Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth. – John 17:17
Lately, I’ve been reading this one particular devotion over and over. I’m not sure I’ve read anything quite so profound. The devotional is from a South African preacher who did most of his ministry in the mid to late 1800’s. His name is Andrew Murray. He writes of how Bible knowledge is like a monstrous pharmacy to which we have access. Unfortunately, most Christians do not take the correct prescriptions because they don’t know or seek the doctor who gives them the correct medicines to take. Just as the doctor writes the correct prescription, it is the Holy Spirit which leads us and guides us to take the right medicines for our souls.
I was born with a sick, selfish soul. Truly, Adam Hopkins had sinned greatly and had fallen well short of the glory of God. I remember the first “pill” I had to take as a brand new, saved follower of Christ. After reading the words “all liars” in Revelation 21:8, God wrote me a prescription and told me to stop lying. When I really thought about it, it was embarrassing just how much I lied as a teenager. So, God placed me in these situations where it was hard to tell the truth, but I swallowed the pill and did it anyway . . . no matter what it cost me. This was the very beginning stage of me learning that God can be trusted.
Years later, I remember the Colossians 3:23 pill I had to swallow. I hated my job. One morning, God asked me to work my job like I was working for Him and not for human bosses. After contemplating for a while just what this looked like, I swallowed that pill and went to work. I couldn’t believe just how much I began to enjoy my work. Once again, the amount of trust I gained in doing the hard things that God asks of me went through the roof.
In the past year or so, God has been asking me to swallow some pills that are really hard to choke down. I have realized that what I like to do when this happens is browse through the pharmacy and take other medicines that simply make me feel better. Metaphorically speaking, I will take another Colossians 3:23 pill for the day when the prescription clearly says to take the Matthew 6:14 pill. The Colossians pill makes me feel better temporarily, unfortunately it is the unforgiveness that is making my soul sick.
A few weeks ago, I decided to start taking the prescribed pills. I’ll never forget taking that first dose. It played like a vision in my mind while I was driving (I’m so glad I didn’t wreck). I was standing on this platform and one by one all these people were packed in this room. I looked at each one and said, “I forgive you.” Many of them weren’t asking for forgiveness and looked like they didn’t even know what I was talking about, but I forgave them anyway. When it was over, it felt like . . . the only way I know to describe it is it was like having a flowerbed that had been overrun with weeds all of a sudden be clean. The soil was all torn up and the weeds along with the roots were laying in a pile, but I knew something good was finally going to grow again.
Here is the thing: It wasn’t a one pill taken one-time solution. I swallowed those pills every day for probably two weeks. Through that, God worked some absolute miracles in my life. I sit here now with what might be the cleanest heart I’ve had in what feels like a very long time.
What really difficult medicine is God asking you to swallow? Whatever it is, I can almost guarantee two things: You don’t really want to swallow it, and it will be the very thing that brings about the most healing inside of your heart and mind. Nobody knew about all of the available prescriptions more than the Pharisees in the Bible. They had them all memorized. Yet, Jesus came along and asked them to swallow the pills of mercy, grace, and love towards sinners. They refused and went on taking the pills of public prayers and other outward displays of affections. Consequently, they never saw the kingdom of Heaven.
If you’ve swallowed the pill of Christ as Lord and Savior, that was not the end of the matter. It was only the beginning. Now, we must allow God to clean us up and prepare us to meet Him in Glory. There can be no fruits of the flesh as mentioned in Galatians 5:19. As I read the list, I still have so much in me that needs to be destroyed. Instead of picking and choosing other verses that are easy for me, and scriptures which will go down much easier, I think I will just walk one day at a time with my Lord and simply ask Him what my next step is and to show me what difficult to swallow medicine I need to take. He hasn’t let me down in 29 years of serving Him . . . I don’t think He is going to start now.