Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Spit or Swallow?

It is not easy to identify the source.  But, I know the taste!

Yeah ... I recognize the taste.  It is not pleasant.  It's bitter.  It's sour. I'm pretty sure that it doesn't belong in my mouth! The reaction is obvious on my face.

Now what?  Is it one of those sour tastes that is best rejected as I release it from my mouth in what is commonly referred to as a spit? Or is it one of those tastes that, though bitter and sour, is better left to the digestive system?

It's too late to make a decision about whether it should have entered my mouth or not.  It is already there.  Now what?

Do I spit?  Or, do I swallow?

Count on it.  Life is going to bring you both sweet and sour tastes.  Obviously I'm attempting to speak metaphorically.

We all enjoy sweet things.  Sweet tastes seem to get swallowed automatically. We would rather do without the sour ... if possible.  But, life is going to yield both.  The question haunting me today is what to do with that sour taste.

Life is simple ... really.  But, life is also complicated.  I've been back in the United States for just over one week now.  That's after spending the past 8 months in a culture that is not new to me, but definitely remains a cross cultural environment.  Add to that the reality of ministry being all about yielding to Jesus Christ for the glory of God.  Add to that the reality that my cross cultural environment has been evolving over centuries of demon worship and witchcraft.  There is probably other things that could be added, but, hey, isn't that enough?

Being half way around the world in Africa may appear to be glamorous to the uninitiated, but in reality it is filled with moment by moment opportunities to die to self ... to learn to eat dirt ... and like it.  There so many ways to be misunderstood, misrepresented, opposed, envied, and seen as competition. Things often don't work out as anticipated.  Relationships, which appeared to be mutually edifying and healthy, can turn into serious disappointment.  The reality of being used more than loved seems like a constant thread woven through the fabric of relationships.

There are any number of circumstances which leave a bitter/sour taste in the mouth.  Now ... to spit or to swallow? That is the question.

The bitter taste may have been sent or allowed by God.  If it is ... then swallow.

Why? Because your digestive system can not only handle it, but will make it work for your good. The spiritual digestive system will turn it into spiritual nourishment. The work of the Spirit is positive as it is intended to encourage, correct, empower, direct, resulting in humility and surrender ... all providing growth, maturity, and progress.

But, the bitter taste may be the result of a spiritual conspiracy of spiritual entities intended to defeat, delay, discourage, and destroy.

If so, SPIT!  Your spiritual digestive system will reject it and you will get sick.

Funny, however, that in the economy of God NOTHING IS WASTED.  He can make all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

So, let's go ahead and help each other to determine whether to spit or swallow.  And, encourage each other to keep our focus on Jesus and His greater good.



  1. WOW Paul, that's a lot to chew on, I won't be able to spit or swallow for awhile, REALLY !! but that's good , very challenging, makes you think. Where do you come up with all this stuff..I love it or rather a should say I need it, thanks. Your FMIL ( Riddle code ) :)

  2. Thanks FAVORITE MOTHER IN LAW! Experience is a great teacher. Only I usually get the exam before I get the lesson. This is one of the major lessons taught me by Experience during this last tour in Uganda. It's been so valuable.


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