Owies, Stings, and Toes By Carolyn Tucker

Carolyn Tucker. Submitted photo.

Keys to the Kingdom by Carolyn Tucker


I had drastically overused my left shoulder awhile back, so I made an appointment for a therapeutic massage. During my “first-time-ever” session, I could tell the massage therapist/friend knew exactly what she was doing. She had the proper training and several years of experience under her belt. The massage kinda hurt but helped my shoulder all at the same time, so I scheduled another appointment because I’m not a wimp!

God’s Word can also help and hurt all at the same time. “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16,17 NLT).

Forty years ago, you possibly heard this statement during the sermon, “Say ouch or amen!” In the 1980s, I remember my pastor often saying, “You’ve got to love me enough to get to heaven,” when he would preach a hard truth. And then there would be times when some parishioners would shake the pastor’s hand and say, “You stepped on my toes today!” Not every message from the pulpit is easy to swallow, or what you want to hear, but it’s what you need to hear in order to become a mature Christ follower.

It’s not just apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers that deliver messages. My current pastor recently reminded us, “You are preaching a gospel — I hope it’s the right thing.“ That one adage should give all believers something to chew on until our last day on earth. Our attitudes, actions, reactions, habits, hobbies, and casual conversations are sending messages to everyone we’re around. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where people place their loyalties.

Do we believers have enough of Jesus to rub off on anybody? As a teen in high school, I worked in the kitchen at a restaurant. When I got off work, I smelled like I’d had a hamburger-grease massage because I was completely saturated in it. Honestly, Christians should have enough Jesus in them to affect everyone they’re around. We should be so overflowing with Jesus that His love permeates the very space we’re occupying.

The Word of God is a bit like pouring antiseptic on an owie. It’s necessary to clean the wound (which stings), but it begins the crucial healing process. Believers should never shy away from the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Conviction is simply God’s mercy speaking to our heart when we need to make a change in our life. It’s important to respond quickly by obeying God in whatever He‘s telling us to do or not do.

My shoulder and spiritual muscles need to be in first-rate condition, so I‘m willing to go through some discomfort in order to be whole and strong. The Word of God shows us the right way to navigate life. As we read and study the scriptures, we may sometimes think, “Ouch!“ But we should be thankful God is showing us how to come up higher and get in tip-top shape to do His good work.

The Key: God’s Word is beneficial for teaching, conviction, correction, and instruction. Amen.

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