This is the final post of the Throw Back Series. I hope you have enjoyed my journey through some old thoughts. I’m working on something new for my next post. But until then, this post was when my wife and I returned from a trip to Southeast Asia. I hope you are encouraged!
The expression of Jesus Christ organically is a life-long journey, I am learning. I believe it is my responsibility as a believer and follower of Christ to lead my family towards fitting into the Body of Christ. I believe we all have been born with natural ways of doing things. I believe it is my responsibility to be a part of another way of doing things. A couple of huge questions in this pursuit for me have become, “Why do I do what I don’t want to do? Can I keep from doing what I want to do?”
Let me be sure to differentiate the “I’s” in the question above. The first “I” is my natural person and mindset. The second “I” is my other person and mindset. The third “I” is my other person and mindset. The fourth “I” is my natural person and mindset.
Some guy named Paul asked similar questions. He wrote a letter to some of my Family members in Italy. He said, “I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate.” Very similar thought of what my current journey is.
I just got back from Southeast Asia. It was very interesting to be able to fellowship with other people that believed similarly to me. While being with these people I realized a lot of them could not read. A LOT of them. If they can’t read, how can they know about this other way of living? Reading and education provides one with opportunities to learn and grow in ways illiterate people can’t, right?
I’m not so sure this is a proper perspective to hold fast to.
I believe it is our job, as believers, to carry the message of Christ to people of all tribes and languages. “Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard come through the message about Christ.” When Paul said this, he was talking to people who believed in this other way of living and thinking. He was talking about people who heard this message and did nothing with it…continued to live out of their natural way of living and thinking. This conversation leads me to a thought.
Have you seen the Nature Series by BBC that shows many different aspects of nature? It is an amazing series of DVD’s that show beautiful angles and perspectives of nature. Nature is something we all get to experience. In this video series you get to follow a herd of geese and wildebeests, among others.
Why do these wildebeests run away from predators?
Why do they migrate in millions to a spot in the desert?
Why do they then go back to the bush in Africa?
Through this natural instinct, animals all over the planet survive and thrive throughout their lifespan. At the end of their time on the planet, death awaits and their seed is passed on to the next generation. Another interesting thing is that as poachers and poor living conditions have happened over time, animals have less and less a chance to develop and grow and survive. Some animals have become extinct or are on their way to extinction.
We breath in naturally. We breath out naturally. Humans share this instinct with the animal kingdom. If you don’t breath, you don’t live. That is an obvious natural instinct in humans. If left alone, what is our natural instinct when life’s decisions come our way?
This brings me back to this “other” way. Not my natural instinct, but my Spiritual Instinct. Paul talks about this as well:
For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.
Romans 8:5-6 (NASB)
The Natural Instinct we all have leads us to death, just like the wildebeests. We may be able to have kids and pass on our legacy and heritage to our next generation, but we still arrive at the same location. Death.
How in the world can we have life and peace?
If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
Romans 8:9-11 (NASB)
What is the mind-set of the Spirit or the Spiritual Instinct?
So then, brothers, we are not obligated to the flesh to live [by the natural instinct], for if you live [by the natural instinct], you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons.
Romans 8:12-14 (HCSB)
The next logical question for me would be, how do you attain this Spiritual Instinct? I believe that is a pursuit that a lot of people are on. Being in Southeast Asia I was able to witness a Buddhist ritual ceremony as well as many Animist ceremonies in temples and such. And to be honest, I was able to witness a Protestant gathering that provided many similar rituals. Very similar journeys of doing things to try to attain some sort of spiritual level of accomplishment. These journeys are definitely TOWARDS the Spirit, however they are from the Natural Instinct. What ways can I figure out how I can get to God?
Instinctually we make a list of things to do in a natural progression that we can fit in a binder or a text message based off of a plan or map that if you start here, you too can find your destination of happiness. Is this journey something that everyone can be molded into? Does every human have the same exact instinct?
Can we be saved from this Natural Instinct? Knowing that the Natural Instinct’s destination is death, can we find salvation from this? Can we have peace in our heart that life is attainable? How do we live another way, with another instinct?
The righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend to heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” But what does it say? “The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” — that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
Salvation from what? I believe it is salvation from our Natural Instinct. Salvation from death. Salvation from a predictable way of living that is based off of decisions that come from our Natural Instinct.
What would life look like if we didn’t live it through our Natural Instinct, but through our Spiritual Instinct?
Perhaps we would deny our Natural Instinct of strength and power by not nourishing it. Instead we would nurture our Spiritual Instinct. What things about this world demonstrate the author of the Spiritual Instinct?
I think of cells.
Red blood cells. Cheek cells. Cardiac cells. Intestinal cells. Skin cells.
All of these cells are a part of different systems in the body. There is the circulatory system, digestive system, skeletal system, etc. Each system reminds me of wildebeests. All of the cells in that system work together towards a common goal. The circulatory system gets oxygen inhaled into your nose to your lungs to your blood, back to your lungs and back to your nose to exhale. This system helps you breath. Naturally. Digestive system helps you digest. Naturally. The skeletal system helps provide support and protection for your body. Naturally.
If you have a body with all of these cells and all of these systems ready to go, but there is no life in them what happens? Still birth. No life. Death. There has to be something more for these cells to function and work together for the body. There has to be a source of life for these cells and systems. This is where the Spirit comes in. The Spirit indwells the person, the cells. The old body that worked out of Natural Instinct towards death now has an indwelling of the Spirit. This body is dead. However, the Spirit is alive!
You get to choose.
Die through your body. Natural Instinct.
Live through the Spirit. Spiritual Instinct.
At first it is very difficult to live by the Instinct of the Spirit. The Spirit isn’t necessarily loud. The Natural Instinct of wildebeests is very loud! Everyone is doing it. We are running from predators. We are migrating. We are drinking from this stream, going here or there.
But to live by the Instinct of the Spirit takes time.
It takes focus. (on Christ)
It takes trying. (in Christ)
It takes abiding. (in Christ)
The Instinct of the wildebeest is Natural. The Instinct of the Savior from the way of the wildebeest is Spiritual.
I would encourage you to view your life as an Instinct. How are you living? If you are living Naturally and okay with it, remember the destination. If you are looking for life, remember how to align with the Spirit: believe in your heart that Jesus was raised from the dead and say out loud to your family and friends that Jesus is your Lord. You will be saved from your Natural Instinct and on your way to living through a new Spiritual Instinct.
Being a cell as part of a system in the body provides the cell the opportunity to function to help the body be all that he/she can be. In the body of Christ, be a part of a group of people that are helping express Christ and functioning to help the Body be all that She can be.
In that way, in that truth, in that life will there be a reduction of the Natural Instinct and an incrementalization towards completely living by the Spiritual Instinct.
Now, about those geese…