Follow Your Instincts

Southaven, Ms

By: Mike Upchurch


In the culture we’re in, it’s common to assign a Disney-like animated personality to animals around us. Do you ever wonder, for example, if a caterpillar dreams of being a butterfly or a moth and floating carefree through the air? Do you think they fantasize about how happy they’ll be as a beautiful butterfly? Can you envision them looking up, envying the birds in the clouds, and dreaming of what it will be like when THEY are finally free from the bonds of their earthly prison?
Of course we can imagine that scenario, but we do know in reality that they’re not dreaming of becoming a butterfly or a moth. They know nothing of what is in their future.

In truth, they’re just doing what all caterpillars do, and that is going through life using instincts their Heavenly Father gave them. They are just inching around eating leaves and doing other cool caterpillar stuff. They’re plodding along with no thought for tomorrow or what will happen. We human beings, on the other hand, have the ability to reason. We can reason and process, and can imagine how our life would improve if we would just do such and such. We can make decisions and dream and plan, and then work with goals toward the improvement of our lives. Caterpillars, not so much. They have only their instincts to guide them. The caterpillar knows instinctively when it’s time to spin a cocoon. They don’t study for that. They don’t watch others trying to learn how. They are just obedient to what was placed within them. Then, when they transform to a butterfly or moth, they again just follow their instincts and begin to fly. They just know what to do and when, programmed from within.

I had a little snake the other day in one of the buildings I manage for the City. He was about a foot long and was probably a King Snake. His pupils were round and I was fairly certain he was non venomous. I scooped him up in a dustpan and carried him outside and dropped him in a shrubbery bed. He immediately started flicking his tail like a rattlesnake would and recoiled to strike, then struck out at my broom nearby. They do this ‘flicking of the tail’ because the tail rustling in dry leaves will sound like a rattler, warning would be threats to stay away.
Now he (or she) didn’t watch a National Geographic Special on rattlesnakes and think to themselves “I’ve got to try that. I must make this guy think I’m a rattlesnake! Then he’ll leave me alone!” No, of course not. This little fella had no clue what a rattlesnake is. He was just acting instinctively. He knew what to do from within. He was programmed to behave as he did.

So if caterpillars and snakes can act according to their instincts, why is it that we as humans can’t follow our instincts as it pertains to God? We who are capable of reason, and are supposedly vastly more intelligent than caterpillars and snakes, will reject our instincts when it comes to God.

Each of us have ‘spiritual’ instincts placed in us by our Creator. We are programmed in part just as animals are. Deep within each of us is the instinct to worship! We are programmed to worship something. We might find ourselves worshipping a favorite mountainside view, or perhaps a Cabin on a calm lake. Maybe we worship speed or particular sports. We might worship music or fine art. I know people who worship their own bodies. We have an innate need to worship something! But the purpose of that instinctive need to worship is so that we might ultimately search for God. There is a God-shaped void deep down within our hearts that only He can fill with His perfectly shaped puzzle piece, but we will search all our lives for other things instead that can be crammed into that void, hoping they’ll satisfy instead (but they never do).

We also have a longing for love. That is instinctive too. We need to feel loved and we will search for it relentlessly. But that instinct was placed within us not only so that we would ultimately seek out a mate and procreate, but also that we might search for God and His unconditional love.
We have a need to love something and we have a need to worship something, but far too many times we stop short of finding the Lord, and instead settle for the worship of lesser objects. Or we might worship people, who can never offer true unconditional love. We also might love and worship temporal, material things which can’t possibly love us back.

I knew of a hot rodder who was restoring an old Super Sport Chevelle years ago. He had poured his heart, soul, time, money, and energy into that car. It was his life. Then one Saturday afternoon, while working on the dashboard, a tool in his hand slipped against the metal of that dash and struck him in his eye! In a flash his eyesight was destroyed in that eye. Yet, after just a few days of recovery, he was right back at work on that old car, more intent than ever but now with only one eye. He had given and given to that old car, and it repaid him by taking all his time, his money, and even his partial eyesight, giving him nothing in return.

We know people like that. We might BE people like that. But the truth is, you’ll never be completely happy, and completely at peace, and completely satisfied in life, until you search out the intended object of your innate need to worship and to love. You need to follow what was instinctively placed within you. You were programmed to worship and love someone in particular, and that someone is your Heavenly Father, your Creator.

And that’s the way I see it.

Pastor Mike