Shaken Not Stirred
“Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same (resolve), because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.” I Peter 4:1
This writing was “born” not thought up. It came, in part, from a conversation I had with a church friend. I was asked how I was getting through yet another “recovery mode”. I said, that my resolve has been tested but my faith is not shaken. The verse above tells us how Jesus suffered in His body/flesh and that we have to have the same attitude or resolve as He did to get through our own trials. His suffering was unjustly received, as is most sicknesses we experience in our bodies.
Hebrews 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who, for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
This Hebrews verse is another example of Jesus being in a trying and stressful situation and how He dealt with it. Jesus looked ahead, he saw the bigger picture than merely dwelling on what He was going to go through. He saw the value of the experience in relation to what it would produce. And He resolved to walk that path set before Him. The writer says to focus our eyes on Him - for He is perfecting our faith through all of life’s situations.
In October 2021, I came down with pneumonia. It was one of the worst times of sickness I’ve had up to that time. The weakness, the horrible coughing, the difficulty breathing. It took me a couple weeks to recover and feel well enough to start playing racquetball again.
My third time playing, 11/8/2021, I had cardiac arrest. I collapsed on the court and was dead when I hit the floor - no pulse no breathing. After CPR and then getting paddled, my heart started beating again. On 11/12 I had open heart, double bypass surgery. Before me was a 12 week recovery. Obviously, this was more than a sickness, it was a life changing event - something I never thought would happen to me!
Two months after my cardiac arrest, I started playing racquetball again. Then on 1/12/2022 I started having strange symptoms. On the 14th I tested positive for Covid-19. My 3rd recovery period in four months.
So what’s going on Lord? Many people said after being dead and brought back to life, that God must have something for me to do. Before the attack, my attitude, my resolve, was to do what I saw Jesus doing and prayed earnestly to hear His voice speak to me. After the attack, my attitude remains the same, but it just keeps getting interrupted by medical issues! Or does it??
Here, the writer of Hebrews refers back to when God shook Mt Sinai:
Hebrews 12:26b-29, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”
The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”
The title of this teaching is reflective of the above verse from Hebrews (though stolen from James Bond movies regarding his preference in martini’s). God will shake us so that we can see those things which are the “created things” in our lives. He desire is to reveal to us their true nature as worthless compared to those things which cannot be shaken - the Kingdom of God! This is similar to gold being refined by fire (see Malachi 2:2-3).
I am certain of this fact - the process of being shaken, refined or sanctified is not our burden, for it is God’s very nature to bring forth within us a Godly nature!
2 Peter 1:3-4 “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”
Yes, I have been shaken, my resolve for yet embarking on another “recovery” period tested, yet the writer of Hebrews and the apostle Peter both speak to my heart and spirit regarding this shaking I have experienced.
If, indeed, I have come back from the dead for a purpose, then maybe my recoveries are more of a spiritual nature than physical! Maybe the shaking and suffering I have experienced which have required the necessity of recovery after recovery for my body over the last 4 months are a testament of God’s work in me. I believe Jesus wants me to say YES to that which cannot be shaken and NO to those things which are worthless in bringing forth the Kingdom of God wherever I am!
James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
That is a meaty teaching! “Let perseverance finish its work”! Sanctification doesn’t come out of a microwave - it’s slow roasted in a hot oven.
Hebrews 12:10 “Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness”
Discipline here means:
1. To train by instruction and exercise; drill.
2. To bring to a state of order and obedience by training and control.
I exercise regularly. Whether walking, playing racquetball or lifting weights, there is a measure of physical strain that results in improved stamina; in terms of weight lifting, the word would be resistance - pushing against and through something that will ultimately bring better muscle tone. I have to be disciplined in order to achieve my goal of “being in shape” spiritually and physically.
God’s discipline is a spiritual workout. Now, understand, I do not believe that my recent medical issues have been brought on by God. Sickness is one of the results of the sin brought into the world by Adam and Eve. But my God can use all things for His purposes and glory. I contend that I desire to pursue His purposes by understanding the revelation of scripture that I’ve shared with you: God doesn’t just want me to recover physically, He wants me to recover spiritually! As the writer of Hebrews stated: “the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.”
Therefore, I will embrace that which I experience in my life, and seek God in and through it all. I pray that I will continue to identify those things which are shakable and give them over to God. By His power and grace only that which is unshakable will remain.
May the Lord give you revelation and understanding for the scriptures I have shared; so that the purposes He has designed specifically for you will be fulfilled!
January 22, 2022