Have you ever injured a limb? Aside from the pain, going through everyday life and moving around can be very hard when you have sustained an injury. When I was about 6 years old, I broke my arm. I had been pretending to be a monkey climbing a mattress, which had been propped against a bedroom wall at home.
I remember calling out to my mum to come look at the display of my physical prowess and agility, then the mattress suddenly flipped, it fell on top of me and there was a sickening crunching sound. I remember recovery: wearing a cast for what felt like months and reading lots of children’s magazines.
I read a Bible verse the other day that had me thinking about injury. Hebrews chapter 12 at verses 12-13 (New International Version) says:
...strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
Another translation (International Standard Version) of verse 13 goes:
“and straighten the paths of your life, so that your lameness may not become worse, but instead may be healed.”
Picture yourself having a broken leg that dangled at an odd angle and a straight, smooth road ahead of you. See yourself slowly hobbling along. At first you would stagger; you lumber along with extreme difficulty.
Your leg is swollen and discoloured. Each time you try to extend your leg in front of you, there is a numb, throbbing pain. Every step feels like being poked with a heated piece of metal. But with every shaky step, your leg becomes stronger and stronger. Whenever the sole of your foot touches the road, it gets straighter until you are no longer limping but after a few metres you are striding powerfully.
Word of God is like that
The Word of God is like that. We Christians fall, we mess up. As a friend would say, “we fail spectacularly”. There could be a secret sin people don’t know about, it may be porn, online gambling, something only you know. Each time we yield to temptation, we promise God that we won’t do it again.
We are amazed by how much He loves and forgives us. His Grace and Mercy are spectacular but He is also a just God. Our sins have consequences. But even when God disciplines us, we don’t get punished in the way our sin deserves because of Jesus’ sacrifice.
His discipline is good: if we allow it to work for us it produces righteousness and peace (Hebrews chapter 12, verse 11). But His Love, Grace and Mercy demands something more...it demands walking along a straight path. It means that despite our myriad weaknesses, afflictions, pressures, emotional baggage, burdens and struggles, we still must follow the way of life God asks of us: to pray, read and obey His Word, to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit, to love people and tell them about His goodness, to be steadfast and to “act in line with the truth of the gospel” (Galatians 2 verse 14).
When we do this, we find walking on a straight path is easier, our limbs are stronger, sin is less tempting, we find tremendous pleasure and joy in our journey with Him as we live in holiness.
Proverbs chapter 4, verse 26 (English Standard Version) encourages us to think carefully about what we do for our future security:
“Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.”
Sharma Taylor is a corporate attorney with a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Law from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. This year, she is committed to pursuing God even harder than before. Currently, she is becoming a runner and loves the strength she feels after conquering a work out.
Sharma Taylor's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/sharma-taylor.html