The apostle Paul devotes two chapters of his letter to the Church at Rome to what is natural. Romans 7 provides a personal confession by Paul of what he knows is right but getting his body to do this is a completely different story, Romans 7:15-18. The next chapter reveals the internal struggle between your fleshly desires and God’s Spirit, Romans 8:5-8. When your mind wanders, you’ll end up doing what’s natural.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [[p]cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also]. 25 For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting], Matthew 16:24-25.
Frank Peretti introduced me to the spiritual realm through his series of books on what life would be like if we could see the ongoing battle between angels in demons. Piercing the Darkness and This Present Darkness opened my mind to this tug of war between the natural and supernatural, Galatians 5:16-18. The apostle Paul likely provided Peretti the inspiration for his books in Ephesians 6:10-20. When prayers cease, the Devil takes the upper hand.
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life [his blessed [q]life in the kingdom of God]? Or what would a man give as an exchange for his [blessed] [r]life [in the kingdom of God]? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory (majesty, splendor) of His Father with His angels, and then He will render account and reward every man in accordance with what he has done, Matthew 16:26-27.
Based upon the passage above, Jesus expects his followers to neglect the natural, any fleshly desires. Jesus set the example in Philippians 2:5-9, laying down his life to take away the sins of the world. Turning the other cheek when someone hits or hurts you isn’t natural. Nor is forgiving someone who transgresses against you over and over again, Matthew 6:13-15. Nonetheless, until you are born again spiritually, John 3:3-5, neglecting what is natural will be a losing proposition. Success is the process of arriving to faith.
by Jay Mankus