I couldn’t believe Melvin was actually asking me to do it. Melvin, my girlfriends (now my wife) uncle had a large lump on the back of his right hand. I asked Melvin what the lump was. He said that he had recently went to the doctor and found out that it was a totally harmless lump, but still bothering him. I asked him if he was going to have it removed and he said “no.” He went on to tell me that the doctor had told him if someone would hit his hand with a book as hard as they could that it would go away. He said that he had been trying to find someone to do it for a week but none of his friends would do it. Then……… I volunteered to wack his hand. He was willing to go through the pain of having his hand smashed to get the desired outcome.
Spiritual growth in the Christian life can be painful. Letting go of sinful practices in our lives is compared to putting something to death. Romans 8:13 says, “for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” To get the desired outcome of growth in Christ by the power of God’s Spirit we have to “kill” the deeds of the flesh. Christians are engaged in warfare. We must be committed to the pain of killing those desires that lead us away from God. Colossians 3:5 says, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”
Melvin laid his hand on a table and handed me a large, thick book. I counted to three, raised the book over me head and slammed it on his hand as hard as I could. Melvin let out a shriek! Then……. The lump was gone. Melvin hurt, but was happy. Are you and I willing to go through the pain of sanctification? We must be willing to kill sin in our lives but remember……. The pain comes first…
“For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.” I Thessalonians 4:7