Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Walk-on Wednesday - Take the Oil - Martin Wiles

Welcome to Walk-on Wednesday. By Hump Day, we are struggling, but we believe a good devotion can strengthen us to finish the week strong. 

You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Psalm 23:5b NKJV

Never had I encountered such aggravation.

Although my mom birthed me in New Jersey, I knew nothing of living there. After three months, my father was discharged from the Army, and we headed back to the lower regions of South Carolina where most of my family resided.

I’m sure I encountered these insects of aggravation soon thereafter—although I had to age a little before I understood what they were. Gnats. The most aggravating insect I’ve ever encountered. During my middle school years, when Dad moved us to Tennessee for four years, I enjoyed not having to fight with these persistent bugs which love to fly in ears, noses, and mouths.

When we moved back to South Carolina, my vacation from gnats ended. I suppose I learned to live with them because nothing got rid of them. Dousing myself with insect repellant kept them off the exact parts of my body where I put the repellant, but they swarmed in front of me and around me, looking for one spot where I had not lavished any repellant.

People not from the South think we in the South are friendly because we generally wave at everyone. What they don’t know is that often we’re just shooing away gnats.

A good shepherd, David included, knew all about aggravating insects and parasites. Although the summer grazing on the mountain summits excited the sheep, the bugs that come along with the warm weather didn’t. One type of fly entered the sheep’s nose and laid larvae in their heads. The resulting bug ran around in the sheep’s head, causing the sheep to thrash about and bang their heads against anything that might provide relief.

To prevent this fly from entering the sheep’s nose—and to keep the rams from hurting each other during mating season—the shepherd applied various oils to the sheep’s head and nose.

I’ve discovered aggravations are parcel to life. They don’t all come at one time, although sometimes they seem to bunch up, but they do appear regularly. A lost job, a low-paying job, a broken-down vehicle, a malfunctioning appliance, an untrustworthy friend, a bullying peer, an unpaid bill, an unexpected surgery, or a rebellious child or grandchild. The list seems endless.

A part of enjoying life is expecting the aggravations. They infiltrate a world cursed by sin—a world that changed from God’s original purpose the moment Adam and Eve decided to disobey His instructions. When we expect the aggravations, our attitudes don’t deteriorate so quickly when they arrive.

God also gives us the mind of Christ. Jesus always operated according to the Father’s will, never sinning despite the aggravations He encountered. Allowing His Spirit to guide and prepare us helps us face aggravations without responding in an unChristlike manner.

When we learn to live life joyfully, even with the aggravations, our cup overflows. Like the sheep who grazed contentedly because the shepherd had warded off the bugs that aggravated them, we’ll face life with optimism, knowing our Good Shepherd’s blessings will outweigh the aggravations.

Don’t let life’s aggravations cause you to miss out on God’s best for you.

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your oil of love that gives us strength to face life’s aggravations and keep going.

Tweetable: Are you accepting or rejecting God's oil? 

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