When you simmer stew, if you don’t stir the pot, food can stick to the bottom and ruin the dish. Stirring also lets you check on what’s in the pot, culling anything that doesn’t belong.
- Oops! That carrot got too brown. It must have stuck to the bottom.
- Too much flour. Look at those lumps! Out they come.
- My goodness! What’s that tomato stem doing in there?
God often stirs us to keep us from sinking down to, and sticking at, our lowest level. Or he may allow us to be stirred in order to remove what doesn’t belong.
What does God uses as stirring spoons? People and circumstances. A stirring may go like this, in your head, that is:
- “If she asks me one more time to clean the garage, I’m going to throw something.” What’s in that pot? Anger?
- “If he doesn’t clean that garage, I’m not going to cook for a week. He’ll starve.” (Hmmm, is that a little revenge floating to the top?)
Try to find what’s being stirred to the surface in the life of this fictional lady:
“I’m never early, never late. Jane always admires my perfect timing when I pick her up. Ugh! I told those kids to bring in their bikes. I’ll be late now because I have to do it. I’m going to ground them for a week.
“Hi, Jane. Get in the car. No, I’m not late. You must have come out early. Well, good grief! Look at that stupid, careless driver! He didn’t stop at that stop sign, and look at him on his cell phone, thinks he’s so important. Humph! Where’s a cop when you need one? Well, if we just had a good governor, things would be different. Man! Politicians! Lazy bunch of no good…I hate that guy on the City Council, you know the one who…”
Stir. Stir. Stir! What came to the surface, provoked by nearby people and circumstances? Impatience, judgmental attitude, meanness, self-righteousness, pride, covetousness, anger? We surely don’t want those stuck in us. So…
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV) says, “Give thanks in all circumstances.”
Romans 8:28-29 (NIV) tells us, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.” God uses stirring spoons, often those irritating people and circumstances to show us our weaknesses and to help us become more like him.
What do we do? Here’s a hefty starter list:
- Thank God for whoever or whatever brought a sinful reaction to the surface. (We have to see it before we can get rid of it.)
- Ask God to bless the person he used.
- Give the reaction to Jesus with open honesty. Hatred, self-righteousness, pride…there’s no need to disguise it or analyze it. Just acknowledge that Jesus died for that sin.
- Repent, be truly sorry, and desire to change.
- Ask God to replace what the stirring spoon revealed with the fruit of his Holy Spirit.
This week when a stirring spoon comes along, let’s all follow those steps and rejoice that we aren’t sticking to the bottom of the pot. We’re getting rid of a lot of junk. God is working on us for our good, and that’s worth the stirring.