We’ve heard it said that God loves us as we are, but He also loves us too much to leave us as we are.

God is more concerned with our character than our comfort, but we often resist the deep growth necessary for our own good.

How do we gauge what’s going on in our souls? Here are some suggestions.

Many people blog – publicly expressing what’s going on internally. In a sense, psalmist King David was the first blogger, writing almost 150 entries.

I will confess I don’t blog, but I privately write down what I’m thinking and feeling, as well as verses and prayers to help me get a grip on what I am facing. I believe we all can know ourselves by exploring our souls through journaling. Perhaps you could start a journal in this new year?

Sabbath Fast
Sabbath, Shabbat in Hebrew, means “to cease.” There is a connection between fasting and Sabbath. When we fast, we cease from something – from eating or doing. Sabbath means to break and start a new rhythm.

We need to fast occasionally from food, as well as from TV, cell phones, emails, text messaging and other distractions. Fasting involves slowing down. Even Jesus made time to get away to the desert to be alone with God.

We can’t know what’s down deep in our souls when we’re on the run. We can’t hear the still, small voice with the volume turned up. Turn off the noise; learn to live without distractions.

The Claw
Another way to find out what’s inside each of us is the claw.

C.S. Lewis’ Voyage of the Dawn Treader tells the story of Eustace, a young boy who becomes a dragon due to having been selfish and stubborn.

Aslan, the story’s Christ figure, takes Eustace to a well to bathe, but the boy can’t get in the well because he’s a dragon. The only solution is to shed his skin like a snake, layer by layer. Later, when Eustace asks Aslan how many more layers he must shed, Aslan undresses him.

“I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you,” Eustace says, “but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back and let him do it. The very first tear he made was so deep I thought it had gone right into my heart.

“When he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve felt…then he…threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious, and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found all the pain had gone…After a bit, the lion took me and dressed me…in these new clothes I’m wearing.”

What About You?
Have you been clawed lately? God often uses painful means to change us. Unless there is some situation to create discomfort, people often reject change. Do you need a scratch from Christ?

Be prepared this year for the claw. Christ may cut us in order to do surgery; not to hurt, but to heal us; to put us back together on the inside. Are you willing to take a long, hard look inside? When you feel the pain, be brutally honest with yourself and God. Be grateful for the claw, because the pain of change is better than the pain of being unable to change.

Leave a Reply

About The Author

Dr. David Olshine is the director and professor of Youth Ministry, Family and Culture at Columbia International University in Columbia, South Carolina. He's the author of Studies on the Go: James, 1-2 Peter and 1-3 John (Zondervan/Youth Specialties) and the founder of Youth Ministry Coaches.

Recommended Articles