Called to Rise Above

by Ray Gonzalez

There’s Shorty, just standing . . . scoping out the morning. Where will he strike today? Like a tiger, he is smelling the air to see where he may find prey. Shorty is a local drug addict. He has been on heroin for over ten years. He washes windows at the local gas station – a good way to check out which cars are worth breaking in to.

This morning Shorty will get a $2.00 fix at about 9:00 a.m. It will only make him feel normal. After washing windows (pan-handling) he will get his midday fix at just about 12:30 p.m., this time it will cost him $5.50. he will go back to the gas station and plan the evening with his buddies. They will consider their best hit, an empty house or an unlocked car. They might break into a home and steal a VCR and sell it for $10.00. In all they might make $50.00 from stealing and selling. With this money, they will get their 10:00 p.m. fix which will hold them over until the next day.

From time to time, the police will arrest him and lock him up for a couple of weeks. Then he’s out again doing the same thing. To Shorty, life has simply become a life of instinct. He cares little about his family or what others think of him. He has lost all sense of shame. Time in jail is time wasted. It doesn’t remind him that he is more than an animal. Now, Shorty believes he is an animal, like a leopard in a jungle; so, he acts like one. It is simply his nature to steal and use drugs.

Today’s society has many Shortys, addicted, not necessarily to drugs, but addicted and doing whatever it takes to obtain their fix. It is natural for many to get an abortion, gamble, or fornicate. To others, being on top, exercising dominion over others is their addition. It is simple nature to trample over whoever gets in the way. As one relative once said as we sat at the table to eat, “Why wait for the others? Let’s dig in; after all, it’s a dog-eat-dog world.”

The Lord calls us to overcome – to pass over the human standard (Matthew 5:20). He knows the competition and the power of the flesh. Yet, he calls us to beat our bodies and to run against our passions (I Corinthians 9:27). With His help, we will win. Saying it is only natural to act like an animal is to deny the existence of God.

In the movie African Queen, with Humphry Bogart as Charley Arnot and Katherine Hepburn as Rose, there is a wonderful scene that brings the point of this article to light. After getting drunk, Mr. Arnot justifies himself; “It’s only nature that a man should take a swig every once in a while.” In turn Rose, a devout Methodist reveals her faith; “Nature, Mr. Arnot, is what we have been called to rise above.”

As God’s children, let us display His image. In all things, let us rise above the instincts of the flesh.

Well, got to lock the gates; Shorty and his buddies are on the prowl.

For Further Study

Verses to Consider

  • Psalm 32:9-10
  • Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
  • John 3:6
  • Romans 6:6-7, 11-14, 19
  • Romans 8:12-13
  • Romans 13:12-14
  • I Corinthians 6:13
  • I Corinthians 10:6-12
  • II Corinthians 5:14-15
  • Galatians 2:20
  • Ephesians 2:1-3
  • Ephesians 4:17-24
  • Ephesians 5:5-8
  • Colossians 3:1-7
  • I Thessalonians 4:3-8
  • Hebrews 12:16-17
  • I Peter 1:14-16
  • I Peter 4:1-3
  • II Peter 2:10
  • I John 2:15-17

Questions to Ponder

  1. Name some people in the Bible who acted more like animals than humans.
  2. Does realizing that others are only acting as animals make us better than they?
  3. Give reasons why people don’t rise above their animal instincts.
  4. Did God create us to fulfill the desires of our bodies? If not, for what purpose were we created?
  5. Will natural instincts lead us to heaven? Why or why not?
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