Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Flesh

We think of the flesh as our skin. Of course, in some contexts it is but in others it's not. Let's look at the best example of when it's not:
Matthew 26:41 "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
The Greek word for flesh is sarx and the best fitting definition for that is human nature or carnality. Carnality, in turn, is our appetites and passions. We all are carnal because we are mankind. That carnality is a result of original sin, which is desiring what we want without regard to God's will - or our will prioritized over God's will. Mankind seems to have wanted pleasure, wealth, and knowledge because those were what was available from the tree. With those three things, man in his own mind, became as gods.

Our flesh, then, are those things which appease us. As such each person is their own god and the idol of all mankind is the flesh. We all live to appease our god by living for it vicariously through our nature. Scripture tells us that all people have sinned and come short of God's will (Romans 3:23 paraphrased). In essence, all of mankind have their gods before God, and that is each of the individual's human natures.

The nature of mankind is to sin. We are all born this way! However, each and every nature, although having a propensity to sin, the sins of choice are each different. Because Adam and Eve covered their sin by hiding their genitals, the nature of sin is often sexual or pleasurable at a minimum. Hence, the abundance of sexual sin, drunkenness, and illicit drugs. Often neglected are the sins of how we adorn our gods. What I mean by that is the priorities in life. Everyone has a innate desire to provide for their own satisfaction first. Adam and Eve never abandoned God. They took on other gods besides Him, and subsequently their priority was on themselves. We are no different.

People dress in regal apparel. Imelda Marcos was noted for her thousands of shoes. Her god liked shoes. Most women are no different. Likewise, the desire to dress themselves like princesses extends to the wardrobe, hair, and makeup. Not to be misogynic, men do the same thing! Ever since mankind proliferated the face of the earth, their tendency was to dress their bodies as if they were gods. The Picts of Britannia painted themselves up, but pagans all over the earth had learned how to permanently apply the paint. Tattoos have been in vogue for thousands of years! Along with that has been piercings and cuttings to ostensibly beautify the gods and goddesses.

The Lord told Moses how to be holy. Among them were not doing things the pagans do, and as such, He said this:
Leviticus 19:28 "Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord."
Why is refraining from tattoos and cuttings so important - listed right along with numerous other sins of the flesh? Because, rather than magnifying God, it is magnifying the self. God is a jealous God Exod. 20:5), and He is big on priorities. He knows that you desire to do what is right in your own eyes (Deut. 12:8) rather than His will.

Furthermore, one cannot cancel out God's command by making tattoos and markings about Him. Tattooing Jesus' name instead of another's does not negate the command! In fact, that is disrespecting God.

Some say, "Then you must honor all of Mosaic Law if you must honor this one." Indeed, we should if we love Him, but it is out of a desire to please God, not because one has to! Obedience is putting God first. It's prioritizing God over oneself. It is doing His will rather than one's own will.

God is a jealous God! He's not jealous of idols of wood, stone, or even gold because he can easily topple them as he did Dagon. However, he is jealous of you! The Creator is jealous of the created because like the monster, we have turned on the master! Of course God can easily topple us as well but he is patient. He doesn't because he loves us so (John 3:16). Because he so loved the world means that we should love Him back, and he says that the way to do that is to obey my commands (John 14:15).

What should Christians do because they profess to loving God: keep His commands. All of them if one can! The can't part is our carnal nature showing. Some are easy; some are not. It's easy not to do as the pagans do, and decorate one's own body as if it was a Christmas tree. We should be decorating God, not our own flesh. The decorations he loves are hymns, praise, prayer, and love!

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