It is interesting to me that in the animal kingdom, each species seems to understand the God-given role it plays in the natural world, each type innately understands its essence and cooperates with the messaging of its DNA. As a former horse owner, I’ve observed that my horses knew how to be horses. They desired and ate the foods their bodies were designed to digest and ignored those they could not use. They are herbivores whose stomachs are made to digest a small amount of food but in continuous supply. In fact, they spend an average of 16 hours a day grazing. Horses hooves were designed to walk miles each day, necessary in the wild for finding enough food. If a horse is confined for many hours per day, its hooves will lack the proper circulation necessary for optimum hoof health and become susceptible to disease. When a foal is born, it is able to stand and nurse usually within an hour of birth, readying it for flight from predators if necessary. Horses learn to communicate with one another using a system of signaling unique to them. All of these things are either innately known by a horse, or are taught to them by their mothers and herd members.

In comparison, we Christians often live in an identity crisis. We learn in Col. 3:3 that believers have been given a new identity, or DNA if you will, by Christ’s finished work of redemption. “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God”. This new DNA is God’s beautiful perfect design to transform us into the image of Christ and informs our role and placement as His church. Our old DNA is our “old man” or our flesh nature, by which we are very distracted from our true identity. This old nature is characterized by the list of works of the flesh found in Galatians 5:19-21: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies. Colossians 3:5 lists sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, and verse 8 continues with anger, wrath, malice, slander and obscene talk.

This is starkly contrasted by the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Colossians 3:9,12-1 commands to “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” (The new DNA!) “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another…forgiving one another…put on love which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts….be thankful…let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.”

Since Sunday, I have had a line from the sermon rattling around in my head. Pastor Rich said, “Oftentimes we go to war with the world around us rather than the world that is within us.” I can see in my own life how it is easier to demand the world around me to do what I am not willing to allow the Holy Spirit to accomplish within me. It takes diligence, perseverance, obedience to the Word of God, and submission to the Holy Spirit to war with the old DNA in me. That old nature gets put to death by filling it with Christ’s nature. Having my mind filled with the Word and asking the Holy Spirit what His thoughts and desires are for what’s next is the only way I have found to keep the new DNA informing my life. How important is this? More important than life itself.

Proverbs 3:13-15 “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her.”