something corny from a Cornell student

I know a lot of my college friends dread #examszn, a week-ish long period when they have exams for all of their classes.

We don’t have that at Cornell.

Up on the hill, each class independently schedules its prelims (preliminary examinations). For some students, this means that they’ll have one prelim a week (if any), a coveted arrangement that makes it easier to balance the many demands of college. Others can have weeks of pure bliss sporadically punctuated by back to back to back prelims and midterms and interviews (oh my!).

I’m currently caught in the second situation, so I’ve been juggling a lot of information; some of it educating, and some of it edifying. In biology, I learned something that brought the two together.

One of the things my professor touched in lecture on is that multiple signals can come together and give a cell an integrated response. Here’s an image for reference:

Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 1.33.45 PM.png

As you can see, a cell receives signals A, B, and C whether they’re being told to survive, grow and divide, or differentiate, but without these three signals, a cell will die. This made me think of the way that Christians are told to kill their flesh.

“But now put away and rid yourselves [completely] of all these things: anger, rage, bad feeling toward others, curses and slander, and foulmouthed abuse and shameful utterances from your lips! Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old (unregenerate) self with its evil practices, 10 And have clothed yourselves with the new [spiritual self], which is [ever in the process of being] renewed and remolded into [fuller and more perfect knowledge upon] knowledge after the image (the likeness) of Him Who created it. [Gen. 1:26.]”

Colossians 3:8-10 AMPC

12 “So then, brethren, we are debtors, but not to the flesh [we are not obligated to our carnal nature], to live [a life ruled by the standards set up by the dictates] of the flesh. 13 For if you live according to [the dictates of] the flesh, you will surely die. But if through the power of the [Holy] Spirit you are [habitually] putting to death (making extinct, deadening) the [evil] deeds prompted by the body, you shall [really and genuinely] live forever.”

Romans 8:12-13 AMPC

How will our flesh die if we keep giving it the signals to survive? To get out of our old lifestyles, we have to get rid of the things and ideas that keep us there, completely. A lot of the “basics” are listed in the first passage, and others can be found throughout the Bible, but there are more discreet ways that we feed our fleshy desires. Why flirt with someone knowing all you want to do is finesse them? Why reply to that late night “u up? 🌾👀🌾” text? Reservations in situations like these won’t hold you back; they’ll free you.

Reflect on the signals you send and receive, understanding that even the “harmless” things can ultimately lead to your destruction; to grow in the world is to die in the spirit. Take the time to understand the difference between what you want to do and what you need to do, because all of the thrills this world has to offer are temporary.

There’s no changing our flesh for the better; unregenerate means not reforming or showing repentance. Our flesh needs to die because of the sinful nature it craves and promotes. Like verse 10 says, a result of being saved by Jesus should be a changed lifestyle that resembles His. It’s simply put in Galatians:

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

The only signals we should be responding to come from God, Who gave us the Holy Spirit as a Helper to receive and understand them. These signals help our new cells (selves) grow to be more like Jesus and less like the world, different and set apart. Get into the practice of recognizing and rejecting your flesh and opt to be renewed instead. 

I missed a good chunk of lecture while riding this train of thought, but it was worth it. It was one of those instances where God’s teachings were made clear to me in an unconventional way, and I understand both His Word and biology a little better because of it. I could come up with analogies about positive feedback and cGMP phosphodiesterase, but I don’t want to teach more bio than Bible. The White Elephant Series I just finished summarizing goes more in depth on this topic, so feel free to check that out and/or contact me if you want to learn more!

be blessed bbys ✨

Author: Iyaniwura Olarewaju

† | naija | nj | Cornell

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