Well, no point in even saying sorry again for this latest gaping hole. At least I have the relief that I’m back at it! The warning from the great writers of history is still true—writing is a use-or-lose-it craft. It’s no fun, either, trying to regain the muscle after letting it atrophy.
I was listening to a study in my car earlier on the Book of John in which Jordan said something I never before heard—the curse word SH** comes from the term “ship high and transit”!
Jordan was referring to Paul’s testimony that his former life of religion was a bunch of “dung.”
In emphasizing this core revelation for individual transformation, Jordan relayed, “Can I tell you religion is the most dangerous battle you’ll ever face.”
“You can worry about the politics and what they’re doing in Washington and the economy and all these other things but the real battle today in the Dispensation of Grace is in the area of spiritual issues.
“Religion is simply a way for man to put confidence in himself, in his own flesh. Paul’s not saying, ‘Get rid of your religion because I myself never had any.’
“You know, some people oppose things because they don’t like it, but they didn’t have it to start with so they have no real familiarity with it. Paul’s saying, ‘I thoroughly understand what it is to have confidence in your flesh—I had religious flesh.’ And he said, ‘What I found is it’s worthless!’
“Notice Paul calls Satan the ‘god of the world.’ He didn’t say the king of the world, the political leader of the world, the economic force of the world.
“Satan has a religion and he seeks to propagate it. And the great battle today is not fighting the social battles and the cultural wars; it’s fighting the religious front. Until you understand that, you’re not going to be in the real battle.
“I’m not saying the other battles aren’t important; I’m saying the real battle, when you want to get down to what the core source of the real issues are, it’s the issue about a person’s relationship with his Creator or lack thereof. Religion is designed to substitute confidence in your flesh for trust in Christ.
“When Paul says ‘have no confidence in the flesh,’ your flesh is a way the Bible, especially with the Apostle Paul, describes you, yourself and your self life independent of God. Romans 7:18 says, ‘For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing.’
“Your flesh is about much more than just the meat on your bones. In I Corinthians 2 he talks about how the ‘natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him.’ Your flesh is who you are by virtue of coming from Adam and being created in the image of Adam.
“Never let somebody say you were ‘created in the image of God.’ Man was created in the image of God but you were created in the image of Adam. Genesis 5 says Adam begat sons and daughters in his OWN image. The image of God you were created in has been effaced, corrupted by sin. And the corruption of sin came to us and it’s called ‘the body of sin.’
“Our resources are not God’s resources; our identity is not the identity and purpose He gives us. Paul’s talking about trusting and valuing and treasuring who he is in himself and his ability to perform; he’s talking about pride and self-satisfaction in yourself.
“Proverbs says, ‘Every man does that which is right in his own eyes.’ Can you relate to that? We do what WE think is right. It says, ‘There’s a way that seemeth right to a man; the end thereof is death.’ Man says, ‘Makes no difference, I’m doin’ what’s right in my mind…’ and there’s a pride in that! There’s a self-satisfaction in that and that’s what religion is all about!
“If you look down in Philippians 3:7 he says, ‘But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.’ All these things in verses 4-6 he says were valuable to him. Gain is the idea of wealth, treasure. Notice he says, ‘I wasted it and profited in the Jews’ religion above many mine equals in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of traditions of my fathers.’
“You see he profited? He’s saying, ‘Those things that brought profit to me in my thinking. Those things I treasured and adored and thought were the most wonderful, solid, enriching things in my life.’
“What were they? There are a number of things but they divide into two categories. He’s going to list some ethnic and racial things—some pride of race and pride of place kinds of things. And then he’s going to list some religious things. Distinctions. Some performance things.
“Can I tell you those are the two things most people . . . those are the two things your flesh wants to glory in. It wants to glory in your race, which is another way of saying the place that you have, and then it wants to glory in religion—the performance; the achievements that it can make.
“And flesh has a tendency toward good and evil. By the way, with the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, both were bad. Your flesh has a tendency toward the lascivious, the earthy; the lust and the pull to be run by the desires that drag you downward into the earth. But you also have a bent toward aestheticism, toward the human good; toward the ability to pride yourself and satisfy yourself in doing what’s right.
“I started preaching as a teenager in an inner city mission and the first time I ever saw a drunk was when I was walking up the driveway of the Mobile Rescue Mission (in downtown Mobile, Ala.). I didn’t even know what was wrong with him. I’d never been around that kind of stuff in my home.
“Well, once I got to working awhile at the mission, I thought, ‘Wow, here’s these men and women whose lives have fallen over the cliff with alcohol and debauchery just destroying them.’
“I thought, ‘Here are people who will know for sure—nobody here will I have to convince they’re sinners.’ And, you know, I found that was just not true.
“We go down every month to the Pacific Garden Mission and you can sit there with a host of 200 people off the street who’ve come to get a meal and have to listen first to the Word of God preached and, you know what, you can go through that whole crowd and you’ll find people who’ve lost everything in life and yet they haven’t lost their pride and their self-satisfaction and the little things they can achieve in the midst of all the others to feel satisfied with themselves.
“It’s to do good and feel good about doing it. Your flesh is such a deceiver. ‘The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.’ And the moment you think you’ve done something good, and the moment you sit in relaxation and your satisfaction about what you’ve performed, ‘Let him who thinketh he stand take heed lest he fall.’
“Saved or lost, that’s where your flesh is. That’s religion and that’s why I said this is the most dangerous battle you’ll ever face. This is where the real big game is. People like to argue about prophecy and politics and all the rest of the stuff but this is the big stuff.”