Please pay close attention to the following story because it will lay the groundwork for dealing with what I call, “the pain of the moment.”
Once upon a time there was a young woman who was talented, pretty, and smart. But she had a terrible temper. When she got angry, she said hurtful things. Not only did she hurt others, she hurt herself.
Her father became concerned about her and wanted to help. He gave his daughter a bag of nails and a hammer. “Whenever you lose your temper,” he told his daughter, “Go out back to that old fence. Take one of the nails and hammer it into the fence as hard as you can. Hold nothing back.”
Over the next few weeks, the daughter did exactly as her father said. Eventually, all the nails were gone.
“Now,” her father said, “I want you to pull out one of the nails.” The daughter did so with great effort. The father said, “Notice that, even though the nail is gone, a hole is still left. This fence will never be the same. Saying or doing hurtful things produces the same kind of result. There will always be a scar left behind.”
While a powerful story about the painful aftermath of wrong actions, that’s not the part of the story I wanted you to think about.
I want you to think about what happens next.
The young woman takes her father’s story to heart. She wants to change desperately.
But what does she do the next time she is angry and her flesh demands that she hurt someone or herself out of the pain she is feeling?
While our issue may not be the same as this young woman, we all have moments when our flesh demands that we do the wrong thing.
I call that moment of deciding between right or wrong, “the pain of the moment.”
How we choose to handle that pain determines our destiny.
You might think that I’m going to say dealing with that pain requires more willpower, gritting your teeth, or trying harder to do the right thing.
But you would be wrong.
The Bible talks about this very struggle in Romans, chapter 7. As Believers in Christ, we have supernatural help so that we can choose right in the pain of the moment.
You’ll going to get 3 steps for dealing with the pain of the moment in this article. But they won’t make sense unless you understand where pain came from in the first place.
The first couple, Adam and Eve, did not know pain at first. They lived in perfect peace in a perfect world.
However in Genesis 3, things changed.
Eve chose to disobey a command God gave for their good – and Adam joined her in disobedience. As representatives of mankind, their decision introduced pain and suffering into this world.
Their choice still affects mankind to this day.
Sin is mankind’s tendency to do the wrong thing. Sin begins in the heart and makes us want to do things our own way rather than God’s way.
Sin causes us to make poor choices, hurting ourselves and others.
But God provided the ultimate solution for mankind’s sin: Jesus. Many of us know that Jesus took on our sins at the cross. He died and was buried. He paid the penalty for sin.
However, many of us don’t realize something else happened in Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection. The wages of sin is death (see Romans 6:23). So when Jesus rose from the grave, He not only conquered death, but He conquered the power of sin for us who declare Him as our Savior!
Now comes that age-old question that all Christians secretly ask, “If Jesus conquered the power of sin, then how come I still sin?”
Well the truth is, even though we experience salvation from our sin through Jesus, that same old sin nature is still inside of us – the part of us that wants to do the wrong thing.
That’s because sin operates in our flesh. As long as we are in this flesh (our bodies), we will have to deal with the pain of the moment. Once we leave this Earth, we will receive a glorified body in which sin no longer dwells, but until then we have to live in the body we have now.
If our flesh had to choose between gratifying itself versus obeying God, there is no contest; the flesh would win. That is the condition of people in the world.
However those of us in Christ received a Helper to empower us to obey God – and break sin’s power over us right in the pain of the moment. This Helper is the Holy Spirit.
In John 14:16-17, Jesus says of Him,
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”
If you tried to do the right thing in your own strength, you would eventually get frustrated, tired, and want to quit. It’s like trying to use a row boat to get across the ocean!
However, the Holy Spirit supplies the wisdom and strength you need to do the right thing, found in God’s word – the Bible.
Through the Holy Spirit, you allow Jesus to live His life through you. Instead of using that row boat to get across the ocean, you upgrade to a sailboat. The Holy Spirit is the wind in your sails!
He gives you guidance about where to go and what to do. He helps you make wise choices that line up with God’s way. He is your closest friend. He knows you better than you know yourself.
While you may still be tempted to do the wrong thing, you don’t have to. Sin no longer rules your life. Through God’s grace, He has given you the Holy Spirit to destroy sin’s power in your life.
Romans 6:14 says,
“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”
However, it is a daily decision to yield to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to carry you up and over the pain of the moment.
It is wise to accept His help!
Start each day in prayer, asking for the Holy Spirit’s help during those moments of decision that you’ll face that day. Sin tries to control us through fear of pain and/or death. We feel pain in our bodies of flesh. The enemy wants you to act from impulse to relieve that pain.
When the choice comes between right and wrong, take these three steps (adapted from the Bible study, Extreme Makeover of the Soul, by Bryan Wilkerson):
- Understand that when you accepted Jesus as your Savior, you died to sin (see Romans 6). Remind yourself of that fact often. While sin can tempt you, it can’t control you.
- Decide that sin will not control you. Make “I don’t have to” your key phrase. Remember, as far as sin is concerned, you are a dead person and can’t respond to sin’s promptings.
- Choose to hear and follow the Holy Spirit’s leading. Several times each day, you have the opportunity to choose what to do. Call these exchange moments. You are free not to obey your flesh. You are alive to Christ and a new creation! You can hear the Holy Spirit perfectly.
At that moment, take a deep breath, imagining the Holy Spirit’s power putting wind into your sails. He gives you power, lifts you up and over the pain of the moment (turbulent waves) and moves you forward.
1 Corinthians 10:13 says,
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
The Holy Spirit empowers you to take the escape route God provides!
When you understand, decide, and choose, you have power to overcome the pain of the moment. Each time you allow the Holy Spirit to lift you up and over that pain, you move forward into becoming the person God He created you to be – reflecting the image of His Son, Jesus.
Be blessed in health, healing, and wholeness,
Creator of the Take Back Your Temple program
P.S. Are you ready to cross over any speed bumps on the way to your best weight and better health? The Take Back Your Temple program will be your guide.
3 John 1:2 says,
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”
If you are excited about your future and know that your health habits are supplying you with energy to maximize your present and future, then you don’t need the Take Back Your Temple program.
You are already on a good road.
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