“As it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual.” I am sure you have heard this expression before if you are a born again believer in Jesus Christ. Somewhere during your Christian walk, someone has tried to help you gain the understanding of a natural circumstance you were involved in by relating it to a spiritual truth or perspective. Though you were able to follow their comparative analogy with your intellect, you may have had difficulty appreciating its truth with your spirit. One reason for this difficulty could be that you are not familiar with the spiritual realm in which you exist; a condition I like to call spiritual illiteracy.
Consider this: The past is what shapes us. The way we have handled experiences in our past will dictate how we will perform in the present. Another way of saying this is: the past is experiential; the present is predictable because of our past, and the future is experientially unknown.
Therefore, salvation (being born again), is a present experience that presents problems to our comprehension because there are no past experiences in our memory banks that support its reality.
The same is true of our natural birthing process. Once we come out of the birth canal we are in what you could call a “present” experience with no memory to support this new physical reality. There isn’t one of us who has the memory of a womb experience. We leave behind one realm of existence and enter into a new realm of existence.
And therein lies the parallel of the natural to the spiritual. The point being, you cannot live in the physical world using the dynamics you lived by in the womb; neither can you live in the spiritual world using the dynamics you lived by in the physical world.
Experiences in “new realms” bring “new experiences” as the order of the day with no past experiences to fall back onto. The womb world has passed away, behold all things are new in the natural realm at the moment of birth, and the natural world has passed away, behold all things are new in the spiritual realm at the moment of conversion.
This parallel continues with the development of behaviors. Parental and societal influences in a person’s life are the essential ingredients to the success of this process.
In the natural realm, a person’s behavioral habits are formed as a result of the interactions they experience with family and the society that surrounds them. This is a development that begins at birth and continues throughout their formative years. Likewise, the person who has been born-again forms spiritual behavioral habits through the interactions they have with other born-again believers.
Our natures undergird our proclivities. Our proclivities give rise to our habits and our habits dictate our behaviors.
Here is an acronym: H.A.B.I.T. = How All Behavior Is Taught.
Therefore, we can say that carnal behaviors and Christlike behaviors are taught.
Born again believers have a spiritual nature and a spiritual existence. Their essence is spiritual, that’s who they are. They are not carnal in their nature.
Here is a critical observation…many to most believers are not able to identify with; make the connection with; acknowledge, or take confidence in their spiritual nature because they have no memory recall of that nature to fall back onto. Their memory recall is only from their carnal existence and therefore they suffer conflict. There are not enough accumulated spiritual experiences in their present life to draw upon.
Behavioral growth in the natural is dependent upon the influence of parents and the social environment that surrounds the baby. The same is true with spiritual behavioral growth. The spiritual parent of the believer is the Godhead (the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost). The societal environment that surrounds the believer is the body of Christ (the church).
The born-again believer comes into the spiritual kingdom of God as the baby comes into the natural world; innocent, immature, and undeveloped. Both must go through a growth development that will mold their behaviors and attitudes.
As a child can be disobedient to the natural parent; so can the believer be disobedient to the Godhead. As punishment follows disobedience in the natural; so does punishment follow in the spiritual. As direction and guidance are given by the natural parent; so are direction and guidance given by the spiritual parent through the Word of God.
In my tenure as a biblical counselor, I have come to the conclusion that one of the major hindrances undergirding Christian people who are struggling with issues of life is their ignorance of who they are spiritually. They have not developed strong habits of spiritual behaviors. I have found that many “born again”, “saved”; “redeemed” persons do not understand they exist in a spiritual realm once they give their life to Jesus Christ. This truth is foreign to their understanding. Many believe that the only thing that happens to them when they give their life to Jesus Christ is that their “sins” have been forgiven and they have received the gift of eternal life. Though this is true, they have no understanding of the “rebirth” they experienced.
Though many will tell me their lives have changed drastically, I have come to the conclusion that they are referencing only the tangible things in their physical lives. They are blinded by all the tangible elements of the physical world; they are indoctrinated by all the philosophies of the physical world; they are motivated by all the aspirations of the physical world and they set life goals according to the paradigms of the physical world. They have not learned that their spiritual realm of existence is a reality of their “present” state of existence, so their behaviors and attitudes remain immature and undeveloped.
As it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual is an expression of the truth that needs to be a reminder to us of the aspect of the world we live in but are not a part of. A reminder that we are to concentrate our efforts on understanding the spiritual realm of existence we are a part of and not the carnal realm we came from.
And to always understand that the combined integrated influences we experience from our spiritual parents and the surrounding spiritual social environment we live in are what is needed for us to come to the fullness of behavioral growth and maturation in the Lord.
As it is in the natural – so it is in the spiritual.