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  • Writer's pictureMatt Hines

Spiritual Spanx?

I can't remember the first time I heard the word Spanx. I certainly didn't know what the word meant. I was familiar with the term girdle, but evidently a girdle is different. Here is how the internet defines the difference between the two.

Spanx come in 3 different levels of shaping. 1.Smoothing. 2.Shapeing. 3.Sculpt. a girdle comes in one, compression, and might be uncomfortable after awhile.

Thankfully, I haven't worn either, though maybe I should. They both sound uncomfortable, because they change the way we are shaped. I think any change we have to make can be, and usually is, uncomfortable.

When we accept the free gift of grace it changes us. Jesus tells us in Matthew 3:30, his yoke is easy and his burden is light. Do you know what a yoke is? It is not a bridle, used to control an animal. Oxford Languages defines it as, "a wooden crosspiece that is fastened over the necks of two animals and attached to the plow or cart that they are to pull." Jesus doesn't so much control us with reigns as he does attach himself to us and walk beside us, yoked to us.

Verse 29 says, "take my yoke upon you, and learn from me..." Jesus walks with us and teaches us how to handle this life. Verse 28 tells us that before we accepted Jesus' yoke we were most likely tired and worn down from the labor and heaviness of life. He promises that if we will walk with him and learn from him our attachment to him will be easy and our burden will be light.

John the baptist wasn't talking specifically about being yoked to Jesus in John 3:30 when he says, "He must increase, but I must decrease." However, the concept is the same. He understood that his natural tendencies were at odds with Jesus' leadership. The best way for him to respond to Jesus was to allow Jesus to willingly take the lead and submit to his power and wisdom.

All of this means a change must take place in our life so that we might be shaped into the image of Jesus. We are to take His yoke and put it on. We are to learn from Him and not fight against his leadership. We are to allow his strength and leadership to sustain and guide us. It doesn't mean life won't get difficult, it just means we won't have to endure it alone or in our own strength.

When we accept the yoke, it becomes a kind of Spanx that shapes us into the image of Jesus. It allows us to decrease and the picture of Jesus to increase in our lives. I am still learning from my attachment to Jesus. This fast has been a great learning experience for me. Jesus speaks of a fast in the sermon on the mount as if he expects his disciples to fast. I never had, and I am beginning to understand the power fasting. It's not increased power in me, it is increased access to His power as I depend on Him more. I pray your fast is continuing to make you more dependent on God and less focused on the world around you. Continue to pray for personal revival, church unity, and the God's wisdom in the midst of the building project.

Pastor Matt

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