“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam.”
Those seemingly harsh words were spoken by King Benjamin under the influence of the Holy Spirit centuries ago. He understood all too well the impulses that are the fiber and core of almost all men. Like Pinocchio, their favorite profession is that of “eating, drinking, sleeping, playing, and wandering around from morning till night.”
But King Benjamin counseled us to “put off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord.”
Putting off the natural man can be hard work, for by its very nature, a natural man is only doing that which comes naturally to him. Isn’t it easier to watch Monday Night football than to gather your family around you and teach them of their Father in heaven?
And is it not easier to enjoy the warmth of a soft bed on Sunday mornings than to arise early and prepare yourself, and perhaps even a house full of little ones, to come and worship their god?
It is of course always easier to give into the powerful urges of our personal addictions than to fight against them. And it is certainly easier to allow the playhouses of our minds to conjure up angry thoughts instead of Christ-like thoughts, images of debauchery over images of gentle relationships, and even to hold on to our favorite grudges as opposed to forgiving and letting go. All of these, and countless more, may at times be easier, yet their ability to draw us close to our Savior is nil.
We must learn to set aside those things which draw us away from the Spirit of the Lord. It is within our power to do so. We can push aside slothfulness and uncleanness, let go of the malice in our hearts and actively seek to know our savior a little better.
We can prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.
This house begins in our own soul first, and we can then extend it out to those over whom we have stewardship.
This wondrous life, with all of its enticements, challenges and choices, has been designed to teach us to become like our savior. Indeed, “there must be an opposition in all things.”
It has ever been so. It is our sacred duty and privilege as children of God to put off the natural man by attuning our spiritual ears to the voice of the Master and learning to become as Jesus Christ would have us be.
So let us say hush to those voices that call “lo here! and lo there!” without a care for our own good, and decide today to “stand in holy places” in our homes, our minds and our lives.
• Craig Lindquist is a Kauai resident and Kapaa business owner