Philippians 3:3 “for it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh”
Colossians 2:11 “in Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ”.
From our text, we have a view of what circumcision is. Simply put, circumcision is the removal of the flesh. Circumcision is to cut off the confidence of the flesh. It is to cut off the natural strength. It is the removal of once dependability on self so that we don’t glory on our flesh but in Christ Jesus. What should be the result of those who are circumcised? Not a circumcision made with hands. They are the one who worships by the Spirit of God and put no confidence in the flesh.
Circumcision focuses on man’s ability, his natural strength. What is the flesh? Simply put, the flesh is self-effort; the flesh is the self. The flesh talks about “my” ability; it makes self the center of focus. Whenever we try to do things by our self we give room for the flesh to operate. The flesh puts emphasis on what “I can do”, it takes away our attention from the Spirit and all that God has made provision to help carry out His work here on earth. As a member of the Body of Christ, you have a role to play and that role can’t be fulfilled by the flesh, by human efforts and strategies. You are not meant to do God’s work by the leading of the flesh but rather by the leading of the Spirit.
Philippians 3:3 says “…we who worship by the Spirit of God…” worship in this passage speaks of the believer ministering unto God in whatever capacity. This tells us that there is worship that comes by the Spirit of God and there is also worship that comes by the flesh. Only the worship that comes by the Spirit is pleasing to the Father and not of the flesh. Do you know why? Romans 8:8 say “those who are in the flesh cannot please God”. You can’t please God by yourself, it takes the Spirit of God. Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:23-24 “yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit…God is a spirit, and His worshippers must worship in spirit…”
As believers, everything we do here on earth must come from the Spirit and not of our self, even in our service to God and His people. Many believers have the “I can handle it” mentality. They don’t see the need for God’s help even in the minute details of their activities. Not depending on God is to put confidence in your flesh. They feel they are bothering God and that He has many things to deal with. Who said so! He cares about every detail of your life, to the extent that the hairs on your head are numbered! Who does that?
You have read from the Scriptures that “husbands love your wives….” (Ephesians 5:28), and also “children, obey your parents in the Lord…” (Ephesians 6:1). The question is, how do you as a husband love your wife? Or as a child, how do you obey your parents? You see, what distinguishes us from the people of the world is that they rely on their effort to do these things, they don’t see the need for God to help them love, but you as a believer, do you love by human effort? God has given us His Spirit, the Helper, so we don’t have to rely on our effort but rather look to Him for help. Our effort will continue to fail us.
As a minister of the Gospel, do you initiate something by your own idea? Do you do God’s work by your strength? Acts 5:38 “therefore, in this present case I advise you leave these men alone. Let them go. For if their purpose is of human origin, it will fail” In whatever capacity you are functioning in the Body of Christ, nothing is to be initiated by you but rather from the Father. You must not allow your flesh to dominate in your walk with God but rather be led by the Spirit (see Romans 8:14).
There are believers who often trust God at the front door. But at the same time prepare a way of escape through the back door, just in case He is not on time. But the good news is that “those who look to Him are radiant; there faces are never covered with shame” (Psalms 34:5). Hebrews 12:2 says “let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…” the more we fix our eyes on Jesus and not our self, the more we are transformed. He enables us for the work.
One way to overcome a weakness is by you not focusing on “what I can do”, that is you scheming and plotting, putting confidence on your methods, your “to do” list but rather rely on the Helper to guide you through. I would to God that the eyes of our heart be enlightened to understand that by our flesh we cannot please God and that our eyes be opened to all that God has freely given us so as to make the best use of it.
This is where our strength fails when we focus on ourselves and take our eyes off Jesus.