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Survival Instinct

August 11th, 2011

“I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless, I live.” Galatians 2:20 KJV

“Spiritual life comes, not by survival at any cost by any means, but in willing sacrifice.”

My thoughts today are about “survival instinct.”

People have an amazing instinct for life. No effort is spared to avoid harm and extend life, without regard to cost or other considerations. Innately, each person knows they were born for life not death, even eternal life! Solomon wrote, “God has also set eternity in the hearts of men.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV. Death is an imposition that sin and disobedience imposed into our world from the beginning.

Your natural instinct is self-preservation, whatever the accommodation you have to make to anything or anyone else. Did you know that your body takes drastic steps to survive? The “fight or flight” response is one of those instincts; when faced with stress or danger, a biological trigger helps a person decide whether to stay and fight or whether to flee the danger. Both are mechanisms for survival.

When you are endangered, the “brain’s hypothalamus is activated, releasing a series of chemical releases and nerve cell responses that prepares you for surviving the impending threat. Adrenaline is released into the blood stream, where your heart rate increases and oxygenated blood is pumped more quickly into your muscles and limbs. Your awareness, sight, and impulses all intensify and quicken to facilitate your odds of survival.”

The problem is that your natural, survival instinct conflicts with a greater spiritual principle. God made you to love and cherish life, but not for yourself alone. Life that is lived for the moment only, or your pleasure, or for yourself alone is a life not worth living. Paul had a clear priority when he wrote, “My life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus . . the work of telling others . . about God’s wonderful kindness and love.” Acts 20:22-24 NLT. Make your life worth something worthwhile that touches eternity.

Spiritual life comes, not in survival at any cost and by any means, but in willing sacrifice. In 1707 Isaac Watts wrote, “Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were a present far too small; Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all.” When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, 1707. “If you try to keep your life for yourself you will lose it. But if you give up your life for Me, you will find true life.” Luke 9:23-24 NLT.

Jesus said you save your life by giving it to God; that is counter-intuitive to everything that is natural to you. Yet this is the promised result that the apostle Paul discovered, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 NIV.

My prayer for you today is to invest your life in spiritual pursuit of eternal value.

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