Case in point! I was in a convenience store yesterday. As I paid for my health food, (my caramel frosted long john), the clerk and I got into some fun banter (about my health food). I responded to his words with my own "snappy comeback". As I walked back to my car, the echo of my flesh said, "You know, you're pretty good, that was really, uniquely funny." There was nothing inherently wrong in the words that I said. Nothing was vulgar or irreverent. But the fleshly heart that it proceeded from was a cesspool of pride, the obsession to feel good about myself, to have some worth in myself that is unique to me, that is "better" than someone else. The politically and (sadly) often times, christian (note no capitalization) correct concept is "self worth".
Isaiah says of the OT people of God, the professed blessed physical nation of God, "But we are all an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags (menstrous cloths-evidence that no fruit was brought to full term): and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." Our flesh doesn't get any better. And yet, we all too often place our attention and endeavors upon trying to "defeat" our besetting sin. And that is about as effective as my new years resolutions each year to eat fewer long johns! And in the process, we fail to see the chasm of self centeredness from which even this "fleshly spiritual" endeavor springs.
"I say then, walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; AND THESE ARE CONTRARY TO ONE ANOTHER, so that you do not do the things that you wish." (Gal 5:16-17) Recall Philippians 3:3: "For we are the circumcision who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Jesus Christ, AND HAVE NO CONFIDENCE IN THE FLESH."
Our God/Man, Christ Jesus, did not come so that we might try harder to please God. He didn't come to help us squeeze our flesh into an acceptable mold. NO!!! He came in the body prepared for Him (Heb 10:5-10), the only body that completely satisfied the Rightousness and therefore the Justice of the Most High God. He continually and Eternally delights in the Will of God. Col. 2:9-10 makes it plain, "for in Him (Christ) dwells all the fullness of the Godhead BODILY, and you are complete IN HIM......"
This is why Jesus came--to Be what we could never be, and to do what we could never do. We can never be righteous enough to please God. We can never do anything that is satisfactory to God. Our "best" efforts are polluted by our fallenness! In this do we groan, awaiting the redemption of these fleshly, dying bodies. (Rom 8:23) This is why we "eat His Flesh and drink His Blood" (John 6:53-58) This is why the Lord's Supper is a celebration! The only "work" that God sanctions is "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him Whom He has Sent." And we can only do that work as He works it in us by His Spirit.
Look only at Jesus this season and all seasons. He is the Author AND PERFECTOR of our faith. (Heb 12:2) He is our Rest. (Heb 4:4-16) and we are at rest when we believe that we are complete in Him and in Him Alone.