Summary: Many people in the Bible seem to carry with them the constant memory of their roots. It reminds him of the goodness and grace of God.
Ephesians 2:11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Remember Who You Were
Have you ever known of some local person who left a small village and "made it big", and did their best never to return to their home town? We speak of someone like that as "losing her roots" or "forgetting where he's from". Those who are in Christ are already inducted into the heavenly Hall of Fame. We, also, can forget where we're from. This is not good.
Many people in the Bible seem to carry with them the constant memory of their roots. David often refers to being a shepherd before he became king. Amos was a shepherd and farmer, Peter, James & John were fisher folk. Paul was a murderer. Whenever he told the story of how Jesus got hold of him, he recounts how he persecuted the Church, even trying to get people to blaspheme so he had a legal right to kill them. Paul seems to recall this often for at least two reasons: 1. It humbles him, and 2. It reminds him of the goodness and grace of God.
We are not spiritual by nature. There are three options when realizing this. Either, one, we can embrace the contradictions of being both fleshly and spiritual, and live the life of a hypocrite, with foul thoughts, actions, and words in private, but spiritual thoughts, actions, and words when with people from Church, or when we're praying. The problem with this approach is it's like having one foot on the dock and the other in the boat. Inevitably the boat will move away from the dock and you'll have to jump to the dock or the boat, or you'll fall in and drown. You'll eventually have to choose one or the other. As Jesus said, you cannot serve two masters.
The second option is to embrace the evil side, and let go of the spiritual. Jesus seems to actually prefer this to the first option. He said He would rather we were hot or cold, but when we are a mixture-lukewarm-He is ready to spit us out (Revelation 3:15-17). As Luther said, if you're going to sin, sin boldly. The problem with this approach is that each time you embrace evil, you close your heart and mind to God. You can eventually become so hard that you cannot feel His presence and cannot hear His voice. You eventually lose the ability, let alone the desire, to see the beauty and love of God in all things. Life loses its wonder. This is the life that is more like death, described earlier. The final option is the one that Paul is recommending. Embrace the Spirit, while knowing and embracing that you are by nature not spiritual.
This is the more difficult of the options, but the one that has the most rewards. Some people might embrace the spiritual life and act like their fleshly past doesn't exist. Unfortunately, this doesn't work. You end up using spirituality as a means of indulging your flesh-you become holier-than-thou. Your spirituality becomes a beam in your eye with which to pummel poor people who don't share your profound spirituality. You also leave yourself vulnerable to the certain failures and falls that come from ignoring your true nature. The only way to be genuinely spiritual is to recognize you are, emphatically, not. As soon as you do you are able to say, "I am, by nature, fleshly-a fallen creature, brother to the baboon- but God has called me His child". What makes us special is not that we are humans. In fact, there is no way our record as technicians has even begun to eclipse our horrendous record as a species of war and destruction. What makes us special is that we are adopted children of God. He chose us in spite of our background. The more we remember that background, the better the foreground looks.
Our salvation is based entirely on God's grace. The sooner we realize this and the more enthusiastically we embrace it, the better off for us and everyone we know. The more we hug humility, the greater God's grace becomes in our eyes. This is as it should be. By nature we are far from God. But God has brought us near to Him, against nature.