“Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done…and indeed all was vanity and grasping of the wind.”  Ecclesiastes 2:11

“He who abides in Me and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5

Natural is a word that has garnered a fairly positive connotation in our world today.  Natural foods are considered healthier than modified foods.  Natural processes are considered more sustaining and productive than manipulated processes.  When we say something is natural or use the adverb “naturally”, more often than not, we are inferring an accuracy and correctness to the adjoining statement.

So I want to look at some “natural” processes.  Let’s look at the natural mechanical inanimate process.  Let’s say that we are building a device or machine.  While we are constructing the device, adding pieces and parts we feel that we are primarily in control of its function.  There will come a time when it is fully completed but still normally is tested so we still feel we have control over its final state.  Yet at some point we will considered it completed at which time it will now operate with some share of its functioning happening without our input.

Let’s turn our attention to an example of the animate process of raising offspring.  The higher up the functioning scale of animals is concerned, in general, the more time and interaction parents give to their offspring.  There are two general outcomes to this parenting process.  The animal, as in birds, are eventually expected to “leave the nest” and be able to fend for themselves.  In the case of certain mammals, the offspring, sometimes only female, will stay with the animal group and in these cases the offspring maintain a subservient role most of their lives.  Now let’s look at the highest functioning, dare I use the term evolved, of the animal species, human beings.  We spend a considerable amount of time, energy and resources in the raising of our children.  Though, I guess we can’t know for certain, a uniqueness of the human process is the idea, while our children will use much of what we have taught them, that they will actually exceed our capabilities as they go out on their own.  In other words, it is a uniquely human desire that our children will be more intelligent, more successful, more affluent, more emotionally stable, more………….than we, the parents were.  One of the aspects of achieving the “greater” is a sense that they accomplished that with a level of autonomy.  Thus the natural way of things is that things made by us or things that come from our procreation should be able to be able to operate on their own.

So why discuss this?  I have no particular issue as far as any judgement concerning the appropriateness of this process in a “worldly” way.  However, I get a definite sense that this idea of autonomy is the “natural” process and therefore an appropriate and accurate process has transgressed into our thinking about our spiritual process, our appropriate relationship with Our Heavenly Father.  I very much get the sense there is an idea that is popular that ascribes to a process where we are created by God, taught the Word of God, have institutions like churches and the like from God, but then there are large sections of our life that we are responsible for.  That we are to take what God has given us and strike out on our own.  That we can and will become “better” because of God’s influence yet primarily based on our own actions, thoughts and beliefs which can be apart from God.  I believe this is an incredibly dangerous concept that I can not find any basis for in the bible.

Speaking of what is in the bible; let’s start with our Savior’s own words.  It was one of the last times he would be speaking with His disciples.  Jesus is trying to both encourage, teach and warn about the times to come.  Jesus is speaking in the context of the spirit because He knows He will soon be bodily returning to the Father.  As I have often said before, I believe that Jesus used language very intentionally.  He meant exactly what he said.  Thus He tells the disciples that they can do “nothing” apart from Him.  He tells them to abide in him; abide meaning to remain, continue, stay in Him.  He doesn’t just tell them things will go better with Jesus.  He doesn’t say, you should put me somewhere in your thinking.

Another man, a man who we are told is the wisest man ever born of earthly parents, also strives to seek the meaning of life and life’s work.  The man’s name was Solomon.  In Solomon’s undertaking to find meaning, he looks everywhere, gaining knowledge, gaining wealth, gaining power, gaining possessions, gaining free time, gaining women and every possible task “under the sun”.  His conclusion; it is all vanity.  There is no worth, no value in any of it.  He goes on to state his own conclusion of the whole matter:  “Fear God and keep His commandments for this is man’s all”. (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Dear Sisters and Brothers it may seem unnatural and it most certainly is to the world.  Yet I believe there is to be no time, no action, no thought, no deed that I am to undertake on my own.  That God’s Nature is to have us be with Him in all things, at all times.  That I don’t do this (and I most surely don’t) is when temptation and sin comes into my life.  It’s not the God needs us around for some reason but that we are completely dependent on Him.  The worldly person rebels against this.  The worldly person says the more I am successful the less I need until I need no thing from anyone else not even God.  I am self sufficient.  I am God.

The first hurdle is to become humble; to actually want to abide, at all times and in all things in Him.  Then come the hurdles of actually opening all to Him; all work, all play, all actions, all thoughts.  The more we can do this; the closer we will be to the True Natural.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we thank You that You desire that we would always be with You, at all times and in all things.  Forgive us when we stubbornly wish to go our own way and exclude you from our lives.  Keep us from the inevitable evil that will come during those times and mercifully lead us back to you we pray.  That the more we abide in You the more our lives will be lives of praise to Your Name.  We pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen