Recently, I have been battling more and more problems with swallowing, choking, nausea, and vomiting. So, when my doctor placed an exploratory procedure on the table as an option, I felt the benefits outweighed the risks and I agreed to move forward with it.
On the day of the procedure, my heart raced within me like I had just ran a marathon. Although thankfully, the nurses and doctors eased my fears. In what seemed like just a short time, I woke up in the recovery room fairly groggy, yet alert enough to feel pressure and a razor blade sensation in my throat and chest. Even with the nurses’ encouragement, water was a fight to sip.
Not long after, the doctor came to share his findings. “Alisha, your esophagus and throat were severely constricted”.
According to Merriam- Webster’s dictionary, constriction means, “narrowed, especially by encircling pressure; drawing together”.
While the cause for the constriction is still under investigation, the change and widening he made were immediately apparent. And boy was I sore. But I was breathing so much clearer than before.
Similar to my esophagus and its constriction of my breathing and other functions without me even realizing it, sin can wrap around our organs and choke all life of us.
Of course, it doesn’t happen overnight. But with continued disobedience, along with the worries and busyness of life, we end up super “sick” and wondering how we ended up there to begin with.
So, what is the process for “opening” our airways up?
I believe James Chapter 4 verses 7 through 10 points us in the right direction.
It says, “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.”
- Humble yourselves
- The words “humility” and “humbleness” are found all throughout scripture and twice just in this passage. Still, the Lord prompted me to dive into their definitions.
- Humble means “freedom from pride or arrogance, thinking of oneself less” according to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary.
- I love how another interpretation stated it. Humility is “believing what God says about me over anyone else’s opinion, including my own”.
- Often when we consider humility, we think it means we must think of ourselves “less”. However, both definitions illustrate this is not the case.
- Humility calls us to look beyond ourselves and our own desires to almighty God, our Creator, Father, Lord.
- As we stand in His light, we recognize our frailty and failings. Isaiah 64 says even our best deeds are “filthy rags”.
- Therefore, we must choose to get off the throne and allow the Lord to take His rightful place in our lives.
2. Resist the Devil
- The rest of verse 7 gives us our next step and as I again went on a vocabulary hunt, I found “resist” to mean “to withstand the action or effect”.
- Notice that resist is an ACTION. It is not passive.
- So, especially when it comes to the devil, we must have a game plan and be battle ready daily for John 10:10 says, “the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy”.
- We don’t have to wonder if. It is a matter of when. Therefore, we must run to the Word and put on our armor (*See Ephesians 6 & “The Battle for Our Souls” Series*) so we are ready.
- The more we are in scripture, the easier we are able to distinguish between truth and lies as well.
3. Come Close to God
- In verse 8, we see another ACTION step.
- Another translation uses the words “draw near” which paints a picture in my mind of a child, crawling up in her daddy’s lap.
- Likewise, our Heavenly Father longs for us to come crawl into His lap, no matter what we have done or how old we are.
- As we draw near to God and His Word, we will find that God loves us so much that He sent His one and only Son, Jesus to die on the cross for us and to pay the price of our sins.
- Still, just like my medical doctor and his findings with my procedure, God cannot leave us in the condition we are in.
- He longs to bring us into the operating table of His light so the fear, busyness, lies, addiction, sin, sorrow, jealousy, unforgiveness, and pride can be exposed, so we can be fully cleansed and healed from the inside out to fully“breathe” Him and His Spirit in.
- The “stretching” process will not likely be comfortable and some days you may even question God’s purpose. Although, I can testify that it is worth it.
- When we are able to inhale without hindrance, we can also exhale fully and share our gifts and testimony with others.
Nonetheless, I pray no matter where you are in this process, you will see HOPE. No one person or situation is too far gone. It just takes us being willing to take a step in obedience towards God. Like a doctor, He is waiting to fully open our airways so we can live life to the fullest and bring glory to Him above all.
Much love and prayers always, Alisha