When my dad suffered a stroke in 2016, so much changed in his life afterwards, not only the fact that he required more support than he normally did, but his lifestyle too largely was one I noticed so much. He’s always been a decisive man, knowing what he wanted and when, particularly with his food, suddenly, after his stroke, he’s having to work with a diet prescribed by a doctor and dietician to aid his quick recovery.
It has been almost 5 years since that stroke and every time I’m home, I still have days when I look into my dads food tray when he’s being served and I go ‘but daddy doesn’t eat this‘, they’ll be quick to remind me that while it was never his preference or choice, he has had to eat it over time to help him get better. I also noticed that with time, he didn’t really moan much about it anymore, when food comes that he isn’t fond of, he reminds himself by himself that he has to eat it, even though it is not his preference or first choice. His desire to get better now trumps his preference or choice in any matter.
I was walking to work this morning and The Holy Spirit reminded me of this as I munched on my packed pancake breakfast. I remembered how much my dad enjoyed pancakes pre-stroke and how he could have it as often as every evening, as compared to now, when he still has it, but not as often because of his diet curated to help him get better. It was almost a sad memory till God snapped me out of it saying it was all for his good.
The Holy Spirit did not stop there, He explained to me how this is the change that happens in us when we come to Christ too, after we’ve undergone ‘spiritual surgery‘ (salvation), our lifestyles change. The change in lifestyle may not be favourable or preferred at first but it is for our own good and to the glory of our Father. This is not to say that Abba gives us things intentionally against our preference or will, like how my dad now eats food he wouldn’t necessarily opt for before, but with God, He helps us to keep subjecting our preferences in the flesh until we get to a place where pleasing Him trumps our choices or preferences.
In Christ, a lot of our preferences might be changed and if not, they come with God glorifying motives and intentions that please God and actually benefits us in the long run.
My Spirit is happiest when my flesh feels violated the most, like how I so badly wanted to leave someone a message the other day and the Holy Spirit said no, the content of the message wasn’t even bad or insulting but He said no, silence was what He would have me say at that time. I was so angry that He would not let me so I cried, but after I finished crying, He said ‘it would never be as hard as this again because you’ve now violated this fraction of your flesh, you’ve shown it that your Spirit is in control here‘ and that was so powerful for me because indeed, we mortify the desires of the flesh when we walk in/with the spirit (Galatians 5:16, Romans 8:13).
Everyday, our preference will die and our desire to please God will grow. Like my dad, we’ll get to a place where we never moan about where God takes us or what God asks us to do or not do. We’ll only see that Abba has spoken and we’ll move to obey.