MORE THAN INSTINCT
Sunday, November 05, 2017
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“Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the LORD.” Jeremiah 8:7

When I lived in England, my family and I had a garage that swallows nested in every year. At the end of every summer, those swallows would fly south across the length of England, over the English Channel, across the length of France, across Spain, over the Mediterranean, across the Sahara Desert, down through central Africa, until they finally arrived in southern Africa. Then a few months later after the weather started to change, they would fly the entire 6000 mile trip in reverse and come right back to the same nest in our garage.

How did those swallows know their way back every year? Was it just a phenomenal memory they have or a tiny GPS installed on top of their beaks? Not quite, but it is almost as if God installed a GPS into the birds themselves. A swallow’s ability to find its way home is part of its instinct, an inherent sense of how to behave inbred in every animal.

Like animals, we also have instincts, but God created us to be ruled by a far greater governing force: His presence living in us. This was lost when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, but the work of Jesus Christ on the cross made it possible for God to re-inhabit our hearts and lives as God had always intended. Paul tells us, “For just as through the disobedience of the one man [Adam] the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man [Jesus] the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19).

Through the prophet Jeremiah, God expresses His anger and frustration over the fact that even birds knew how to function properly – they knew how to migrate and come back again without a problem – but God’s own people did not seem to know how they were supposed to live. The Israelites had the Law, but they refused to live by it. They constantly disobeyed God’s commands and refused to repent of their wickedness (Jeremiah 8:6).

The reason the Israelites could not live the way God intended is because they had repeatedly turned away from God and were therefore missing the life and direction God wanted to give them. In the same way, the Christian life is not merely believing things about God or trying to follow His rules, but about receiving the very life of God Himself, which is the fuel we are meant to run on. Just as God gave plant life seasons and animal life instinct, He gave human beings Himself by the indwelling of His Spirit to be the empowering to live how God created us to live.

PRAYER: Father, I want to live according to Your intended design. I surrender my life to You today, thankful that You will live in and through me in all I do. Thank You, Lord.


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