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Description: Often we try to do good work for God but in our own way with our own ideas. Our spirits are not led by His Holy Spirit, but by our minds and emotions.
Spiritual Life #10
Works of the Flesh vs. Works of the Spirit
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Tonight we’ll be talking again about carnality. I really felt it was important to deal with all the
expressions of it that we have in our own lives and give the Holy Spirit every opportunity to track
it down in us. Because unless the Holy Spirit saves us from carnality all the rest of our sharing
together over these next three years will really come just as legalism, and as intellectual
knowledge to you.
So I ask you to be patient as you remember that we did deal with the first evidence of carnality,
which is really sin after conversion, and then we began to talk about the carnal Christian. And then
we began to talk about deliverance from carnality, and it was then that the Holy Spirit just laid on
my heart that we should spend another few weeks on it. And you remember we talked about the self
life in connection with that little tract that probably some of you have suffered and beaten
yourselves with. And then try to talk about the hearts of our own life, you know, our heart as
Christ’s home in connection with what it meant to be filled with the Spirit. And then last week, I
attempted to give my own testimony of crucifixion with Christ that was my deliverance. And what I
ask you to share and think about this evening is an attitude of carnality that you would not dream
of unless we forced ourselves to look at it.
And that is the whole issue of the flesh, which is just the self, and good works. Because I think a
lot of us come into some experience of crucifixion with Christ, and some experience of death to self
but we don’t realize that the bad works of the flesh and of self are only a part of the story. And
I’d just like to clarify for all of us what we mean when we talk about the flesh.
You remember that we shared that God’s will is really that. That’s really God’s will for us – that
His spirit would come into our spirit, bring to us His spirituality, and His liberty and His
blessedness and then that would go out right through our souls, our minds, our emotions and our
wills, right through our bodies and out to the world. And what we in fact did when we rebelled
against Him was to cut ourselves off from His spirit altogether. And so really, our spirits died,
and we had only our souls and our bodies. And yet we still needed the sense of love that we got from
God. So what we did was turn to the world and try to get it from the world. And we tried to get love
from the world and we became in-turned personalities. So our spirit really was dead, but we tried to
get a sense of security that you get in love, and a sense of significance and a sense of happiness
that you get in love- we tried to get it from the world. That’s the way most of the world lives
today; tries to get enough love from its husbands and its wives to satisfy it. It tries to get
enough security from its life insurance policies and its jobs and its food and shelter and clothing
to give it a sense of safety. It tries to get happiness from thrills and excitement to make it sense
some exhilaration in life.
And you remember what we said was, when you become a Christian you actually agree with what God has
done to that perverted life. You agree this has been crucified with Christ. And then, as a result of
believing that, God has done something magnificent in Jesus’ death to enable Him to give you His
spirit. You receive His spirit into you. And really that’s the way we walk for the first few years,
even, some of us. And certainly for the first few months of our life with God, we walk that way,
receiving the Spirit in and going out, and we live in joyful Bible study and prayer and witnessing.
And then after a few months, after maybe a year or a few years, we begin to have troubles. And we
begin to have the experience of Romans 7:19: “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not
want is what I do.” Now loved ones I’ve pointed out to you it wasn’t always like that. When the Holy
Spirit first came into us, we walked as He wanted us to walk. But it was soon after that we began to
come up against the fact that we were willing to accept, “May the force be with you.” Really we all
want to walk like this, you know, we do. And remember old Alec Guinness, in a typical Englishman
statement, said, “Well I’m a Catholic, and I suppose I’m an alleged Christian,” and some
psychologists here would enjoy that intellectual statement. He’s an alleged Christian. “And I’m
supposed to,” he said, “believe in a force, and I do, but it’s a very different force from the one
in the movie.” And of course really everybody wants a force, and that’s what God has given us.
And therefore many of us were willing to receive the Holy Spirit. But we were not willing to put
right that reverse personality. And that is what carnality is; it’s a person with the Holy Spirit in
them, but their personality is still reversed. In other words, they still find themselves trying to
get from the world, and yet the Holy Spirit is inside. So it’s as if the Holy Spirit is buried in a
person. That’s why Galatians 5 and verse 17 is a good description of the carnal life. Galatians
5:17, “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit.” You see it’s not simply the desires of
the flesh. You remember those of you who know Greek, it’s “sarx”, like that. S-A-R-X, loved ones,
for those of us who don’t know Greek. Sarx. And that doesn’t just mean the soft part of the body,
the flesh; it means the whole independent use of the body as the source of our love that we should
get from God. As the source of our significance and our happiness and our security, that’s what Sarx
is. And so the desires of the “sarx” are against the desires of the Spirit. The Spirit is trying to
get out and bring God’s sense of security and significance and happiness to the world and we’re
trying to bring in from the world the security and significance and happiness of the little maid
approving us in the courtyard; of getting a position at the right hand of God for James and John in
our own lives; of getting our own way and losing our temper or getting our own way with the person
that we live with. And so we find that the desires of the flesh are against the desires of the
Spirit to prevent us from doing what we would.
And that’s what the carnal life is. That’s what we mean by the carnal life. It’s a person with the
Spirit of God inside them, but they will not let Him out. They will not, in other words, let the
work of the cross operate. They will not allow the cross to destroy that inward direction of their
personality. And so really what they want to do is, they want to encircle and play “Dulles” [US
diplomat who aggressively advocated strengthening of weapons to keep communism out of U.S.A.] with
the Spirit. They want to contain communism. They want to contain the Holy Spirit within them and not
let the Holy Spirit out. And so they want to have the Holy Spirit, but they won’t let the Holy
Spirit do what He was sent to do. And of course the whole purpose that God had in giving you the
Holy Spirit was to let Him flow through us out to the world and re-create the world in His image.
And so the whole purpose of Jesus’ death is frustrated by carnal Christians. And that’s what a
carnal Christian is, loved ones, a person who has the Holy Spirit inside them. They have actually
had even some experience of witness in life. They’ve had experience of the Holy Spirit going out
through them at one time. But now they’ve backed off from it and they’ve said, “No, no. I want to
live my own life. I want to continue to have the freedom to get from people in the world the
significance and the security and happiness that I need, and I want the benefit of the Holy Spirit
too.” And so those two, of course, clash repeatedly in our own lives with other people. So that is
the normal carnal life that we experience.
Now loved ones, where we get caught is we keep thinking of the carnal life in terms of Galatians
5:19. Maybe you’d look at it. We keep thinking of the carnal life, in other words, as something bad
or evil. Galatians 5:19: “Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity,
licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party
spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing and the like.”
And we keep thinking, “Oh, that’s what carnality is.” And so when we come into the glorious release
of the cross and of death and resurrection with Jesus, we find ourselves freed from those things.
And it’s subtle, but we get put off our guard, because we think carnality is only evil works like
that. That’s all carnality is. And of course Satan is subtle, because he knows that if he can keep
the Spirit encased within you, somehow or other, that’s all he has to do. Because then he knows
you’ll grieve the Holy Spirit out of your life. So he knows if he can get you to encase it by
receiving from the world all the time, then that’s good; the Holy Spirit will be within you but will
be encased. And you’ll be getting from the world and you won’t live off the Spirit. And so he’ll be
satisfied. But if you, of course, allow the cross to cross out this in-turned life, then Satan has
either to let the Spirit to break forth through you or he has to get you to act from the soul
outwards. In other words, he has to try to get you to produce an outgoing life by the power of your
own flesh, because he still has you. If he has you operating from the soul out through the body
still, you’re not letting the Holy Spirit flow out through you to other people.
And yet you’re involved in doing good works. And so you feel, well I’m doing God’s will. But Satan
is satisfied because you’re not doing it by the power of God’s spirit; and anything that is not done
by the power of God’s spirit is actually not God’s will. It may fit into God’s general laws, it may
be a good imitation of a child of God’s life, but it is not God’s will, unless it comes from the
Spirit directing you and flowing out through you. And so the trick that Satan plays on many of us
who come into actual crucifixion with Christ is, we keep on identifying carnality or working by the
flesh with evil things like envy and jealousy. And we fail utterly to see that if Satan can simply
get us to act from the soul outwards, or if he can get us to try to do good by the power of our
flesh–because you see the flesh includes the body and the soul– then we’re in the same position as
we were before. And in fact, he’s got us right back to where the fall took place because that was
the whole problem with Eve: It wasn’t that she was doing evil; it was that she wanted to be like God
by her own power, by her own knowledge of good and evil.
And so loved ones I could point you to the verses that we overlook in Romans, and that Satan uses.
Romans 7:18. “For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh.” (That’s my soul
and my body.) “I can will what is right, but I cannot do it.” And Satan gets us to overlook the deep
truth of that verse, “For I know that nothing good dwells within me.” And we begin to sense, “Well,
I have received the fullness of the Holy Spirit, I’ve died to my right to use the world and other
people for my own glory. And now I can use my mind and my emotions and my body to do what God wants
me to do.”
And God wants us to see, no you can’t. Nothing good dwells within you. We fight like mad on that. We
say, “But look, isn’t the mind and emotions, isn’t that neutral? Isn’t that just an instrument? If
it’s an instrument of Satan, then it’s bad; if it’s an instrument of God, then it’s good.” Yes, if
it’s an instrument of God. But the soul itself is neutral and in that sense part of our own natural
life, and part of ourselves, and not under the control of the Holy Spirit, unless we consciously put
it under it. And many of us will not face that. We will not, in a sense, hate our own mind and our
own emotions. We’ll see our own emotions often bubbling over other people and offending them. We’ll
find our own emotions being often unbalanced, but we will refuse to actually hate them to the point
where we see they actually are opposed to the peace of Jesus.
Another verse, loved ones, that puts it even clearer is Romans 8:7, which talks about another part
of the soul – the mind. “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit
to God’s law, indeed, it cannot.” The mind that works just from the soul out is actually hostile to
God. And so when your mind starts devising ways to be good and to do God’s will it actually is still
running on its own independence. And it’s still running on its own power. All goodness from God is a
spontaneous flowing out of His Spirit. It’s a spontaneous thing. It’s the right hand not knowing
what the left hand is doing. All self-conscious, self righteous activity is of the soul and of the
flesh. Loved ones, what we need to see this evening is that God condemns the good works of the flesh
just as strongly as He condemns the bad works.
And maybe you’d look at that; it’s Matthew 6:1-8: “Beware of practicing your piety before men in
order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus,
when you give alms, sound no trumpets before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the
streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But
when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms
may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, you must
not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street
corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But
when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and
your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the
Gentiles do, for they think they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your
Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”
And then in Chapter 7, verse 21 there are those startling words that you’ve probably read before:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the
will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not
prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And
then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.'”
And that was people who cast out demons in Jesus’ name. And He says, “To some of you I will have to
say, ‘depart from me, you evildoers.'” Loved ones, the good works of the flesh always center on our
own ideas. Do you see we were delivered by the cross into spontaneous expressions of God’s spirit?
It’s a spontaneous flowing through from Him. It’s a preoccupation with Him so that what we do is
fruit. The vine is not conscious of the fruit that it bears, the branches are conscious of the vine
itself. And the fruit-bearing is just an incidental by-product. The good works of the flesh are
always done in the way we want to do them. They always center on our idea, and that’s where many of
us fall from the cross after entering into a deliverance from carnality. We, for a few weeks, do
exactly what the Holy Spirit tells us, and then we begin to modify His directions. We still do good
things, we still do good works, but we do them our way.
He tells us to go and visit someone now. We don’t refuse to go. But we work around it that it will
actually be easier to do it tomorrow night without any sacrifice. And so gradually, we eliminate
from our lives all of the cross, and we eliminate from our lives the instantaneous obedience to the
Holy Spirit that keeps us in liberty. And gradually from being spontaneous people who are so glad to
be freed from self that we do immediately what the Holy Spirit tells us, we become self controlled
people who do what the Holy Spirit guides us to do an hour later, two hours later, a day later, a
week later. Therefore good works of the flesh always center on our own ideas, or our own plans.
Here’s the way Watchman Nee puts it in his book and as always, you know, it’s just a blessing in the
way he cuts down to the heart of the thing: “From the human viewpoint, the works of the soul may not
be all defiled, they merely center upon one’s thought, idea, feeling, and like or dislike.”
Many loved ones are delivered from carnality and then get wrapped up in what they like or dislike.
So it’s good, you know, not to suffer the old symphony orchestra if you don’t like it. And God
doesn’t ask you to go to everything that you dislike, but it’s easy for your life to come back under
the domination of self about purely neutral things, about things that aren’t bad or good, they’re
just neutral. But somehow you draw this life that has just been liberated into God’s service; you
draw it back under your own control.
I don’t know if you find that with yourself, but I find it at times in my life that even though I
didn’t want to exalt self, and I didn’t want people to look at me, yet it was easy to start making
everything convenient, and start working around the way you wanted to serve God, rather than the way
He wanted you to. Loved ones I share with you that life in the Holy Spirit is free and spontaneous
and liberating. It is not a self-conscious life. It is not a life filled with self righteousness.
That’s the danger, I think, of some of you who listen to all the teaching year after year. It’s very
easy to get into a flesh kind of following of spiritual laws. Where you have it all set out in your
mind, “I get up and I read the Bible at this time; I do this for God at this time.” Now loved ones,
there’s a freedom and a beautiful liberty and spontaneity about the Holy Spirit flowing into you and
out of you, but it is amazingly possible to still be free from self-love, and yet to encase the Holy
Spirit so that your life is not actually governed by Him, but it’s governed by your mind and your
emotions and the way that they think they should serve God, and they should do His good works.
That’s what it means that you can often do God’s will in your way. Or you can often do God’s work by
your power. And once you start doing that you take the life out of it because you see, of course,
there’s no life. The only life in anything we do is if the Holy Spirit is in it. So you can do
exactly the same. So the Holy Spirit can say to you, “Go over and throw your arms around that
brother and tell him that you love him. And you say “Well, Holy Spirit I’ll do it tomorrow night.”
It’s just not the same. And that’s pretty obvious how that’s not the same, but there are many other
examples of commands that God gives you that if you did it at the moment would minister life and
spirit to the person, but you don’t, you take it under your own control. You make it deliberate and
conscious and the Spirit goes out of it. And that is what God is getting at, you know, that you can
lose everything by that. The basic characteristic of the works of the soul is independence or self
dependence. And even though the soul side is not as defiled as the body side, it nonetheless is
hostile to the Holy Spirit. The flesh makes self the center and elevates self will above God’s will.
It may serve God but always according to its idea, not according to God’s. It will do what is good
in its own eyes. Self is the principal behind every action. Of course, it brings you back into
self-consciousness, brings you back into a self-consciousness and self-dominated life.
Loved ones, really, the problem is, in Romans 8:8, if you want to look at it, but that is really the
situation. “…and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” It may be the good flesh or it may
be the bad flesh, but they cannot please God. That’s the problem, do you see, with the Mormons and
Jehovah’s Witnesses and everybody who’s wrapped up in legalism. It’s the problem with the “live by
the Golden Rule” humanists; you see that you can, of course, live a good life, as Plato and Socrates
did. You can live a good life by the power of your own mind and emotions, but it doesn’t say
anything about the Holy Spirit of God flowing through you. And that alone is what brings eternal
Now, what are the symptoms of it? I think self-consciousness is probably the big one. You become
conscious. “I have a very understanding way with me, haven’t I? I really have. I have been very
understanding with that roommate of mine. It’s remarkable what God has wrought in me. I am a very
understanding person. I really am.” And it’s just a moment, just a moment, you see, you don’t need
to dwell on it for a long time; it’s just a half moment of self that indicates to you that self is
beginning to retrieve the ground that it lost in the cross. “Oh, really that was quite a humble
thing I did there. I’m glad I’m modest about it.” But that it’s just that driving mirror, you know?
You just look in the driving mirror to check how you look.
And it just has that sickness about it. It’s really like you kiss your wife or you kiss your mother,
and on the way past you look in the mirror to check – “Did I? Yeah, I did that quite nicely.” It’s
something that isn’t complete surrender; it’s something that isn’t completely pure and good. It’s
something that is posturing; it’s something that is checking itself out to see how it’s doing. “I’m
really quite an unusual sort of chap, aren’t I? Really, I mean, other Christians, boy they’re kind
of square; but really, I’m kind of a swinging Christian.” Just, you know the way we think, you know
the little tricks we have of thinking that yeah, we really do contribute something to the world that
nobody else does. We do. But once we know it, we’re out of the center of God’s will for our lives.
Because His joy is in the swallow that sings away like mad. It isn’t conscious that anybody is
looking at it. His joy is in the little sparrow that is chirping away and isn’t conscious that it’s
chirping or adding beauty to the world. That’s the joy God has in us when we’re liberated from the
domination of self. And that’s where the good works of the flesh bring the self back in.
And so, really loved ones, it’s always depending on our minds instead of on God’s spirit. It’s
always depending on our own cleverness. And we’re always attributing things to our own cleverness.
That’s part of the good works of the flesh. Out of generosity to God to let Him feel that he’s doing
something, we give Him thanks for things. But really we know most of it is due to our brilliant
little minds, and our clever feelings and our unique personality that we have. And most of the good
things we achieve are by that. It’s amazing how many of us have that a way, way back in the depths
of our personality. We really have it back there. On the outside we’re very self-effacing people,
but back inside we have a little pride in our good works, that still has not gone to the cross. And
it’s a trust in our programs or a trust in the cleverness of our speaking or the cleverness of our
explanations. But it is something that steals glory from the Father.
So in our witnessing life at work we reckon that well, a person wouldn’t have gotten any where if we
weren’t the kind of people we are. Really if we hadn’t read that book by Little and could explain
the thing just as clearly as we did, they wouldn’t have come to God. And there’s just that element
of snatching the glory from God that shows that the good work is coming from the part of the flesh.
There are different examples of it, loved ones, in Scripture. Look at Mark 14. There’s one in
Peter’s life. Mark 14:26-31. And of course the good work of the flesh always ends up opposing God’s
will. “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. And Jesus said to them,
‘You will all fall away; for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will be
scattered.’ But after I am raised up I will go before you to Galilee.’ Peter said to Him, ‘Even
though they all fall away, I will not.’ And Jesus said to Him, ‘Truly, I say to you, this very night
before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times.’ But he said vehemently,(and in the
flesh), ‘If I must die with you, I will not deny you.’ And they all said the same.”
And that’s the good work of the flesh, and it always fails when the moment of trial comes. It fails
to bring glory to God and it fails to bring about His will. And you got it again, you remember, in
Abraham’s life, if you look at it, in Genesis 16:1-2: “Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, bore him no
children. She had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar; and Sarai said to Abraham, ‘Behold now, the
Lord has prevented me from bearing children; go in to my maid; it may be that I shall obtain
children by her.’ And Abram harkened to the voice of Sarai.” And that was them finding their own way
out of the difficulty. We will get you a child by one method or the other. And that tends to be the
attitude of the good works of the flesh.
And Genesis 27:5-10 comes up this time in the life of a lady. “Now Rebekah was listening when Isaac
spoke to his son Esau. So when Esau went to the field to hunt for game and bring it, Rebekah said to
her son Jacob, ‘I heard your father speak to your brother Esau, “Bring me game, and prepare for me
savory food, that I may eat it, and bless you before the Lord before I die.” Now, therefore, my son,
obey my word as I command you. Go to the flock, and fetch me two good kids, that I may prepare from
them savory food for your father, such as he loves; and you shall bring it to your father to eat, so
that he may bless you before he dies.'” And then verses 41-45: “Now Esau hated Jacob because of the
blessing with which his father had blessed him, and Esau said to himself, ‘The days of mourning for
my father are approaching; then I will kill my brother Jacob.’ But the words of Esau her older son,
were told to Rebekah; so she sent and called Jacob her younger son and said ‘Behold, your brother
Esau comforts himself by planning to kill you. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; arise, flee to
my brother Laban in Haran, and stay with him awhile, until your brother’s fury turns away.'” And
always the works of the flesh result in anything but the living spirit of God in people.
Now I don’t know if you’ve found that in witnessing in the power of your own flesh, but it never
brings sweetness and fragrance; what brother prayed about in prayer – the alabaster box of ointment
that fills the house with the fragrance. But the good work stung by the power of the flesh never
fills anything with fragrance. And God is so good to us; He gives us a sense of flatness actually.
He does. He gives us a sense of coldness and flatness at the moment. And he gives us a sense that
this is a good work of the flesh. Because it always regards itself, and of course loved ones, the
real danger of it is that if you allow the flesh to do anything, eventually the flesh will lead you
back into sin.
That’s it. That’s why at times I’m so anxious that in worship, I’d rather we’d all be quiet then
that we’d clap our hands in the flesh. Because if you clap your hands in the flesh, the next step is
doing good works for the flesh and the next step is going into sin in the flesh. And so it’s vitally
important that you refuse to allow the flesh to do any good work, just as you refuse the flesh the
permission to do its sin. Because once you allow it to grow strong again within you it’ll take back
all the ground that it lost in Calvary. And so I just think that you need to ask the Holy Spirit in
your own life, Holy Spirit, am I really obeying you? Or have I organized for myself a life of good
works here that looks like the fruit of the Spirit? And do I do things according to my own
convenience and deep, deep down do I really think that there is some good in me, and that I really
am quite a good fellow, or quite a good girl?
And loved ones, if there’s anything of that in us, it’s the flesh. And I can’t tell you how free it
is to remain free from self; free from self’s badness and free from self’s goodness. Free from the
good works of the flesh as well as free from the bad works of the flesh. Only the dear Holy Spirit,
you know, can tell you, but I would say that a fair mark of it is self-consciousness. When you begin
to be aware of how good you’re being at home; or you begin to think, “My singing is quite good.” Or,
you begin to think, “Yes, I am making a real mark for God here.” Then the moment you begin to think
that way you’re entering into the good work of the flesh.
And you might say to me, “What is the mark of the good work of the Spirit?” Freedom from
self-consciousness; the right hand does not knowing what the left hand is doing because it just
enjoys doing it. I’d point you back to those beautiful afternoons that all of us can think of – when
you went to the lake, in Ireland we would go to the seashore, or you went somewhere out for a day.
And you just lost yourself. You lost yourself to yourself. You were so wrought up in doing things.
It wasn’t all things that were for yourself. You would be helping others make their drinks or make
their sandwiches or you would be helping somebody else into a boat, or helping somebody else enjoy
themselves, but you just enjoyed it. You were free from all thought of yourself.
That is God’s dream for us day by day in our lives. And it can be yours if you’ll honor the dear
Holy Spirit because that’s where you get into the good works of the flesh. You don’t honor the Holy
Spirit. You say to yourself, “Well, I’m on the cross now. I’m crucified with Christ. Now it’s up to
me to serve God.” Never. It’s never up to you to serve God. After you’re on the cross, you’ve only
one responsibility: and that is to obey, trust and submit to the Holy Spirit. And He is a dear
person. And He will keep you on that cross and he’ll keep you free, and he’ll keep you released and
liberated. But only if you’ll honor Him continually. And loved ones, I’m preaching to myself; you
can see that. We have to respect the Holy Spirit as our master and our Lord. And the only hope of
this becoming a beautiful body of Jesus, is if each of us do in a moment what the Holy Spirit tells
us to do. Do it instantly. Only that way will we keep free from the self-righteousness and
sanctimoniousness that spoils so many bodies of Christ. And only that way will you keep free from
that Pharisaism that will destroy your witness and your ministry. So do treasure the Holy Spirit,
treasure the Holy Spirit. Don’t treasure me; don’t treasure O’Neill; don’t treasure the theories and
the doctrines. Forget it all. But treasure the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit contains everything else
and more than anything that we can get from elsewhere.
Let us pray.
Holy Spirit, we can only trust you, dear Spirit, dear friend and counselor. We can only trust you.
You alone can keep us right. Oh, blessed Spirit, I thank you for light that you’ve given me in the
past week and my good works of the flesh, and we would each pray that you would give us light. Help
us to see where we’re losing the one authentic part of Jesus’ life — spontaneous obedience. Help us
to see, Holy Spirit, that God’s not really concerned with good works and obeying laws. He’s
concerned with the spontaneous expression of His will through us in a moment of time. And oh, Holy
Spirit, will you lead each one of us into that spontaneous life? Holy Spirit, take away from us this
anxiety about tomorrow. Take away from us this tendency to think of what we’re going to do tonight.
Holy Spirit, bring us back to the beauty of the eternal present, living spontaneously in this
present moment. And oh, help us to see what a blessing we’d be to each other if we were able to give
all of ourselves every moment. Oh Holy Spirit, we would lean on you again, and we would allow you to
use us as your instruments and agents to do what God wants. Not tomorrow. Not when we design it, but
now, the moment you tell us. Holy Spirit, I intend to live that way and I believe there are many
loved ones here that intend to do it. So we would give ourselves to you so that you can save us from
the good works of the flesh for Jesus’ sake. Amen.