The faith of Jesus Christ and the early Christians - hide not thyself from thine own flesh

..hide not thyself from thine own flesh … then shall thy light break forth (Isaiah 58 v 7)

The scriptures tell that us the only way we can understand this and do it, is for us to look at ourselves in a mirror and remember that the reflection will tell us the truth of what we are with spots, warts, wrinkles, scars, blemishes and deformities, but let us take heed, we soon forget what we really look like when we turn away from the mirror, as James said of the effects of the enmity, “ For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.” (James 1 v 23-24). Reading and remembering the word of God will show to us what our flesh - the enmity and all it’s many disguises - is are really like, but, like a looking in a mirror of glass, if we turn away from remembrance of the word of God we will quickly forget all our weaknesses - our spiritual spots, warts, wrinkles, scars, blemishes and deformities. The closer we privately examine the word of God as every word applying to ourselves, the more we will see the true state of our own flesh and the better we will be equipped to ‘do’ the word, rather than just to hear it like a pleasant song as James wrote, “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” (James 1 v 25) and as God said to Ezekiel of Israel, “And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.” (Ezekiel 33 v 32).

Jesus read and remembered the word of God to enable him to see his own fleshly weaknesses before he allowed them to cause him to sin as the Psalmist spoke of him, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119 v 11). In that word he learned of the wiles, the subtle infidelities and deceiving unfaithfulness of the serpent’s poison in the enmity so that he could anticipate it’s cunning temptations before it prompted him to transgress, and from his experience he told his disciples to be as wise he was, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10 v 16). His continual search in the word of God was to ‘plumb-the-depths’ of how deceptive and duplicitous the flesh is so that he could counter it with every word of God as was written of him, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night" (Psalm 1 v 1-2).

If we look into the word of God - like we look into a mirror - we can be sure that we will see all lot of what we do not like about ourselves, but if we persevere and concentrate on this self-examination it will have the effect of afflicting our heart and humbling our soul within us when we see how unworthy we are to be blessed by God in both natural and spiritual ways, and - like our natural appearance - we will do all we can to improve our spiritual appearance and we will find that we have very little time to watch our fellows, but rather, we will always see ourselves as God sees us.

This was the work of Jesus, who knew the depths of Satan from his experience, as it was written of him, “And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2 v 25) and whose work was to remove the yoke of the activities of the enmity, the experience of which he passed on to the seven churches (Revelation 2 v 24).

 

 

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Chapter 57

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