Galatians 5:19,21 (NKJV)
‘Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are… and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.’
The good thing about the flesh is that it is usually evident, although it can also be very subtle and scheming, and can disguise itself behind the walls of legitimacy or religiosity. But for the seeing man, the fleshlife is evident. It will show forth eventually. Unfortunately, for the spiritually blind, the self-life can actually come across as spirituality. The man without discernment can confuse impatience with passion and confuse anger with zeal. Only those who do not see from God’s perspective make those kinds of mistakes. For the spiritually alert, he detects the works of the flesh anywhere it raises its ugly head: either in his personal life or in the life of those around him.
Paul, under God, gave us a list of seventeen displays of the fleshlife, but he ends with an eighteenth tag: ‘and the like’. This means that the list of seventeen is not the exhaustive list. And each item on that list can have multiple ugly faces. So for example, while fornication may have a thousand other expressions beyond physical sex or illicit lustful desires, selfish ambition may have a million other ugly faces. And while the world may be clapping for your ‘drive and passion in ministry’, heaven may summarize all your activities as the works of the flesh. The final verdict from heaven: ‘those who practice such things WILL NOT inherit the kingdom of God’. Such finality makes me shudder and tremble for my life. This is indeed a big problem. The word ‘practice’ makes it verifiable and inexcusable by whoever you are. I shudder!
‘Lord, am forced to my knee at this reality. At the end of the day, it won’t boil down to how I served but what I loved and how I lived. If I belong to Christ, I am not expected to live in the fleshlife and therefore I cannot be comfortable without checking that my works align with the life of heaven. Deliver me from comfortable living and careless satisfaction. Open my eyes daily to see where amends must be made, where self had sneaked up on me, where I had contacted corruption unknowingly. And by your Spirit, show me how to deal with the roots of this ugliness and how to do it mercilessly. This I ask in Jesus name. Amen’