Our Spiritual Toolbox, An Introduction
Written December 2017
As Christmas approaches I am reminded of the many things I have put together and constructed during this holiday season. Since becoming a father it seems Christmas is a time for building as I have put together a triple bunk bed for Grace’s dolls, a kitchen playset, numerous Barbie playsets, battery operated play things, and a host of other items. I’ve also helped family with the construction of decorations, various gifts, furniture, and outdoor equipment that has been given as presents. To date the most challenging projects have been a grill that my grandmother gave me and a play kitchen set for Grace that my mother had purchased. Both were quite challenging but I think the kitchen set is probably edged out the grill simply because I only have half of the instructions.
In this life we use all sorts of tools. They help us accomplish the tasks at hand and help us to accomplish the work before us. They help us build new things and repair
things that have been broken. They are versatile as the same screwdriver that fixes a loose table leg can be used to build a gas grill or toy bunk bed.
Spiritually I believe we have a toolbox as well. It is filled with familiar tools that we have used many times in our lives. In the articles I’ve written I’d like to begin to explore the spiritual toolbox we all have and share how I believe these tools help us in our spiritual lives.
Our Spiritual Toolbox Hammer – Preaching
2 Timothy 4:1-4 (NLT) I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he comes to set up his Kingdom: Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.
Is there any more beloved tool for a child than a hammer? As a child, when I would go into my grandfather’s woodshop, I loved taking a hammer and beating nails into pieces of wood. It was amazing having that type of power in my hands and the result was that two pieces of wood were solidly put together.
Preaching is much like that. It is the hammer that God used to drive home the truths we know in our heart and secure them fast in our lives. I know for me I often sit and listen to wonderful preachers on the radio and internet and hear them preach things I have heard a hundred times. However, as I hear them preach, it is like I am hearing those things for the first time all over again. Those truths and principles come crashing into my life and are affixed once again in my heart. I hear them and it is like God is taking a hammer to attach the boards of His truth into my life. That is why hearing good preaching is so important. So often the truths, principles, and promises of God are not so much forgotten but not thought about and we need that hammer of God to reattach those great truths in our hearts.
God uses that hammer of preaching to pound into us the truth and principles that we need. In hearing the Word proclaimed, God is able to affix firmly the things He wants in our lives.
Our Spiritual Toolbox The Screwdriver – Daily Devotions
Psalms 119:9 (ESV) How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.
Each morning as we are getting ready to take Grace to school I have gotten into the habit of reading a short devotion. Right now we are still going through the 3 Minute Devotions book which I wrote about in an earlier Bell. I love how each devotion is a simple truth that applies directly to our lives. The devotions touch on topics like prayer, courage, love, forgiveness, and patience and they all apply these things to everyday life. As I think about these devotions the idea of screwdriver comes to mind.
A screwdriver has a very simple purpose, to tighten or loosen screws into whatever they are in. Turn to the right they tighten, turn to the left they loosen. Most of the time a screwdriver is used to tighten though as usually whatever is screwed in is meant to be permanent. I know the things I have had to tighten the most are screws that are in chairs as whenever people sit in them, little by little they come loose. A good turn of the screwdriver brings them back to where they need to be.
Devotions do that. They are the screwdriver God uses to tighten the screws in our life. We have convictions and all of the Biblical teachings that guide and direct our lives but as we go through this sinful world those screws somehow loosen just a little bit. Each day as we do our devotions God reaches into our lives as we read His Word and gain some teachings from it to tighten those lessons and secure those truths in our lives. Without devotions we can find ourselves going through life with wobbly legs barely secured to God’s truth on the verge of falling. So let us each day allow God to look us over and see if there is anything that needs tightening, lest our legs fall in this world.
Our Spiritual Toolbox WD-40 – Forgiveness
Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
WD-40 is an amazing substance isn’t it. It was originally invented in 1953 for the Atlas missile to protect it from rust and corrosion. Since that time people have found countless uses for it. Some of them include, getting gum out of hair, removing stuck on rings, clean toilet bowls, loosen zippers, and even untangle fishing line. Most commonly it is used as a lubricant to get rusted parts unstuck and moving again. If you have a bolt that is rusted or a wheel that is froze in place because of rust, spray on WD-40 and miraculously the rust will begin to break up and that wheel will begin to move once again.
The WD-40 in spiritual living is forgiveness. Do you have a friendship or relationship that is stuck? Has bitterness overtaken your life and made it impossible for you to do anything? Are you finding that you want to grow spiritually but you simply can’t. Unforgiveness might be to blame. Bitterness, anger, resentment, and the refusal to forgive is the rust in our spiritual lives that causes everything in our life to seize up.
Forgiveness is that oil that penetrates deep within and allows us to move on and have release from the things of the past. Today, do you need a good spray of God’s WD-40 in your life? Is there an issue that is holding you back and refuses to let you grow or prosper as a Christian, forgiveness is the key to being able to move once again.