Intricacies of Natures

My sister was having some stomach upset a couple of days back. As an ardent believer in water therapy I suggested she took some glasses full. It was quite obvious she wanted an immediate solution and one would think any suggestion would be gladly welcomed and applied. Odd was it however that she didn’t even seem to bulge at first at the suggestion. She just sat squirming in pains, expecting some show of sympathy from the rest of us. Even when presented with a glass of water, she just stared at it. I tried convincing her in different ways to gulp down the water but she just sat still without a response. Finally she drank two glasses and within a few minutes felt relieved.

This isn’t really about water, though you should be thankful for the extra tip in dealing with some cases of stomach upset. The scenario got me again fascinated by the intricacies of the human nature. A lot of times we know or we are told what is good for us, but weird is it that we often a times don’t heed. It’s quite mind boggling. I tried thinking it through but just couldn’t make any sense of it.

And then some lines from a book I read many years ago jumped out of the memory stack. In her book, Shadow of the Almighty, Elisabeth Elliot quoted an excerpt from the journal of her husband and martyr missionary, Jim Elliot. It seems Jim was in such a position as I find myself today, wondering why we could consciously or unconsciously reject that which is good, especially for us. Jim wondered questioning, ‘Why must all be pushed and driven to that which can only do them good, even in the field of secular knowledge? I see that the heart rebels at all light, not only at the knowledge of God.’ Quite interesting!

It stands as one great mystery how that a man finds and knows what is good for him but for some reason feels reluctant or even bluntly refuses to accept it or do it. If looking at it from another angle then we could say a man knows what could destroy him but yet marches on towards it. It is quite difficult to reconcile.

In the light of Jim’s words, education is good and one would feel anyone given the opportunity would treasure it. But reverse is the case, not just in underdeveloped nations which we could crave the indulgence due to ignorance, but even in developed nations built on the basis of knowledge and such values. Cases such as obesity have become issues of social concern in some parts of the world, not just because people are forced to eat the wrong things, but because people somehow ignore guidance on proper nutritional values and physical activities. Even more alarming are the habits of smoking, alcoholism, etc. While herbs and greens are ignore, even while out rightly quoted by God to say they are good for food, we choose to take down food and drinks that add nothing but more toxic waste to our bodies. The right food to eat, drinks, physical activities, decisions might not always be tasty, sweet, easy, and as a matter of fact, it happens that most of the time they are not, but we ought to know and act on the fact that they are good.

On the spiritual side of things we know that somewhere in the heart of a great many Christians is the desire to know the reason why they were created and fulfill it to the later. But do they go find out how to know and follow God’s will? Very few do. I have been in meetings where people shared testimonies of living in divine health without taking any form of medications for years. It’s been so alarmingly disappointing that though quite impressed, very few people ever get bugged to realize that it could also be their own reality through Christ who healed us through the Cross. We hear of the power of evangelizing, speaking in tongues, communion, etc., but so very few make a move towards these practices. It is fascinating.

The Apostle Paul’s experience while trying to explain the relationship between the Old Testament Law and sin in his letter to the Romans in the seventh chapter resonated to mind. In the nineteenth verse, he exclaimed, “When I want to do good, I don’t. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway.” Here he points us to one of the many consequences of the fall of man. The consequences of the fall of man really go beyond spiritual. They are as physically damaging as they are spiritually. Doing what is good or bad really goes beyond the will. It is no more a battle of the will as it is a battle of natures. The flesh nature produces nothing good. As a matter of fact, Jeremiah 17:9 ranks it to be deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. The final part of that verse is a question that in the words of the New Living Translation version goes thus, “Who really knows how bad it is?” A lot of us feel like we do anyway. But we fool no one. Without the Spirit of God in us, we could be the greatest of thieves, murderers, fornicators etc. waiting to be discovered.

This is part of the great exposure of the helplessly and hopelessness of man in a carnal state. As a result of the fall, it seems like man didn’t just die spiritually, in man also died the power and will of positivity, of giving life and adding value, of doing and pursuing good. Just as death is birth of a new form of life, man seems to have instead gained the ability to just self-destruct, not just himself, but everything around him.

Thank God Jesus came and offered hope and restoration to the original plan. In Him and through His Spirit living in us and through the continuous process of renewing our minds, we receive renewed power to live the fullness of His life. This should serve to bring to the surface again our need and dependency on the Spirit of God. The moment we stop relying on Him to do things based on our feelings, wisdom, right then, though it might appear to us we’re doing fine, we might all possibly be walking into our doom. It has been proven by scripture and confirmed by the unthinkable atrocities perpetrated by men like ourselves how dangerous a man walking in his natural elements can be. And that is why I personally have issues with some form of motivational talks that charge people to be themselves, be strong, be this, be that! I wonder, be yourself? Your desperately wicked, hopeless, good for nothing self? Be strong with what strength? That is talk for another day, but you could possibly play out the details of the result of such talk.

The Bible couldn’t be clearer when it put it without mincing words in Romans 8:6, that “To be carnally minded is death.” And that is why if we are to truly live, we must live the life of the Spirit, basing all on God’s infallible Word. More than ever, we need to constantly keep our minds renewed through God’s Word. We really cannot afford to trust and depend on the wisdom and strength of our flesh and minds. If every decision is going to be about what we feel, see, hear, taste, smell, we are as good as toast. Furthermore, like Paul in his first letter to the Corinthian Church (9:27), we have to discipline our bodies to keep it under subjection to what is really good.

And again today I come to realize, that it isn’t necessarily what I like doing that I should do, or is it what I like eating I should eat. It isn’t necessarily what I like watching that I should watch. I shouldn’t stay home because I don’t feel like going to church or sleep because I don’t feel like praying. And this really is what maturity is to some good extent. Paul again in 1 Corinthians 6:12 (NLT) said, “You may say, ‘I am allowed to do anything.’ But I reply, ‘Not everything is good for you.’ And even though ‘I am allowed to do anything,’ I must not become a slave to anything.”

I must do the right thing even when it isn’t comfortable. I mustn’t do or not do things because I feel or don’t feel like it, but because it is the right thing to do. It isn’t all I want that I really need and it isn’t what I need that I want. What I am doing might not be what I need to do and what I need to do might not be what I want to or am doing. When we thus continually examine our every move and decision, we will more likely add more value to our lives.

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