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Sunday, August 21, 2011

What's under the hood?

14 A healthy spirit conquers adversity,
   but what can you do when the spirit is crushed?
(Proverbs 18:14)

A healthy spirit has conquering power!  There is a soundness and vigor that is evident when the spirit is in a place of "health".  Our writer asks a tough question:  What can you do when the spirit is crushed?  That's a tough one - even though your first answer might be to turn to Jesus to have him heal it!  That is kind of like a "pat answer" for all of our life's problems.  Yet, we often turn to him for health without even realizing what it was that brought us to the point of being crushed!

We rarely get into a place where we have "crushed" spirits because we were blind-sided by some event, course of discussion, or infirmity of mind.  The emotional investment we make into our daily walk with Christ is a pretty good indicator of how "healthy" our spirit is.  When we are emotionally "invested", we might find ourselves looking forward to times in the Word, moments to sneak away to share a few words with our Savior, or just some downtime to take in the things of beauty he has provided in our lives.

I know we are not supposed to be emotionally driven - but hear me out on this one.  Our emotions are "indicators" much like those on the dashboard of our automobiles.  We get "warning lights" emotionally much like we get them when a tire is low, the oil pressure is askew, or the radiator is about to blow a gasket!  When we learn to pay attention to those emotional "warning lights", we are more likely to get our spiritual condition back to a place of "health" quicker.

Think of the emotion of fear - it causes us to have rapid heart rate, increased respiratory rate, and we might even feel like the pit of our stomach is churning a little.  Even if it is a mild form of fear, like apprehension, there is an emotional-physical connection that occurs.  What we "feel" is translated into certain responses of our body.  The same is true spiritually - what we "feel" is often impacting our spiritual health.

For example, think of the emotion of anxiety or fear again, but from the impact this has on our spirit.  Why is it that we are feeling such anxiety in the first place?  It is usually because of a "trust" issue that we have embraced in our emotions.  We don't "feel" like God is trustworthy, maybe because we have experienced some set-back or loss.  We don't "feel" like he has been faithful, perhaps because somebody we loved hasn't kept up their "end of the bargain" in relationship - so we think God allowed this to happen.

When we form "emotional attachments" around false impressions or beliefs, we are allowing them to impact our spirit.  It compromises the integrity of our health spiritually much like one microscopic virus invades our body.  When false beliefs are allowed to take hold, just like the virus that multiplies willy-nilly in our bodies, it will soon impact the "defense system" of a healthy spirit.

The antidote to a crushed spirit begins with a healthy assessment of our emotional condition.  We look for the warning signs, address the issues that are "under the hood" and then work out a plan for maintaining the "health" of our spirit.