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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Crushed Under or Trying Again?

Honor is sought by many, but only some of those who seek will ever find it. Why?  "Pride first, then the crash, but humility is precursor to honor." (Proverbs 18:12 MSG)  Simply put, honor is an outcome of humility - most who seek honor are not doing so with a humble heart.  They seek it for the "importance" or "stature" it produces.  Honor is indeed the reward of the humble - for those who bring others blessing first will find honor in their endeavors. You cannot truly find honor in climbing over others on your way to the top!  Humility is also a precursor to a healthy spirit - for a right view of yourself and others comes from a right view of God.  The right view of God will produce the right vantage point for us to view everything and everyone else in our lives.

A healthy spirit conquers adversity, but what can you do when the spirit is crushed?  Wise men and women are always learning, always listening for fresh insights.  Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach; good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest.  Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.  Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.  (Proverbs 18:14-15, 20-21, 24 MSG)

More men and women are walking around today with crushed spirits than we might imagine - simply because we don't fully appreciate all the influences which contribute to the "blows" by which the spirit of man is crushed. Sickness in your body is one thing - a crushed inner man is something quite different. You can endure the sickness in your body, but there is an overwhelming sense of defeat and disconnect when the spirit is heavy laden.  The spirit is what animates us - put it under a crushing load and the animation is gone.  It gives us our will to live, driving us forward when others might think we'd quit or throw in the towel.  It also gives us the determination to "try again" when the previous attempts have not worked out so well for us.  

Why do we "try again"?  I think it is probably because people of wisdom know learning is a life-long process.  The initial blows might have knocked us down a few pegs, but when we "recover" from those initial blows, we begin to see where we could have done things differently and we are encouraged to try again.  Our spirit is the place where we connect the dots and begin to build up again to take another "first step".  God honors - and always will - those who are willing to learn at his feet.  Those who are willing to "try again" are always honored to have his assistance in getting out from the load which caused us to fall in the first place and then helping us to our feet so we can take that first step.

Words create a heavy load at times, don't they?  The wrong words spoken at the wrong moment in time create a huge burden for some - heaping upon their shoulders, and ultimately into their spirit, the load of guilt, shame, or grief they bring in their wake.  Words bring release and satisfaction to the soul, and ultimately the spirit, when they are the right words spoken in the right timing.  Talk without purpose and you will often load someone up with something carelessly said.  Some of the most crushing blows to our spirit are a result of words spoken in careless manner.  Learning to weigh the message we bring is harder than we might imagine, but considering the impact those few words might just have, isn't it worth the effort?

Fresh insights come from renewing our spirits.  When we determine to have our spirits lifted into his presence, we begin to sense the renewal only he can bring.  Words from a friend may lift us for a while, but we all need to hear the instruction and encouragement of our heavenly Father more than we might realize.  It is in those moments of him "connecting the dots" for us where we come to recognize the load we were crushed under was not his intention for our lives.  Most of us assume "loads" not ever intended for our carrying.  We assume loads of "guilt", "shame", or "grief".  All of which God reminds us are the loads his son, Jesus, carried to the cross on our behalf.  Whenever we try to carry these, they have a crushing effect because they are not the load God wants us to bear. Just sayin!