Thursday, November 19, 2009

Spiritual Gut Punch!

Have you ever been kicked in the teeth, not literally but figuratively? Maybe punched in the gut so to speak? This happened to me the other day. We had an outside health care company come to campus to do some basic blood work for us. It is part of the get health, stay healthy employee stuff that companies do to help lower insurance rates. I filled out the forms, proceeded to get my height and weight measured (my weight would have been lower if I did not have my clothes on!) and moved to the blood drawing area. The nice lady drew my blood without incident, labeled it and sent it off to who knows where to have it analyzed. About two weeks later I received my results. As I opened the envelope I was thinking how I would impress all of my coworkers with my stellar results. I could just hear them, "Wow, how does a over 40 guy stay so healthy!" "Wow, I wish my results were that good, but I have bad genes!" or the classic "I have thyroid issues!" Boy was I surprised when I saw the results. My blood pressure was higher that I have ever seen it and my cholesterol was through the roof, a 258! Gosh, thanks, let me pick up my teeth off of the sidewalk! Or Hold on while I catch my breath! This is not what I was expecting at all. I was crushed. Instead of my coworkers showering me with accolades they were saying things like "Man, you have one foot in the grave!" or "Gosh, you are a ticking time bomb!" or "You better make sure you have your life insurance premiums payed!" Gee thanks! The amazing thing is that this bad news inspired change in my life. This bad news is probably the best thing I could have received. What if the health company said "Wow, we can't tell him this, it will crush him." or We can't send these results to him, we might hurt his feelings, let's just keep them to ourselves." Had they withheld the tough stuff I might have gone on doing what I had always done which is not taking care of myself. Sometimes a good gut punch is exactly what we need in life. Take a look at what Christ said to the Jews he came to save:

Luke 12: 4-5 4"I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.5But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.

Wow, fear God who has power to throw you into hell! This probably took the wind out of some of them. God is a loving God and surely He would never throw one of His chosen into Hell! But it is probably exactly what they needed to hear. They were so caught up in doing what they had always done that they were going to continue down the path that leads to destruction. Did any of these Jews become believers? We really do not know.

Look at what Paul said to the Galatians:

Galatians 3:1-5 - 1You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?

You foolish Galatians! This is not something a visiting pastor is likely to say in front of a congregation! Who has bewitched you? Wow, this would get a pastor run out of town quick. Who in the church would take him to lunch after that kind of message! Imagine if you were sitting in church and the pastor spoke like this to you. What would your reaction be? What if a good friend came to you and confronted you with a sin issue. Could they get your attention with a gentle voice or would they need to give you a spiritual kick to the teeth or a spiritual gut punch? My hope is that a gentle voice would do the trick put if a friend comes to you with harsh but true words, do not turn him away, it could just save your life.

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