The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14
Looking back, I can now see how drugs changed my thinking, literally causing damage to my brain. As the pills took over, I became incapable of making any rational decisions regarding the drug, doing terrible things that no sane person would do to get more. I surrendered my faith, family and career, in what could only be called pathologic decisions. I turned on those closest me as I came to believe they were the problem, not me. In my addiction, I was profoundly irrational.
In that condition, part of me knew I needed confession, treatment, and radical change, but another part of me – the part that was making the decisions – thought those things were absolutely stupid. I don’t need treatment. I’m fine. I can keep this up as long as I don’t get caught. In retrospect, it was insanity, but at the time, it all seemed so normal.
The problem for me, is that I got there just by following my natural appetite. We often use the word natural, as though anything natural is inherently good. For me though, following my normal, biologically programmed way of doing things led to disaster. I followed my desires, and it led naturally, to brain damage.
In today’s passage, Paul pointed out that our natural minds are naturally flawed. He said that the natural mind, unenlightened by God, just can’t quite grasp God’s way. God’s way, in fact, often sounds absurd. We’re told we must love our neighbors as ourselves and we must even love our enemies. To find true life, we must die first. Authentic freedom is found paradoxically, not in following ourselves but rather, only in surrendering our will to God. To the one who is still in love with his own nature, these things sound ridiculous.
For those of us who realize the disaster of our way though, God’s way doesn’t sound so bad. Often, it’s only through misery, that we come to accept that our natural way of doing things must be replaced with something radically different.
Thankfully, in turning to God in recovery, I’ve found transformation and healing. Getting here was anything but natural though. Getting here, in fact, was very unnatural or rather, supernatural.