While looking at the above picture how many of us have felt this way? Not in regards to the hand but our flesh?
Phantom Flesh Syndrome
There are a couple of definitions for flesh and carnal in the Scriptures.
sarx – flesh (the soft substance of the living body, which covers the bones and is permeated with blood) of both man and beasts and the sensuous nature of man, “the animal nature.”
sarkikos – having the nature of flesh, i.e. under the control of the animal appetites
I’ll be talking about the fallen, carnal nature aspect of the word. But first I will briefly explain Phantom Limb Syndrome
Phantom limb syndrome is the perception of sensations, including pain, in a limb that has been amputated. People with this condition experience feelings in the limb as if it were still attached to their body. This is because the brain continues to receive messages from nerves that originally carried impulses from the missing limb. (http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=96857) There are many different articles about it but one I found interesting stated that while talking a person would gesticulated(talk with their hands) with a phantom arm. They still operated, or so they thought, out of something that was cut off and removed. It still felt like they had something even though it was removed. In their mind they thought they still had this limb….and now we come to Phantom Flesh Syndrome.
How many of us operate thinking we still have a “flesh” problem. “I just need to crucify my flesh more” or “this darn flesh I just can’t seem to kill it” are just a couple of things we’ve heard or said about ourselves. The Scripture declare the flesh dead, cut off, and removed from us yet we still think and appear that we are operating out of our flesh. But this is not the case. Romans 6:6 declares:
We know that our old (unrenewed) self was nailed to the cross with Him in order that [our] body [which is the instrument] of sin might be made ineffective and inactive for evil, that we might no longer be the slaves of sin.
“Know” is Greek is ginōskō which means to learn to know, come to know, get knowledge of, perceive, feel. It is also a Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. And Galatians 5:24 declares:
And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires.
I love the past tense here. “Have” and “was.” Crucified in this passage is systauroō – to crucify along with!!!! Strong’s Concordance has a gem in the explanation of this word: utterly estranged from former self. If you just skipped that over read it again: utterly estranged from former self. This revelation is astounding me as I type. Utterly means – carried to the utmost point or highest degree and estranged means – to arouse especially mutual enmity or indifference in where there had formerly been love, affection, or friendliness. But how many of us feel or know that deep inside. We look at our action and figure it isn’t dead yet and there is more that we need to do. We look at our actions as proof to our nature instead of the other way around. We don’t know who we already are.
I could go on and on but I want to keep this simple and to the point because sometimes we can get cloudy by many words. So how do we learn, come to grips with, and perceive that we are not in the flesh anymore? Now comes the astonishing fix which isn’t astonishing really but after by Mirror, Mirror post it blew me away. How does one get free from Phantom Limb Syndrome and Phantom Flesh Syndrome? Mirrors! Yep that’s right, mirrors! If you can, read this article: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-mirror-cure/. The epiphany came and I was like wow!
It should be clear that a person doesn’t need a fallen nature to miss the mark. ie. Adam sin while in complete perfection and relationship with Abba. I mean Adam literally walked with God in full Glory and out of Adam’s full spirit man and still missed the mark. We all know the saying, “We aren’t sinners because we sin but we sin because we are sinners” and to use a term very loosely, “our nature is not dependent on our actions but our actions are dependent upon our nature.” Death came to all based on one man’s action regardless if you sin in Adam’s likeness(Rom. 5:14) In both fallen and redeemed natures we can sin and miss the mark and/or act righteously (Rom. 6:20-22).
I’m really trying to keep this post short… I would encourage readers to read: Kainos Ktisis New Creation and What You See You Become. Also read: Don’t Hold Me Back Both are fuller explanations of my quick summary that I will do.
We are designed to become what we focus on and believe about ourselves. Out mirror must be not only the graphe(Scriptures), which is very important, but also the logos(Jesus) and rhema(God’s spoken word). When we see things happening in and around us and when we act out of this phantom flesh we continually need to wash our minds with the Word(rhema) and renewing our mind with the truth of our redeemed nature and the glory He has given and shared with us. We behold as in a mirror the glory of the Lord(2 Cor. 3:18). We reckon that false image of ourselves dead and our new and true image alive to God in Christ. When we see ourselves walking in sin we must look to see where our mirror is. Are we focusing on sin and weakness or our glory and heavenly seat? I also need to note that you can’t wipe a dirty mirror(old self) with a dirty rag(own righteousness). The Lord Jesus gives us a clean mirror that will never get dirty…we just need to keep our eyes on it because as soon as we look away and walk away we can get confused and dismayed (James 1:23). We must listen what the rhema is telling us to do and believe it. We live in a finished work and we need to believe that it is finished. Amen?!
Father, forgive me when I look away as Adam did and missed the mark. Thank You for ransoming me from that fallenness of mind and nature and setting me free. Continue to cleanse my vision of myself and You so I can reflect You in all our fullness together. I am one spirit with You so today I choose to believe it and act on it. I keep my eyes on my Mirror and reckon all false reflection void and destroyed. Transfigure me, Father, into the same Image and Glory I see in You. Help me to live in my current glory in order to build the foundation for the next glory.
In Jesus’ precious and fiery name,
Amen and Amen