Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Something to Gain from Pain
The sprain couldn't be ignored. I'd have to stay off my left ankle for a few days. Ice bags, an ace wrap, and a gel brace became my constant companions. The pain in my ankle paled in comparison to the aching muscles in my back. I hadn't injured my back, but obviously, when I hobbled around I was compensating with muscles I didn't normally use to walk.
Oh how this physical lesson has played out over and over in my spiritual life! When God puts his finger on something that needs attention, quite often He requires me to use spiritual 'muscles' that need to be strengthened. And the 'workout' leaves me sore!
His Word may remind me that an attitude isn't right. I've become critical. Complaining is second nature. I read about the children of Israel who were miraculously delivered from the hand of an evil Pharaoh and the land of Egypt. I shake my head in astonishment, as the story unfolds - clearly the Lord has led them out of bondage, yet when they see that Pharaoh and his army are pursuing them, they lash out at Moses. "And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness," (Exodus 14:11-12; KJV).
How ungrateful can these people be? Then comes the nudge. The still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. I've brought you out of bondage too - why is it that you're complaining about your current circumstances? Ouch! Okay, what do I need to learn here? Time to search out the passages that will correct the problem. It doesn't take long to find verses that deal with my attitude without mincing words, "Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world," (Philippians 2:14-15).
Time to exert those spiritual 'muscles' that have atrophied. Time to get back to the reason why God saved me in the first place - to bring honor and glory to Him. Not to live a problem-free life that's self-serving. The Philippians passage gets my heart back in gear. When I approach every situation with the right attitude, and avoid complaining, it's UNNATURAL. That's just what the Lord wants. Others will stop and take notice of my positive response, will realize that there's something different about me, and will be pointed to Him.
With my eyes on the Truth, concentrating on one situation at a time, slowly but surely my spiritual 'muscles' gain strength. The process is often slow and painful, but the results are worth the effort - a life that reflects the Lord Jesus Christ!
What spiritual 'muscle' needs to be strengthened in your life? Search for verses that apply to your need and begin applying them to your life today!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for Your still, small voice that loving shows me areas that need attention. Help me to obey Your Truth and begin exercising my spiritual 'muscles' so others will see You. In Jesus' name, Amen.