We live in a world created by God, but fallen because of sin. Believers live in sinful bodies which house the Holy Spirit. Contained within our being are two natures, the old man born of Adam and the new man born of God at salvation. We are by nature, torn but the Lord has given us the power to live victoriously. To experience fellowship with God to the fullest, there are choices we must make.
1. We can’t worship Him with “fleshy” things.
V3 “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
2. We can’t know Him through self-righteous efforts.
V8b-10 “I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 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: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
3. We can’t be distracted by earthly things while preparing to stand before Him.
V12-14 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
4. We can’t fellowship with Him and earthly minded people.
V17-19 “mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)”
LESSON - You see within this passage a stark contrast between the things of this earth and the pleasure of fellowship with Christ. You cannot have both! If you desire real communion with Jesus, you must repent of “fleshly” religion, self-righteous effort, earthly distractions, and carnally minded people. Where’s your heart? Here or there?