I am sure many of you when you decided to devote yourself to the study of the word of God couldn’t help but notice the many figures of speech that gloss the pages of your translated bible of choice. Figures of speech are those marvelous picture words that pack a punch, and typically have the ability to send one’s mind soaring with possible revelation once digested . In my experience when meditated on ,with the guidance of Holy Spirit, my understanding of the God breathed word can be deepened and strengthened so much, but, if approached in the wrong posture, like many of us do, figures of speech can confuse us to no end…
Reading text in the bible can be confusing enough, but throw in the figures of speech, that often mask as the Riddler from Batman, can send anyone down a rabbit hole of over spiritualizing, misunderstandings, and pure mental exhaustion. You need Holy Spirit to guide you every step of the way for without the third person of the trinity’s assistance you don’t have a shot in the dark, of extracting, the rich deep meanings that wait for the committed lover of the word, and follower of Jesus Christ.
Take our beloved Paul , for example, in 2 Corinthians 12:7 he says this, “…or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.”
The infamous line here is that Paul was given a thorn in his flesh. Hmm, does this mean that our ,bible thumping, Paul from Tarsus fell in a rose bush and rather than taking the thorns out of his side he decided to leave it in and complain about it in the bible? Good grief no! Paul , in a picture word , is illustrating to us that the Christian walk is about balance, and even though we are all tremendously blessed with gifts, knowledge, opportunities, and the elected few, like Paul, found himself being caught up in the third heaven. This is like the three chosen to witness the transfiguration for when you are riding high on that ‘high’ of a mountain often we need to be balanced out with something in our life, that when we are forced to deal with it, the experience brings us back down to earth. As we all know the sweet just isn’t as sweet without the bitter.
Let’s just be honest Paul from Tarsus was the bomb.com and still is today, but this torment that Satan meant for bad God turned it into good because, the presence of it, resulted in Paul not riding, too high for too long, in first class, basking in his own greatness. Pride and vanity, full blown, can blow a human’s head up resembling Mr. Potato head if you don’t watch it. We discover that due to this thorn in the flesh Paul was humbled, and had no choice but to wrestle with the weight, and grief that perplex all humans daily. Oh, but those that are experiencing the same thorn as Paul had experienced God, so graciously sends the same reply, my grace is sufficient for thee. As a result Paul’s focus was spreading the gospel to the gentiles, and I thank the Lord because where would I be today?
The other infamous figure of speech is when Jesus says in Matthew 16:23, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross , and follow me.”
Does this mean to go to a carpenter, and have him chisel a cross out of one piece of wood, strap it to your back, like you would a Christmas tree to the top of your vehicle, and then find Jesus and start walking behind him? I think not. Salvation is a very beautiful thing, but like anything it has a cost, and when you choose to follow Christ there are burdens that one must bear. Now, I’d like to clarify that many people , Christians and non-Christians, are still bearing burdens that are simply not theirs due to not fully understanding their new identity, the new regenerating work that is done immediately when you choose to follow our Lord and Savior. For when you repent for your sins, and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord you are seen as holy in His sight free from blemish and accusation. Wow, in a world that nothing is free this one scripture makes me stop every time and thank sweet Jesus for interceding for all of humanity when He died on the cross for our sins. Jesus said I am the life , the way, and the truth and no one gets to the Father except through me.
But, this figure of speech of one picking up their cross and walking, in my opinion, speaks to the cost one must bear when you are committed to serving Him: the persecution, the trials, the afflictions, emotional struggles ,and the dying to self one must walk out daily when submitting to the inner work of the Holy Spirit . This is a hard pill to swallow; even from the cutest doctor, but in the end you are bringing the flesh under submission to the Spirit for you will learn that the flesh has no rights, and choosing to not go out with friends to the night club drinking might be a form of denying your flesh, and something you might have to wrestle with. Remember you are not alone for we all have our crosses to carry.
The good news is, as a believer of Jesus Christ, though you die with Him you will also RISE WITH HIM!!!! As a believer , and follower of Jesus you will have not only a new life, but you will also have new resources, and a wonderful new destiny. I know it seems scary, and I have to say prior to me surrendering , and asking Jesus to be the Lord of my life I had the impression that I was going to lose the part of me that I liked about myself. I thought that somehow following Jesus it would mean I would be unrecognizable to myself. I am a witness that this is so far from the truth. Following Jesus only enhanced all the good things that I liked about myself, all the pleasing, and unique things about myself, and for the first time I can proudly say that I really like who I am, and who He is making me to be.
In my opinion walking with the creator of the universe is the safest place to be, and I would love if you would come and join me!