When I was young everyone knew or had seen Mexican jumping beans. They were seed pods that had been occupied by the larva of a little moth. The bean would begin to jump as the bean was heated, because the larva would spasm in response to the heat, attempting to move the bean to a cooler place to avoid dehydration and possible death. Just holding the seeds or beans in your hand would cause them to heat up and jump.
One day I brought some to school and put them in our teacher’s drawer. As she came in she told me to “sit down…Now!” I told her I was looking for my snake. Needless to say when the beans jumped in the drawer….
Yesterday while discussing life with a friend I said I felt as if the heat was being turned up and people were responding by jumping all over the place. A good analogy I thought except we are not jumping beans and we are not to be moved by the heating up of the day.
Our response to pain or difficulty is often to run. (If you read my note yesterday there are times to “move” but they are not as frequently as one might believe.) Pain for the believer outside of the normal course of life until it has been taken in dominion by His people looks like this.
- Indecision or inability to make decisions (Check out Peace Is Our Referee.)
- Lack of scripture knowledge (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
- Misunderstanding of God’s love for them, coupled with lack of trust of God
- Inability to receive or accept correction from God or His people
As a young believer I was full of myself. I read my Bible, prayed and fasted and never gave life a thought. Many things changed in my life immediately. But not all things did. And the ones that didn’t often cropped up in relationships. Many appeared in my manner of doing life. Some were easy to repair. Some were not so easy to resolve. I was not part of a culture of grace at the time. Because of a “lawful” culture life was a lot “harder” with a lot more rules.
What helped me were the relationships that thought I was worth persevering in. Some that thought that there was a little hope for changes in my life. (The culture of law is getting it right. The culture of grace is He got it right.) And because of that culture and my own thinking when correction in an area came down the line I often struggled with it.
I admit I was a handful. A pastor’s wife once said to me, “I have only heard my husband yell twice in our whole life and both times was at you.”
One time a spiritual person sat me down and proceeded to berate me over three areas he felt needed to be changed. I agreed with 2 but not the third. That was not good enough. The relationship of years was soon written off by him because I did not agree.
If one wants to mature one must expect that correction and course change will come. Sometimes it will come through God, sometimes revealed through scripture and other times through His trusted children. (Hebrews 12:11)
And is that not the rub? Sometimes the correction to help us mature comes from our friends and those that have invested in us. Beware the man who cannot listen to his wife’s counsel. Beware the person who rejects discipline or correction out of woundedness or pride. Grace and community are the seedbed of Christianity and relationship. This is where we grow. (James 1:5)
When the heat of correction comes your way, the choice is to jump. When things do not go your way the temptation is to choose the way of “easy.” But not all easy roads lead “up.” The picture is often that of a child in diapers, full of needs. God has made provision for you and I in all things and all areas. His desire is for us to tap into it. Heat will come our way. Our response to it will be our show of maturity or immaturity. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9, Proverbs 24:10)
The same hot water; can soften a carrot, harden an egg or brew coffee. (For the full story.)You can soften in the face of adversity or correction as the carrot did, once strong and hard in its life. You can harden as the egg did forgoing your fragility. Or you can be like the ground coffee beans taking “dominion” over the water and changing it.
Heat will come. It is inevitable. Pressures will appear. Adversity will raise its head. You can be like the Mexican Jumping Bean, moving to preserve one’s life or you can see yourself as already dead. (Galatians 2:20) And learn and change and grow.
I feel that I need to emphasize that I am NOT talking about abuse of power or authority, the placing one under the law, mixture, condemnation or subservience, or being subject to sexual, physical or emotional abuse. I have listed some resources here that deal with communication, abuse and honor.