FLORIDA, January 24, 2013 — One day as I sat next to my precious daughter at a nail salon, I was interrupted from my relaxing pedicure by a stabbing pain in my big toe. I laid my magazine aside and looked down at the lady kneeling at my feet who, to my horror, announced loudly in broken English, “You have fungus.”
“A what?” I asked.
“A fungus,” she confirmed as she held up my toe for all the ladies in the salon to see.
My toe had been hurting for months. In fact, it had been sore since the last pedicure I had received months prior in another town. As I looked down at my naked toe I was shocked to see the brightest, nastiest, green gunk shining from underneath my big toe nail.
I looked at her and quickly said, “Paint it!”
I didn’t want anyone to see this nasty imperfection nor did I want to face it. I don’t mind going green, but this was not on my agenda.
A few weeks later, my toe really started hurting. It got feverish and began to swell. Realizing the seriousness of any infection, I realized it was time to get serious about my toe! So, off to the Internet we (my husband and I) went in search of a quick fungal cure.
First thing I needed to do, he said, was remove the paint. Reluctantly, I bent over and started wiping off my precious red paint. Tim remained brave as the green was exposed. He kept reading. Next, he said, I needed to blow dry my toe and alternate soaking my toe in a bowl of Clorox and a bowl of vinegar. Hopefully, in several months, he encouraged, my toe would be as good as new. So much for a quick fix!
I immediately began following Doctor Tim’s orders, but even after a year of treatment, the infection remained. I finally went to a real live doctor who prescribed medicine to fight the infection from the inside out.
I am happy to announce that my big toe is finally pain-free and beautiful once again! Oh if only the rest of the “uglies” in my life could be this simple to cure. I know you are shaking your head at this point as you realize I am getting ready to make a spiritual analogy out of a nasty green toe … but here it goes!
When I look at my toe I can’t help but think of the song that says, “Oh be careful little feet where you go…” If only I had been careful where my feet where going, I wouldn’t have come home with a fungus from a nasty nail salon tub!
The verse “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough” (Galatians 5:9) pops into my head. In the above scenario, a little fungal growth worked its way into my toe and ultimately began to affect my whole being in a negative way. It throbbed and caused pain with every step. Similarly, when I don’t guard the choices of my life – my thoughts, activities, and relationships – I can open a door that allows pieces of the world to infiltrate my life, an infiltration that if left unchecked can, like my toe, affect every step I take.
One of my favorite prayers in the Bible is David’s request in Psalms 139:23-24. He asks God to search his heart, his thoughts, his steps, and reveal any “fungus” in his life so that David could walk in the way everlasting. Ok, it doesn’t actually say fungus, but you get my point.
David, who God calls a man after His own heart, took the time to sit still before God and ask God to reveal any “uglies” in his life so that they could be exposed and removed and so David could ultimately walk in victory. Just like I couldn’t walk in victory with a throbbing toe, I can’t expect to walk in victory when sin is allowed to grow unchecked in my life.
Sometimes when little sins are exposed in my life – sins like pride, jealousy, fear, anxieties, and anger – I am tempted to look for a quick fix just as I did for my toe. I ask God to take away my issues immediately. When a quick fix isn’t found, I often just want to “paint over” the issue, forget that it’s there, hope it goes away on its own, and in the meantime, pray no one notices!
But just like the toe, if I want healing to come, I have to be willing to let God strip off the “paint” and expose the issue. Next, I have to make a choice to allow God to heal the “infection”, and then I have to do my part to protect myself from being contaminated again. One way to do this is to alternate soaking in “bowls” of prayer and the Word. As I do, over time, healing will come. I also have to allow God to heal me from the inside out. Although this can often be a painful, lengthy, and humbling process, a process that often requires my true self being exposed, it is the only way to true victory.
So, take a seat. Allow God to search you from head to toe. Give Him permission to expose anything in your life that’s not of Him. As He does, ask for forgiveness, apply the Word, guard your heart and mind, and watch as God enables you to walk in victory!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. (Hebrews 12:1)
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