Self effort is not our Spirtual Solution

Published 5:40 pm Friday, March 11, 2016

With the feeling of spring strongly in the air, I performed a few long overdue cleanup tasks in the yard. Included in the effort was pulling up old garden debris from last fall that was accumulated along a section of fence. As I removed a few handfuls of the unwanted material, I felt a sudden surge of pain entering my right thumb. It took only a couple seconds to realize that I had grabbed a thorn. As it protruded from my skin, I quickly jerked it out and continued on with my work, thinking that was the end of the thorn problem.

As a few days elapsed, I was still sensing a little discomfort in the wounded area, and as more time went by a hardened area started to emerge.

As more time went by I noticed that a tiny dark spot had developed in the center of the sore spot; it was time for me to take action. (You have probably heard those disclaimers of TV informing the viewers: “Do not try this at home”; that same disclaimer applies here and I am not recommending that you do what I did!)

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Gale rounded up a pin, I heated it until it was red hot in hopes of destroying any bacteria that was likely present, and, after allowing it to cool, I used it as a crude surgical tool in an effort to dislodge the rest of the torn that must surely have remained in my thumb. After a substance that I will not describe to you started to ooze out of the affected thumb, success was realized as the tiny sharp portion of the thorn was removed!

Since that “medical procedure” at home, my thumb has healed nicely and the pain is gone. And I think enough time has gone by that I can safely say that I did not taint myself with some horrible infection—at least I hope that is the case.

Getting to the source of the problem and dealing with it is what solved the problem for me. That same principle applies to a lot of issues in life, including our spiritual well being. Unless we get to the source of our spiritual needs and deal with the needs appropriately, we will remain spiritually unhealthy. One thing that a lot of people struggle with in this area is their inability to fix their spiritual problems themselves.

I like to fix things and I enjoy doing do-it-yourself projects at home. I have had success with some of those and some near disaster with others.

But achieving a heart that is pleasing to God is not a do-it-yourself undertaking; if we try to accomplish it through self effort we will fail every time. It can only be achieved by the intervention of God as we admit our inability and trust in His great ability to transform us into a life that is pleasing to Him. Ephesians 2:10 describes that life of change in this way: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (New International Version).

It is only a short while until Easter. In the midst of this season when we focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, remember that He came and paid for our sins through His death on the cross because we are unable to take care of our sin problem. Self effort falls short, but trusting in Him is our spiritual solution.