Another set of shards for the offering…
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot (Romans 8:6-7, ESV).
Whether it’s reveling in sin, or in our natural strength and “good works,” the flesh is still the flesh. Whatever it does will still end in death—or will need to be put to death first. It is still hostile to God. Watchman Nee, in The Spiritual Man, puts it this way:
[S]elf-righteousness is not righteousness at all; it is actually unrighteousness…. Whether a person is good or bad, one thing is certain: he does not submit to God’s law. In being bad he transgresses the law; in being good he establishes another righteousness outside of Christ…. Just as a Christian must be delivered from the sin of the flesh through the cross, so he must now be delivered from the righteousness of the flesh by the same cross.
I look at these words—and a whole lot of other words spread around this blog—and wonder whether instead of their being prefaced with “by Carl Simmons,” it might not be more accurate to have it read “despite Carl Simmons.” Anything good you read here is God’s doing; I’m just fortunate on some days to be the conduit. And yet, how simultaneously self-vaunting and self-deprecating is that? “Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24, ESV).
Depend on Christ. Only Christ. “[T]he hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed…. [P]ut on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:11, 14, ESV)