Are you an Animal?

“He is just an animal.” That is not a very nice thing to say. However, sometimes it is not far from the truth. Sin is sub-human. Think of how Professor Weston becomes the “Un-man” in C.S. Lewis’ Perelandra or think of how J.R.R. Tolkien’s Smeagol mutated into Gollum.

God created us in His image. Not in the image of a dog sniffing the air for food or…. God made us to resemble Himself, morally and spiritually. The more sin we live in, the less we are being what God created us to be, and the closer we are to being animals. The way of the fool is the way of the animal: living on instinct and unaware of higher forms of reality.

Are you an animal? That is a strange question. But the Bible talks about people behaving like “irrational animals, creatures of instinct” (2 Peter 2:12). It says that these people have their belly as their god; that is, they instinctively pursue what they crave and their thoughts rise no higher than the earth (Phil. 3:19). Actually, since the fall, that is our default position (Eph. 2:1-3). I, you, John Doe and Jane Doe—everyone—is naturally desperate.

There is a lot wrong with us. But the solution is Jesus. He transforms us. He makes us into His image. He makes us the way we were intended to be. Yet, how are we to be what we are intended to be?

If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (i.e. don’t act like an ignorant animal).

Don’t act like an animal but put to death what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and materialism, which is idolatry. Because of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, meanness, insult, and rude talk. Don’t act like an animal! But put off the old self with its practices and put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Col. 3:1-3, 5-10, 12-17). 

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About Paul O'Brien

I am a lot of things; saint and sinner. I struggle and I strive. I am a husband and father of three. I have been in pastoral ministry for 10 years. I went to school at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary but most of my schooling has been at the School of Hard Knocks. I have worked various jobs, including pheasant farmer, toilet maker, construction worker, and I served in the military. My wife and I enjoy reading at coffee shops, taking walks, hanging out with friends and family, and watching our three kid's antics. :)

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