Part of entering into rest is learning to step back and look at our situation practically and objectively. We need to remind ourselves of the restrictions that God has allowed in our lives, such as our physical limitations, temperament, personal history, and flesh patterns. This will hopefully keep us from blowing things out of proportion. For instance, maybe you’ve had to miss sleep in order to finish a work project. You find yourself short-tempered with your co-workers and critical of yourself and those around you. Don’t assume that there is a hidden wound! Though there may well be, it is just as likely to be a physiological reaction to physical stress (lack of sleep). Step back and assess what the stresses are in your life from a practical perspective, then ask God for His perspective: “God, is there a wound you want to heal here or is this just from being sleep-deprived?” The answer may be both, but at least you will be responding according to the truth of the situation. You will then not only be able to apologize to those you’ve been rude to, if necessary, but you can let yourself off the hook as well by depending on God to either bring you healing or provide you instruction on the practical matters, such as how to improve your work or time management habits.
God’s purpose is to teach us in practical terms how to walk in this life in freedom from the influence of the world, our flesh and the devil. That doesn’t mean that He removes us from their influence, or that He removes them from this earthly realm. It does mean that as we learn to walk in confident victory day-by-day we become impervious to their influence, like brushing the dirt off of our shoes. This is one of God’s major goals, and He spends 24 hours of every day doing nothing but thinking about us and arranging our lives and circumstances to draw us into perfect union within our being and complete unity with Him.
Another of God’s jobs now is to consume our flesh. It is particularly important to remember that this is His job, not ours, and that He is always working on this. Our flesh is the only thing that truly stands in the way of our resting and relaxing in our new identity, and it is the only thing that interferes with God’s life working in and through us. So it is His priority to consume the flesh, though because of His love for us, and because He knows how fragile we are, He doesn’t strip us of all our flesh at once… we just couldn’t stand it. So He’s got His own time-table, and we can rest assured that He’s working on what’s most important to Him, though it may not be what we want Him to be working on. It’s also reassuring to know that by the time He makes us aware of an aspect of the flesh He’s working to consume, the vast majority has already been dealt with, so we’re involved only in the bonfire of victory.
Remember here that God, though He hates the flesh, doesn’t hold it’s presence against us. He knew from the very beginning that we would create the flesh that we’re contending with today. From the very beginning He has been arranging circumstances to expose our flesh, so that we can receive healing and enjoy having our needs met.
We are on God’s side in this; who we truly are — spirit beings — is in full agreement with what God is doing; but flesh doesn’t want to die, and our soul has never been this way before. Here we cannot be reminded enough to be patient with ourselves and with God — God Is Love, and He Is a Consuming Fire! He will finish what He’s started! Jesus will put His finger on what stands between us and knowing God, which is eternal life. Though we often don’t understand what He’s doing, we come to understand that although there is a way that seems right to us, its end result brings separation from the things of God. We cannot expect God to share His dominion and authority with our flesh.