My “Flesh” Challenge (And Yours)
Most recently during an organisation change at my workplace two colleagues of similar status received promotions and I didn’t (the three of us are mentored by our General Manager). You could expect there’d be some level of internal complaint from myself alluding to, ‘why not me?’ I’d like to say there wasn’t, but I’d be lying if I did. I think anyone in the same situation would feel the same sense of disappointment.
The changes brought no good news for some others too. Some lost position and power and had their roles transformed. Isn’t it funny that of all the people affected by the changes, I was least affected, and yet I was disappointed. I expected change. Perhaps that’s part of the problem. Change didn’t meet my expectations. It wasn’t big enough and it didn’t include me as much as I’d hoped.
The sort of person I am I’m always looking for what my faith is saying to me in my disappointments. I try also to do this with my successes too. ‘What is this latest revelation saying to me,’ seems to be the way.
This is what I believe:
God gives us good things all the time. Sometimes we don’t recognise them.
Sometimes God will have us wait for these good things.
Sometimes God knows what we want will not be good for us.
Sometimes he’s got better things in his mind for us. And oftentimes we’re left to wait and grow in patience.
A further observation:
Both the power of the flesh and the Spirit operate in this world. The flesh is our selfishness and innate greed. The flesh thinks it has all the power, but it’s the proud hare-destined to finish the race of life second. The Spirit has abundantly more power, even in this Satan-influenced world; but we must give the Spirit permission to crush our flesh instinct and reaction-it won’t force its way in.
God wants to help us crush the flesh temptation so his glory is manifest in our response to the situations that affect us. God has helped me, and is still helping me, gain and maintain a view that my ‘career’ is for his glory and not my own.
I can glorify him more by not being promoted-my acceptance of that fact and my encouragement of my two colleagues mentioned earlier bring God glory. God can-through me-inspire these people from acts beyond this world; acts from the eternal.
There’s an indelible fact for every Christian person: whilst we remain in these tents (our physical, ailing bodies) on this earth we’ll always struggle with the temptations of the flesh. It won’t be until we reach heaven that we’ll take on our resurrection bodies; an event we cannot even begin to imagine.
What’s your current flesh challenge that perhaps you could present to God? It’s an opportunity for crushing the flesh. It doesn’t sound that attractive, does it? But, this is a sacrifice that God can bring so much spiritual benefit from.
The more of our flesh we can give over to God, the freer we’ll inevitably be!
Steve Wickham is a Registered Safety Practitioner (BSc, MSIA, RSP) and a qualified, unordained Christian minister (GradDipBib&Min).
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