“People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?” About a year after the incident in which he was stopped by police for speeding, Rodney King asked this question. Because of the tragic actions of the police the night of his arrest, King became a famous figure. He stood before the crowd on the third day of the riots triggered by the acquittal of the police officers and asked his famous question, “Can we get along?”
Well, sadly, the answer is, “Probably not.” But, shouldn’t believers, at least, be able to get along? Aren’t we supposed to have one mind and love for each other? Aren’t we supposed to be brothers and sisters, dependent on the love of God in Jesus? Shouldn’t those things count for something? Of course!
But there is a problem. Within each of us is this system of living called the flesh. The flesh serves and sees only itself. Other people are to be used or just get in the way. That’s the way the flesh was designed; and that’s why even Christians find it hard to just “get along.”
So, for the next few posts (excepting, of course, Narcissist Friday), I want to look at this thing called the flesh. I hope that it will help you as much as it helped me to study and understand what’s going on inside. It is kind of confusing, and I doubt that anyone has the final word on it, but we should be able to learn some things about why we act and feel the way we do and why relationships degenerate.
Much of what most of us have been taught is less than helpful, particularly concerning what goes on inside our heads. Many preachers tell us that we have to be in constant battle with our “sin natures.” Some say that demons are oppressing us and we have to conquer them. Others tell us that we just need more Bible memory, more quality preaching, more good works, more time in church, or more whatever. Or maybe we already have too much: television, spare time, evil friends, wrong thoughts, etc. Teachers spend a great deal of time telling us what to change to make our lives better.
But the guilt and shame don’t seem to be making much of a difference. In fact, the church has preached better performance for a long time and we aren’t getting better. Maybe something else is going on. . .