Moving into more of God is difficult for every Christian. In this message we are going to discuss the most difficult aspect of spiritual advancement. The opposition we face is very deceptive because it lies within us. Self is our greatest hindrance to moving into more of God. Our flesh-nature does not desire the things of God. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that you cannot do the things that you would. Galatians 5:17. The natural man does not even have the ability to be subject to God. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. Romans 8:6-7. A very important key to overcoming this internal problem is found in Paul’s epistle to the Philippians.
Philippians 3:7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
In order to move into more of Christ, Paul considered things that were gain to him as loss. Has the Lord met your heart in ways that were a blessing to you? Those are the things that are gain to you, and those are the things that Paul counted as loss. Even your first relationship with the Lord needs to be abandoned so that you can move into a new and higher relationship with Him. He takes away the first, that He may establish the second. Hebrews 10:9.
Since we have learned the principle of breaking bonds, we can break the bonds with our present realm that we may move into something more of God. We cannot move into more of Him without forsaking the lesser. There is no growth without a change in relationship.
The way of ministry is changing. We are not going to minister in the way we have in the past. We are not going to think the way we have in the past. If we do we will be living in the past instead of what God is bringing forth now.
Philippians 3:8a Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord…
We are contending for a knowledge of Christ that lies before us, a knowledge that we do not have at the present time. “Oh, but I like the knowledge of Christ that I have now. I want to hang on to that.” Many Christian organizations have done that. They built fences around their beliefs saying, “This is our statement of faith. This is what we believe and we’re sticking to it. It was good enough for our fathers and it is good enough for us.” Knowledge that is unprogressive loses its life; it corrupts and breeds worms. There is a knowledge of Christ Jesus and an excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. Let’s move on to the higher knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord.
Philippians 3:8b …for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.
Count it as dung! “Well, I know I have to move into the next level. So, I guess I’ll have to leave this present level.” And with reluctance you lay it aside. No! Count it as dung! Do you remember Lot’s wife? She liked Sodom and she was reluctant to leave. Her heart was drawn to take another look, and she was turned into a pillar of salt. What does the pillar of salt indicate? Salt destroys the productiveness of fields. If you don’t want to be barren, count it as dung! What we have been moving in has been something of God, but if we hang on to it instead of moving on into the next realm the pillar of salt principle will take over and we won’t be able to produce anything of the Lord. So, how should we think of this present level of ministry? Paul says, “Count it as dung!”
Philippians 3:9 And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
Notice that the righteousness we need does not come by faith in Christ; it comes through the faith of Christ. It is not our faith but the faith of Christ working through us that makes the difference. Ministry must change from us trying to do the will of God to the Lord working His will through us.
Philippians 3:10 That I may know Him…
You could say, “But I know Him.” It isn’t that you do not know the Lord at all, but your present knowledge of the Lord is inadequate on the next level. Also, when you refuse to move into the next level your present knowledge of the Lord becomes inadequate on your present level. You continue to have your same knowledge of the truths and spiritual principles, but they no longer have life in them. You can stay where you are, continue to minister as you have and feel good about it, but there won’t be life in it as there once was.
Philippians 3:10 That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection…
How can you know the power of His resurrection? You know it by His resurrection life coming forth within you.
Philippians 3:10 That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.
This is where your flesh nature reacts and rebels to the will of God. Knowing the Lord and spiritual advancement is rather appealing until you begin experiencing His sufferings and being made conformable unto His death. This is where the great end-time battle takes place. I Corinthians 15:26 says that the last enemy to be destroyed is death and Romans 8:6 says that the carnal mind is death.
Being born again involves much more than being forgiven of sins. The born again experience is a change of nature. It is His life coming forth in us, and the greatest opposition to that is self. Our self-life wants to rule and reign; it does not want to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The Lord cannot rule and reign in us while self is on the throne. In order to know Jesus Christ as the Lord in us, we must know the fellowship of His sufferings and be made conformable unto His death. We cannot reign with Him until He reigns in us, and that requires a death to self. It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him: if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him. II Timothy 2:11-12.
Inherent within us is a self-preservation instinct. It is that which digs its heels in and opposes the Lordship of Christ in us. Victory over self is obtained only by a wholehearted submission to the Lord. Only He can change our sinful nature is true. Our responsibility is to hunger and thirst after righteousness. It has to be total. Sympathy for our sinful nature will make us a pillar of salt. Deny self, take up your cross, and follow the Lord. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it. Matthew16:25. There is only one way to overcome the enemy of self – count it as dung!
Copyright © 2003 by Henry DuBose