Flesh

Phantom Flesh Syndrome

Phantom

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?!

Let’s pray…

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

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Excuse Me, But Do I Know You?

2Co5.16-21
2 Corinthians 5:16
Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.

Interesting scripture I must say. From now on we recognize no one according to the flesh. I’m sure we all of read that and maybe thought about it but quickly finished our bible reading for the day. Forgive my sarcasm :). I’ve read it plenty times but I love when God highlights the scripture. Holy Spirit Sharpie Highlighter! Anywhoo… So what does Paul mean by this? I immediately think of 1 Cor. 6:11 which states: “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. Paul was recognizing them for who they are and not what they were doing. How many of us are trying to crucify the flesh or die to self? And no matter how much we do, we aren’t reflecting that truth. Ever hear of Phantom Pain or Phantom Limb Syndrome? Get this: people are operating out of something that isn’t there. Something that has been cut off. Something that is no longer a part of them. I researched(if you could call it that) phantom pain/limb syndrome and there are reports of people still feeling the limb and even gesticulating with the phantom limb while talking. I mean in no way to offend amputees btw so please don’t think I’m making light of actual people experiencing this. I say this because the thought occurred to me that if humans can walk and operate like they still have a limb that isn’t there that Christians still operate in something that isn’t there. This is what I like to call Phantom Flesh Syndrome. Now I’m getting off track…which happens when I blog. More on Phantom Flesh Syndrome on a later post.

Back to what I was saying before. The Kingdom is an inner man, spiritually discerned, God breathed life and outlook. We cannot recognize others based on what is dead. We need to call to life or call to a realization of what is already alive. Kingdom looks beyond the veil of flesh into the inner man created in God’s image(read previous Mirror Mirror post). I do not mean we do not acknowledge falling short of our brothers and sisters but we do not recognize as that action because it is no longer the core of who they are. There may be some root issues to deal with but at the core it is not who they are. Paul was pointing out these issues but countered it by saying, “such were(past/dead) some of you but you were washed/sanctified/justified.” You are no longer what you were.

I like how Paul thinks. Grace upon grace. He didn’t recognize them according to the flesh but spoke on their identity. That is why New Testament prophecy is about one who prophesies for edification and exhortation and consolation. That is directed at the same church! How many of us prophesy our words of knowledge? Did you know there is a difference? That is also for another post. Where is the light in an individual? The Divine spark present? Are you mirroring back the negative dead stuff or the alive Kingdom stuff? Are you calling people higher or just exposing what the blood has covered/washed away? No matter the person Christian or Pre-Christian they are created in God’s Image. Are we muddying up the mirror or washing it for people to properly see the image of Him who create them? How do you recognize people? By their sin or by their Redeemer? These are all question we need to ask ourselves when relating to people. Most importantly how did Jesus see those the religious deemed Image-less?

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Don’t Hold Me Back

Enjoy-Wave-After-Wave-Of-Gods-Grace-WPDon’t Hold Me Back

Just the other day I was in a meeting where a person was sharing on “grace.” I use quotations because I don’t think the person really understood what grace was. This meeting was geared towards those who are in recovery for emotional, chemical, and sexual addictions along with other hurts, habits, and hang-ups. I’m sure some of you know what type of meeting I am talking about.

The guest speaker began his sermon talking about grace and I was like, “Awesome, because that’s what those who are struggling with sin need to hear.” So I listened and had an open and hopeful mind. The sermon was good for about 10-15 minutes and then it took a turn downhill. I mean not to judge the person speaking, for who am I to judge another man’s servant, but to check if it’s truth Berean style.

He mentioned how much of a wretch he is and proceeded to tell us how we are wretches as well. He also mentioned how sin is permanent and that we are permanently in sin. He then started talking about the hyper-grace message and how he likes it and, I guess, thought his message was hyper-grace. I beg to differ.

Don’t hold me back!

First off, believers are not wretches! We are children of God, born again with a new spirit, heart, mind, and we are accepted in the Beloved. (Eph. 1:6, 1 Cor. 2:16, Philippians 4:7, Ezek. 11:19, 36:26, 2 Cor. 5:17, Gal. 6:15) We are one spirit with Him. (1Cor. 6:17) I am sure he was referring to Rom. 7 when Paul was describe how wretched he was for not being able to do what he wants but doing the very thing he didn’t want. This scripture, in my opinion and based off what I believe scripture teaches, is not really a Christian’s struggle with sin but the struggle with the law of sin. (Rom. 3:20, Rom 8:2-3, 1 Cor. 15:56, Gal. 2:16, Heb. 10:1)

Sin and the law of sin were forever dealt with on the cross AND resurrection of Jesus Christ. (Col. 2:14, John 19:30, 1 Cor. 15:17, Rom. 11:27, Col. 2:10-12, Heb. 1:3, 1 Pet. 2:24) Now read 1 John 2:1-2 and look for the keyword “if” present in this scripture.

My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. (NKJV emphasis mine)

If we sin…if. Guess what the greek word for “if” is? If! Based on the fact that Jesus walked with God in full humanity and never used His Divinity but did only what He saw the Father doing tells me that, I also can choose not to sin as I abide in Him just as He abides in our Father. (John 5:19, John 15:4-5, Philippians 2:7, Heb. 2:17-18,) To use a quote from Georgian Banov (www.globalcelebration.com), “If you’re not free from sin until you die, then Jesus isn’t your savior; death is.” This is so truth but the church still doesn’t believe it as a whole.

Another scripture he quoted was in 1 John 1:8 which states if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. He forgot to mention verse 9 where it says if we confess He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness. This is truth. We are set free from sin! The law of the Spirit of Life has taken over and is operative! If we say we haven’t sinned we are justifying ourselves through the law of condemnation, which has glory by the way. (2 Cor. 3:9) But the ministry of righteousness exceeds it in glory! Hallelujah!!

Don’t hold me back!

I am reading a book by Watchman Nee called, “Not I, But Christ,” and it is astounding teaching. Oh the simplicity that is in Christ. In 2 Corinthians 11:3 is says,

But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. (NASB)

In this book he clearly lines out that the law of sin is a law and is in effect but the law of the Spirit of Life is present and is a greater law that does indeed supersede it.  I’ll leave with some other quotes.

The Lamb was slain before Adam ever fell. – Anonymous (not sure who said this originally)

“Grace means that God does something for me; law means that I do something for God. God has certain holy and righteous demands which he places upon me: that is law. Now if law means that God requires something of me for their fulfillment, then deliverance from law means he no longer requires that from me, but himself provides it.” ~ Watchman Nee, The Normal Christian Life

What is Romans 7? Romans 7 tells us that the dead man is protesting. The Lord has crucified the old man, yet I protest. – Watchman Nee

As Christ is our substitute in death, so is He our substitute in life. – Watchman Nee

Let me tell you, victories are all won unawares. Why is it that you overcome without being conscious of it? It is because a law is working. The law of the Spirit of Life set you free from the law of sin and death. Jesus established a higher law to disable the lower law. To overcome sin does not require an ounce of strength, for it is the work of the law of the Spirit of Life. – Watchmen Nee (paraphrased)

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