"For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father."
Isn't it interesting when people talk about religion as the opiate of the people, and obedience as being blind? A woman at work said to me, before she knew that I was religious, that "any thinking person" knew that religion was a farce. It actually drives me crazy when people say things like that... assuming because I can think that I must not believe. Insanity. I mean, seriously... which is easier? Obedience, or disobedience? We say the most bizarre things. We call people "unnatural" when they are actually being incredibly natural. We think we are independent and unique when we rebel against God, when really we are just giving in to pretty basic, natural instincts. God asks us to be a peculiar people, not an average people. The challenge of our lives is to believe and love and give in a world where those things are difficult... and in a body whose nature is immediacy, not eternity. A friend of mine commented to me the other day that converts seem to be a lot stronger in the church than people who grew up in it. That is true for some people, and I think the reason is that they realize what it takes a little more. They can see the difference from the world more starkly, and see the change in themselves more readily. God asks everything of us... he separates us from the memories of our Spirit lives, and places us in a world prone to evil... in a body prone to evil... and then says "be good." And he gives us the power to be good, and he provides appropriate breaks when we are exhausted from the fight... but it is a fight. A fight, even with ourselves... to become good. To invite God in, to let him change our hearts. The natural man is an enemy to God. To be his friend, we have to work. To reunite with him and to become like him, we have to work, we have to give... we have to learn. And the things that we learn are incredible things... sweeter than anything else there is. And the rewards for learning it all are above any joy... but it isn't at all about following the crowd, about being in the club, about popularity or being a "thinking person." it is about learning to make choices even when they are hard to make. it is about learning to give of ourselves when we don't feel like we have anything to give. it is about learning to be responsible in an irresponsible world. All that sounds kind of icky... but it is also learning to have fun doing it. :) To find the joy of life instead of the rush you get when you engage in your current addiction. It's about finding out who we are... not in the sense of experimenting and seeing how messed up we can get... but in following the clues and discovering our spiritual selves that we have become strangers to by coming to this world. In reality... the heroes are the ones who can overcome themselves, not the ones who let their bodies lead them where they will. Thinking people *can* think about God. :) And, luckily... God helps us overcome ourselves, our personal "natural man" and helps us learn to trust him more than it... helps us to become joyful rather than jaded... hopeful rather than hateful... perfect rather than perverse. If we want to be rebellious today... let's rebel against the social custom of disobedience, and find a way to see the spiritual side. :)