Thoughts of...Second Nature
The born-again believer has two natures, the nature of Adam and the nature of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:44-45).
We are physically born and spiritually stillborn with the fallen, worldly nature of Adam (Gen 2:15-17, Gen 3:1-7, Gen 3:17-19). This first nature is sinful and corrupt, characterized by love of self, self-centeredness, misery, discontent, condemnation, and defeat (Gal 5:19-21, Matt 15:10-20, 1 Cor 6:9-10). As such, by that nature, man is born separated from God (James 4:4).
We get a second nature, the nature of Jesus Christ, upon our spiritual re-birth by grace through faith in Him (John 3:3-7, Eph 2:8-9). His nature is holy, righteous, self-less love, merciful, gracious, slow to anger, and of great kindness (Gal 5:22-23, 1 Cor 13:4-8, Joel 2:13).
The two natures are contrary one to the other (Gal 5:17, Rom 8:5-8) and a battle rages continually as to which nature will control our heart and mind. The Word of God calls us to walk by the Spirit and not by the flesh (Gal 5:16, Gal 5:24-25). Even the Apostle Paul found that easier said than done (Rom 7:14-24).
So how do we walk by the Spirit in victory (Rom 7:25, Rom 8:1)?
First of all, we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor 5:7). Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb 11:1). Since God’s ways and thoughts are so much higher than ours (Is 55:8-11) and His knowledge infinitely vast (Rom 11:33-34), we cannot approach God on what we know (Ps 139:6). Besides, what little we do know makes us proud (1 Cor 8:1) and God hates pride (Prov 6:16-17, Prov 8:13). Therefore, we must by faith empty our vessels of dishonor in order to be cleansed and made useful as a vessel of honor (2 Tim 2:20-22). As we humble ourselves before God and submit ourselves to His will (James 4:6-7), we believe by faith, we receive by faith, and we walk by faith (Gen 15:6).
Secondly, we walk in victory like we walk to the end of the block – one step at a time. As we take captive all of our thoughts (2 Cor 10:3-5) and submit our bodies to the holiness and righteousness of Jesus Christ (Rom 6:3-14, 1 Thes 4:1-7), we resist temptation of our first nature by the tempter (James 4:7-8). The first victory, no matter how little, makes the second victory a little easier. Each victorious step makes the subsequent step easier. Each time we resist our first nature and surrender to our second nature, our resistance is stronger the next time the first nature rises (James 1:12).
Walking in the Spirit. First, walk by faith, receiving the nature of Christ by faith (2 Peter 1:3-7). Second, walk one step at a time; there are no short cuts in a walk with the Lord. With determined perseverance and diligence, our first nature will take a back seat and our second nature will become “second nature” (2 Peter 1:10).