Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Of Waves and Beetles Part 2--Lessons from Nature

This one won't be as organized (with three sermon like points) like yesterday's, but hopefully, it will make sense.

You were supposed to idendify this beetle:

This is a short description of the Bombardier Beetle

“Bombardier beetles (Brachinus spp.) inject an explosive mixture of hydroquinone, hydrogen peroxide plus several potent catalysts into a reaction chamber in the abdomen. Catalase breaks down the hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen gas. Peroxidase oxidizes hydroquinone into benzoquinone. The mixture of chemicals and enzymes volatilizes instantly upon contact with the air, generating a puff of "smoke"" and an audible popping sound. This caustic flatulence is totally controlled by the beetle, otherwise it might accidentally blow up its rear end. The explosive discharge apparently discourages predators, either by chemical irritation, heat or repugnance. The temperature of the explosive mixture of gasses and fluids is over 100 degrees Celsius, the boiling point of water.”

What’s amazing about these creatures is that all the chemicals are stored in their body at the same time. And given the right conditions, (i.e. threat of some kind) they combine into a very explosive mix. How does the beetle survive with all these volatile chemicals in its body? No one can really explain how, nor even how it makes the chemicals, not to mention (assuming evolutionary theory for a brief moment) how did random mutations and gradual change ever produce such a mix? If the volatility wasn’t so explosive, where would the advantage be? I digress… back to my point.

The volatility of the beetle is constantly inside it with the potential to be released at any time. Are not our emotions much the same way? At any moment, given the right conditions, our emotions can explode from us, hurting others or at least distasteful to those around us. This volatility is in us and many times they serve as a defense mechanism. In some manner, the beetle has the ability to control the release of these chemicals, but do we ever attain that state of control. That’s where the role of the Spirit is so vital—to give us the ability to put on and produce the fruit of the Spirit in us—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). We should be slow to become angry, slow to speak, but we must be aware of the volatility within us that can explode at any moment.

The next verse reveals something else that is a problem for us on top of our emotions, something we are supposed to have done, but still have to live with—“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

We have, according to Romans 7 and 8 plus other passages that we still are at war with the 2 natures within us. The Flesh (sinful nature) and the Spirit live in us simultaneously and battle for control of our mind, of our actions, of our spirit. They conflict sometimes with explosive results. We know what we should do, but so often do the opposite anyway. Boom!

Romans 8:5-13—“ Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

RO 8:9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

RO 8:12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation--but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

How do we live with these 2 incompatible natures together? One thing that is evident is the flesh is the one that is destructive and explosive, but the Spirit is the neutralizer—it is to counter and triumph over the sin nature. Our problem is that, rather than release the Spirit’s power in our lives, we allow the flesh to explode from us in various forms—destroying our witness, destroying our families, destroying our closeness and intimacy to each other and to God.

Are you an explosive person? Unstable, unpredictable, prone to outbursts of anger or indulgence of sin, then know that, as a believer you also carry in you the Holy Spirit with which such a life is unmixable. Allow the work of the Spirit to overcome the explosive nature in you. Let Him change you.

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