER, please sensitize me to focus on, not individual sins but denying the urgings of my fleshly nature. It’s a given that my sin and lust keep me away from You, but also remind me that this fleshly nature is a totally selfish nature. Anything I do for my profit, or to make me look righteous, and anything I do out of what I deem my duty to You—all these actions are sin also (ref#35, p255).

Attempting to follow You without denying the flesh is the foundation of failure (ref#33, p116). Whenever I lack trust that is flesh in action (ref#33, p114). Flesh is impatient. It will resist waiting on You, FATHER. It also will not have faith enough to trust the SPIRIT. Flesh will make its own plans never having “the sense of utter dependency” Watchman Nee (ref#33, p114).

FATHER, I ask You give me strength to upstage my flesh so I may sit before You experiencing my dependence upon You. I praise You for the grace You have given me to put into practice the death of my fleshly nature. My most concern is always to recognize and render useless this “flesh.”