Andy Hollifield 5-26-17
Deuteronomy 32:9 As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:
2 Peter 2:12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
2 Peter 2:22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
Ephesians 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in all the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath even as others.
2 Peter 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Instinct———–(1) an inborn pattern of activity or tendency to action common to a given biological species (2) a natural or innate impulse, inclination, or tendency. (3) a natural aptitude or gift.
I began to think about this thought in church the other night; act natural. There is nothing I dislike more than a fake person. Someone that puts on an appearance for the purpose of impressing others. Someone that acts one way around me one on one and then acts different in the company of others. I try to make it a point to try to be the same no matter where I see someone. If I stop and engage in conversation with someone down at the church house, I should be able to stop and talk to them in the store. If someone doesn’t have time for me when I see them in a restaurant somewhere, I don’t want them running up to me at church acting like I am their long-lost buddy. Maybe I am just funny that way but I don’t have time for that kind of junk. Life is too short and time too precious to waste it playing games with folks that aren’t genuine.
On the other hand, although that type of behavior aggravates me terribly, I have to take into account, that is their nature. That is just how some folks are. They don’t seem to realize it or if they do they don’t seem to care. The rest of us just have to accept that is who they are. We don’t have to like it nor do we have to try to cultivate a close relationship with them. We have to accept the fact that we cannot change people to suit ourselves. People, just like eagles, hogs, and dogs, all have a nature of their own. I have often heard it said that if all of us were alike, some of us wouldn’t be necessary. That is very true. I believe that some people have a predisposed tendency to certain things. Myself, I always loved chewing tobacco and snuff from the time I first tried it at 12 years old. I had done fine without it for 12 years but after I got my first taste I was hooked. I quit and started back more times than I can count and have been quit this time since March 24, 2011. Before that I had quit one time for 5 1/2 years only to try to do it in moderation because I liked it so much but in 3 days time I was back on it like I had never stopped. Some folks could make a can of snuff last a week or a month or longer but I wasn’t one of those people. About 1 day was the best I could do. My nature didn’t allow me to only indulge in that habit periodically. My nature was different from other people’s.
Now, to my actual point. We as Christians often wind up being spiritually defeated because of fake people or just the behavior of people that we would love to change. Some are bad habits and destructive and others simply annoying and hurtful. Either way, we just have to accept people as they are. With that said, if someone’s nature needs to be changed we know the One that can do that and we can reach him through prayer. God is in the business of changing folks nature. I am one that believes that a man has an inborn desire to worship someone or something. If you look at the earliest Native American Indians or even the Australian Aborigines people, and all the way back beyond the ancient Greeks, they all had their own gods that they worshipped. Many of those gods pertained to nature itself. My point is that they had a desire to worship regardless of who or how they worshipped.
We should not allow ourselves to become so defeated by the attitudes and behaviors of others. It is their nature. We are often disappointed by the refusal of folks to attend church and fail to realize that, by nature, they are trying to fulfil the desires of the flesh. Whether it be drinking or cursing or fornication or whatever, that is their nature. In Colossians 3:5-9 Paul mentioned a few things; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, covetousness, idolatry, anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, and filthy communication, that we have to “put off”. He went so far as to say that we have to “put off” the old man and “put on” the new man. These things are not all automatically disposed of when we accept the Lord. Our flesh still desires them even though our new divine nature is opposed to them. He also taught that we have to “work out” our own salvation with fear and trembling. Not “work for” but “work out”. The difference is that once we have on the “divine nature” as mentioned in 2 Peter above, we realize that these other things must be “put off” in order for us to satisfy our new nature and live pleasing to God. As we expose ourselves to spiritual things more and more, our desire for the fleshly things diminishes. There is an old story of an indian watching 2 dogs fight and someone asked him which one would win. The indian replied, “the one I say sic ’em to”. It is quite the same with our spirit and our flesh. Paul spoke of it extensively as a battle in our members, speaking of our body, that we always have to fight. The nature we feed the most will be the dominant nature in our lives.
To sum it up, don’t be so discouraged and defeated when lost sinners act like lost sinners. They are only following their nature. We can’t make them change but we can live in a way to where they will see something in our lives that they desire more than what they have and they will want to change. It worked for us didn’t it? Someone lived an example of Godliness in front of us didn’t they? We saw or heard something in or from someone who made us want what they had worse than we wanted what we had. God changed our nature and he can change anyone else’s. Jesus even prayed from the cross, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”. If they were following their nature then and crucified Christ, what can we expect from them towards us? We should not be surprised or so disappointed when they behave as their nature dictates to them. We don’t have to like it or even accept it but if we don’t understand it, it will be disruptive to us in our walk with the Lord. If we do understand it, it will stir the compassion that God put in our hearts and cause us to want them to have what we have and lift them up in prayer.
If we as Christians have taken on Christ’s divine nature, it is our nature to live Godly and, as Paul instructed repeatedly throughout scripture, be an example in word and deed. I hope this will encourage you and help you better understand that person or those people who seem to be a “thorn in the flesh” to you because of their behavior. May God season your words with sweetness and guide you always with his Holy Spirit. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!