In Removing The Flesh above it was noted that Jesus gave His flesh spiritually to live a sinless life, and then gave His flesh physically to reconcile us to the Father. Jesus gave his flesh, and we must begin giving our flesh as well; as Paul said (I Corinthians 15:31) ... I die daily. It is in dying to the flesh that Jesus can live within us. Light and darkness do not mix; God is not going to share your vessel with your sin or flesh, as noted previously in the following scriptures;
I John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
John 3:19 – 21 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
We should now go beyond the limited understanding of removing the flesh, and find the obedience that comes with brokenness, and gives us the light of life, Jesus.
Brother Clendennen in one of his messages spoke of understanding the meekness of Moses, and talked about horses that were so meek they obeyed totally, and he related it to being “tamed”. He said only the tamed will rule in heaven. We understand the concept of what he is saying, but the choice of the word tame is much too broad. Brother Allmon has a cat at the farm that comes every morning to eat, but you cannot get within about five feet of that cat, and you cannot touch it, it is wild. But even if you could tame that cat, would it obey anything you command? Would it fetch anything, or do tricks? Cats have a mind of their own, and do not obey. With wild horses, or horses in general, we say they have to be broken, not tamed, and so it is with us. Our flesh, and it’s own will, must be broken for our light to truly shine. Meekness will be the result of that brokenness.
Please read and grasp the next point. Because the word flesh is used for the physical body as well as our fleshly nature, we equate the two, and believe they are one and the same; they are not. We try to control our physical bodies, and thus miss the spiritual warfare against the fleshly nature. Watchman Nee in Release of the Spirit used different terminology: the inner man being the spirit, the outer man the flesh or fleshly nature, and the outermost man the body. If the fleshly nature and fleshly body were the same, the spirit could not abide and come out, for darkness and light do not mix; the fleshly nature is what must be removed.
God gave an example of this in a recent fast, where it was purposed to fast solid food, but drink liquids; tea, milk, juice, etc. to avoid the foam that forms in the mouth and aggravates so much while fasting. During the fast it was reminded that Jesus did not have those liquids during his wilderness fast, so those liquids were stopped immediately to the dissatisfaction of the flesh. The greater breaking of the flesh was a blessing! The next day the foam returned, but then it was given that the fast was not to afflict the body, but to break the flesh! The liquids were allowed without chastisement. If the fleshly nature is removed, the body then becomes the vessel that accomplishes only the will of the spirit, or inner man. We see from the Word that God can divide the body and fleshly nature;
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
As this was read God lead to compare the sword to a laser, and its speed and ability to cut with precision. Until the last fifty years there was nothing significant to compare the sharpness of a sword to. But realize that God’s omniscience, God’s omnipotence are as high as the heavens are above the earth, and so much greater than man’s invention! His grace is sufficient for us, and He will meet our need; we must allow Him to remove our fleshly nature.
For an additional example of the difference between body and flesh, God again gave another look at Jericho;
Joshua 6:1 NOW Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out and none came in.
While it was shut up, Jericho was impenetrable from within or without; while the children of Israel could not get in, the inhabitants of Jericho also could not get out. Consider this further; the ensample is that the city is the body or outermost man. The outer man, the fleshly nature, is then the wall that prevents the inner man, the spiritual man, from coming out. The church today is living like it is in a dome, in the repetition and pattern of man within those walls, and failing to shine, or reach out, or be seen. As the children of Israel had to obey completely for the physical walls of Jericho to come down, we must follow God’s leading and direction completely for the walls, our fleshly nature, to come down. We must give up our fleshly nature to walk in His light. It is only in full obedience and humbleness that the fleshly nature can be broken and removed. We must then be that city on a hill:
Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.
Brother Clendennen said if we are told to let our light shine, the possibility is that we are not. It does not say this city was built on a hill, but set on a hill; scripture tells us of the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven, and several times scriptures tell of the fountain or river of living waters that come from under the throne. It tells us of the rivers of living water that will flow from within us. This cannot happen while our inner man is walled in!
I would love to move from here back to the Sea of Flesh. The Sea of Flesh can be confirmed scripturally by Revelation 17:15, and Isaiah 60:5. The living waters can and will heal that sea, as seen in Ezekiel 48. Our call is to overcome the flesh and allow those living waters to flow to and heal others. But the direction God led for this exhortation is to understand brokenness and the promises it brings. Let us begin with seeing ourselves or our potential in the scriptures from II Corinthians 4:6 – 5:9;
II Corinthians 4:6, 7 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
As with the physical creation, God has shined the light in our hearts, to give us the knowledge of Him and His glory. But we can have a treasure in these earthen vessels that is hid, and cannot be seen due to the fleshly nature. The emphasis here is not on the earthen vessel, but on the contents, the treasure. We must see the two parts, and not consider them as one. Jesus, the treasure in a field, the pearl of great price, is in you, let Him be seen! We must see this in the spiritual, not the physical. Another quote of a Brother Clendennen message was recently found; There must be a manifestation of light to counter a manifestation of darkness. The world is becoming more and more wicked because the church has stopped manifesting the light, the Lord Jesus Christ, to counter the darkness!
God told us in our church years ago to ask Him to open our eyes and ears. Spiritual vision and hearing will allow us to see and understand that only brokenness will allow you to walk in the scriptures that follow;
II Corinthians 4:8, 9 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
How can we overcome as Paul notes in these verses? By brokenness and the Spirit we can be inwardly unshaken, but the need is for the outward, fleshly man to be destroyed, so the inward, the spirit, can be seen as in verses 10 and 11;
II Corinthians 4:10, 11 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
The word manifest means shown. If He is to be shown, or seen, in our body or mortal flesh, this dying does not speak of physical death, but to spiritual life; we must be broken and die in the flesh for this to occur!
II Corinthians 4:12 – 15 So then death worketh in us, but life in you. We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
The death to the flesh that was in Paul is allowing the life and light of Jesus to be shown, and the living waters to reach unto them! The scripture that is referenced, I believed, and therefore have I spoken ... is from Psalm 116:10. Psalm 116 speaks of the gracious, righteous, and merciful God who will hear and deliver, and the servanthood that should result from that deliverance. When we die to the flesh God can raise us up in the spiritual! And again in the above scriptures we come to the abundant grace, which will result in the glory of God shining. Continuing on;
II Corinthians 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
The outward man perishing is not speaking of the body aging, but the fleshly nature, and this perishing is not physical death; though the outward man faints, or falls, or perishes to the spiritual, it is broken, but the inward man is renewed that it might then be seen at all times! That is how the troubles of verses 8 and 9 can seem light;
II Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
Our light affliction works to break us, and crucify the fleshly nature in us, that His glory may exceed! This will allow the spiritual sight and hearing to be opened, and allow us to see and receive spiritual things, not the carnal;
II Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
We are not to look at the physical or temporal, but at the eternal. This is spiritual seeing, spiritual hearing, and then doing! The breaking of our flesh removes the temporal and works the eternal in us;
II Corinthians 5:1 For we know that, if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
If, and only if, this clay pot, this earthly vessel is dissolved, we have a temple made of God! We must hunger and desire to the point of groaning to be clothed with the eternal in this life!
II Corinthians 5:2 – 5:4 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
If this mortality spoken of is the physical death, how could we be seen naked? This clothing upon can be seen in the spiritual in this life as well! This temple built of God can be seen and glorifies God the occupant, and not the building! Change me God, take the filthy, take the fleshly nature, and give me a spiritual garment, so that the life and light of Jesus might shine! Enable us, Lord, through the next verse;
II Corinthians 5:5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
He that hath wrought us has given the earnest of the Spirit now in this life; the Spirit is given now in this life that we might overcome and manifest Him for others also; it is not just for us in eternity!
II Corinthians 5:6, 7 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (for we walk by faith, not by sight:
There is a confidence, a knowing and believing here in the spiritual; a walking by faith as those in Hebrews 11, who saw the promises afar off in the spiritual, but could not yet receive or touch them;
II Corinthians 5:8, 9 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
While we are desiring to be with Jesus and God, there is a labouring for Him now, that we may be accepted. This labour must be in brokenness of the fleshly nature, and in total obedience, for it to be accepted! We know from Romans 8:5 – 8 that our carnal or fleshly nature cannot please God.
Let us go back now and look again at 4:10;
II Corinthians 4:10 Alway bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
If it is in the body, it is not in eternity, but now in this life for us, and can be shown in us! Let your light shine! This can only occur in the breaking of the flesh. In David’s prayer of repentance he notes this breaking;
Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
God desires this repentance and brokenness, and will revive us in heart and spirit in it;
Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
The question then is how do we accomplish the breaking and removing of our fleshly nature? Do you see in the above two scriptures that it is only by seeking God in spirit through repentance and prayer, and allowing Him to work in us the needed reviving? We have too often spent our time and mind in a physical fight against the body, not seeing or understanding that there is a spiritual and heart fight against the fleshly nature that can be won through brokenness and yielding all to the One who can revive us.
There is a progression of growth in understanding of the Word; God gave me the physical comparison of a metal can. Over time the can has progressed in its materials from tin to aluminum to coated aluminum as men learned to maximize the life of the can. In addition, men learned to optimize the size, volume, and contents of the can. By calculus men learned to maximize the shape of the can and minimize the necessary materials and cost of the can. By the Spirit and overcoming the flesh we eliminate that which will rust and decay; and can allow Him to shape us, and mold us through the Word into the optimum that God wants us to be. The Word of God is full of truth and promises, but we are treating it like we have a seven layer cake, but we are only tasting the frosting over and over again. We must be diligent in seeking God and breaking our fleshly nature, and God will do the revealing and reviving in our hearts and lives. You cannot fully know the Word mentally, or without brokenness of the fleshly nature, but must know it spiritually through the revealing by the Spirit of God.
Hear and receive greater depth in the truth of the following scripture;
I Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
From Romans 12:3 we know that every man has been given the measure of faith, but many never act on, or in, faith. So it is not your level of faith that is more precious than gold, but the trial of your faith. We are being tried, and as your faith is tried with fire, rejoice with the promises ahead as you overcome! As you overcome in faith, know that your faith is becoming pleasing to God (Hebrews 11:6), and more precious than gold.
Faithful hearing and doing will bring you beyond the things of nought, and provide these blessings of God! Removing your flesh cannot be accomplished through your flesh, it is only in Him; God performs the change in our life if and when we yield:
Ezekiel 36:25 – 27 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
The price that Jesus paid on the cross is the price of these changes in you, for He is the way. We must then allow Him to bring us out of the flesh, and allow Him to quicken us through the spirit and life;
John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
The depth of our overcoming and deliverance will be found in the depth of our yielding to Him, and complete reliance on Him;
John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
It is often difficult to grasp these spiritual truths unless we consider a physical example God has provided. The early morning of Monday, August 6, 2012, while seeking where to be in the Word, “Exodus” was heard, and while turning, “Chapter 3”. It is easy to question your hearing if you have already spent considerable time on a portion of scripture, and that questioning arose until reaching verses 19 and 20;
Exodus 3:19, 20 And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand. And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go.
At that point God revealed that the spiritual parallel is that your flesh, your outer man, is your spiritual Egypt, and is oppressing and enslaving your spirit, the inner man. Can you see that you are oppressed by your flesh and kept from the promises of God? God will stretch out His hand and smite your Egypt with wonders until your flesh will let the inner man go free.
God could have forced Pharaoh and the Egyptians to let the children of Israel go, but it only happened when they were broken and said for the children to go. It is the same with our flesh; God does not force us to do His will, but has given us freedom to choose. When we receive salvation through Jesus God gives us a new heart and spirit within (Ezekiel 36:25, 26 above). Understand that the sins of your past are gone at salvation, but the iniquity, the propensity to sin which is the flesh and outer man, are still present. As with Pharaoh (Exodus 5:2), the flesh and outer man says “I know not the Lord, neither will I let the inner man go free”. God begins to plague the outer man with His wonders until it breaks the outer man to let the new man go free. There is a process from deliverance, through breaking, and proving, until you can battle and become conquering, and can reach the living. There will be afflictions, trials, and temptations while God breaks the outer man. God does not then send you immediately into spiritual battle, but to spiritual boot camp;
Exodus 13:17 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:
How many of you have seen a particular overcoming or spiritual victory in an individual and said in yourself that you could not do it, and returned to your old ways? God does not put more on you than you can bear. You will first go through the wilderness while God chastens and removes the chaff, and then refines out the dross. Yield and let Him remove your flesh; do not hear the things of nought and the flesh and turn back.
Just as Pharaoh and Egypt pursued the children of Israel, know that your flesh will pursue and try to again enslave the new man, the inner man, and return the soul from life to death spiritually. If we will diligently follow the leading of the Spirit we will eventually see the flesh, as the Egyptians, dead on the sea shore (Exodus 14:30). This can only occur when we reach the walk of Paul in … I die daily.
Look now at the continual path for the children of Israel: God broke Pharaoh and let them go; He instructed them how to leave with wealth from the Egyptians; He delivered them miraculously at the Red Sea; He fought the battle against Pharaoh’s chariots, and the children did not have to lift a finger; He provided water numerous times; He fed them with manna and quail; He led the children of Israel with the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. We could follow this through to the Promised Land: the defeats of Midian, Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, king of Bashan; crossing the parted Jordan River; the fall of the walls of Jericho. At each instance where they followed God completely they received complete victory. With whatever level of reliance they had on their selves or man they failed to some degree.
That will be the same in the spiritual battle. As God did not expect the Israelites to fight the Egyptians, he does not send you defenseless, but will go before you. He will provide the Spirit to tutor, and lead, and guide (Ezekiel 36:27 above) ... I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes ... Recognize the spiritual warfare within, and begin yielding to God and His promises can be yours as Jesus, the carpenter, begins to frame you in His image!