Squeezed

I don’t know who invented toothpaste or who it was that thought up the brilliant dispensing container of the tube, but it is wonderful. No fuss, no mess, you just squeeze the tube and ‘voila’, what was inside the tube is now out and useful. Oh and we have become sophisticated squeezers; some squeeze from the bottom, some from the middle, some slide the insides to the top and squeeze. (I hear there is even a psychological classification for each method of squeezing. Great, another indicator revealing my interesting mental wiring!) Anyway, the great truth about squeezing is that pressure exerted from the outside brings out what’s on the inside. If you squeeze a tube of toothpaste then toothpaste comes out, same with squeeze cheese, squeeze butter, squeeze pizza sauce, squeeze peanut butter (I don’t think they ever tried chunky), but you get the point. What’s inside comes out.

Now this reality of squeezing holds true in life and in our character. When the pressure of life starts to squeeze us, who we really are comes out. See, we can fake it here and there, but when the pressure of things at work, school, relationship issues, financial issues, health issues, family issues, marriage issues…and go down the list of difficulties, dilemmas, distresses, and disasters, we get squeezed. It is an ugly reality of life. So what comes out when you get squeezed?

We can’t avoid them. Even Jesus said…

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

These squeezing times are also called trials and in the Bible we are encouraged to welcome these times.

James 1:2-3 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

This testing of our faith is a squeeze that reveals either Godly character to celebrate or not so Godly character to work on. I got squeezed the other day as I was driving along and someone either purposefully or unknowingly cut me off. Was all smiling and forgiving and kind? No! I was ticked off and I even yelled (no, not colorful metaphors or expletives…God heal me of that when I got saved…that’s a fun story because wow did I have a foul mouth), and though this was a little squeeze I was surprised at my reaction. Well, I had a great time of confession and talking to the Lord about my stress level and I was sharpened. What about you?

The squeeze is all around us these days; from the economy, to the culture, to the political frenzy, the squeeze is on. What has been interesting to see, speaking of the political pressure of who and how to vote, I have noticed many people who call themselves followers of Jesus get so squeezed, they pop off at friends, family and oh-my on Facebook…it’s crazy. I was walking by what I think were two friends that were arguing loudly, calling each other names, trying to persuade the other to vote their way. No love there, and I was reminded of…

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

What comes out when you get squeezed? Is it love or more clanging cymbals?

Let’s learn from our squeezing and celebrate when Godly characteristics comes out.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

And when the not-so-good characters come out, let’s turn to God and ask Him to lead us and teach us.

Seeking to learn from my squeezing with you,

Mike

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