Deeds of the Flesh 
By Mike Rule

I have been pondering how the exact same heart motives can boil out in either acceptable or unacceptable ways. Acceptable deeds of the flesh look good and can include good works, church activity, involvement in the things of God, and other types of satisfactory behavior. Unacceptable deeds of the flesh boil out in what is labeled as "sinful": alcoholism, immoral sexual activity, drug abuse, and other worldly but unsatisfactory behaviors. What we fail to see is that both acceptable and unacceptable deeds are rooted in the flesh, no matter how it looks on the outside.

Jesus made it clear that it is not what we do, but the heart motives behind what we do that make ANY activity clean or unclean. Don’t just clean the outside of the cup, but first clean the inside. Each of us has a need for unconditional love, total security, and complete acceptance. These needs motivate us to behave in particular ways in attempts to find fulfillment. I call this a hungry heart syndrome. When I work to gain acceptance from God or man through what I do, or attempt to kill my internal torment and pain through any type of activity (good or bad), I am still living according to the flesh. Flesh that looks good, and flesh that looks bad—it is all flesh. Both are attempts to live in the power of my soul and body rather than to walk according to the Spirit of Christ who dwells within me. Once again I am simply eating from the tree of death rather than the Tree of Life.

When we judge things exclusively by behavior, we get it wrong every time. Man looks at the external, but God looks at the heart.


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