August 25, 2010

To Live is Christ — letting the Word do its work

Yesterday morning I had a dentist appointment. In the few hours before, my head kept filling up with nasty thoughts. I knew they were nasty (Duh) because the Word of God had reproved or convicted me on such thoughts before. That I needed to quit thinking like that was a no-brainer. The problem was in how to quit! It was as if someone told me not to think about apples. Guess what? That was all I’d think about.

However, my devotional verses did manage to get through the mess. I remembered them several times. 

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16–17)
These verses describe how the Bible is profitable for reproof. This word means to examine and show error. Lots of people don’t like reading Scripture for that very reason. It makes them feel guilty of sin — but that is what it is supposed to do. 
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12–13)
God’s living Book knows what I’m thinking and discerns my motives. Most people cannot do that, but He can. I am not hidden from His sight, nor can the inner workings of my grey matter escape His reproof.

However, I already had the “reproving” part yesterday morning. What I needed was the “correction” part — and perhaps the “instruction in righteousness” part, but try as I might, I could not get rid of the nasty thoughts. They needed replacing, but I was having a tough time doing that. Everything I did seemed to remind me of what I didn’t want to think.

Then the Holy Spirit showed me the answer to my dilemma. Of course I needed to agree with Him that these were nasty thoughts. No problem; 1 John 1:9 is a favorite verse. It says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I confessed.

Then He reminded me that He is here to help me . . . and into my head popped more Scripture. This I used to ask for His help . . . 

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)
At that instant, the Word of God demonstrated how it is profitable for correction and instruction in righteousness because the thoughts vanished. Gone, totally gone. Even now, I can remember what they were, but am not thinking them. They are like birds flying over, but not stopping to build a nest.

I didn’t know it at the time, but the battle yesterday morning called for a settled mind. The dentist (an oral surgeon) had put in a couple of implants two years ago. Today he had to remove one of them. It’s a long story, but when he asked the assistant for a torque wrench, I knew I was in trouble. The implant failed because the crown had been improperly placed AND improperly glued in place by my regular dentist. That meant the cement worked into the screw threads of the implant. This is a cement that is meant to last forever, but it needed to be unscrewed and removed. God knew I needed a godly attitude and a clear head to go through a painful ordeal.

His Word came through for me. His Book is not merely for church work or to give direction for huge moral issues. It is about daily life, even about random thoughts that can mess up attitudes and cause all sorts of problems. The pain killer is keeping my jaw from torturing me, but the Word of God and the Holy Spirit are keeping another sort of nastiness under control. For that, I am totally and humbly grateful.

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