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11th April: A Legitimate Release (1)

When the care of my heart are many thy consolations cheer my soul. Psalm 94:19

Is there any way for us as Christians to find a legitimate release from the tensions imposed by having to be in the hospital on a 'one-in-two' rota for a year or perhaps longer?

A friend of mine was discussing this with the pastor of his church, a much-respected Christian leader, who expressed the matter frankly: 'Of course, in many ways it's far easier for your pagan colleagues who only have themselves to think about. Once they come off duty -- or maybe even before -- they can find release by leaping into bed with any partner who takes their fancy, or they can drink themselves to temporary oblivion, and so on'.

Unfortunately, in the heat of the moment it is not only our 'pagan colleagues' who end up finding their release in this way. Sadly some Christians deliberately get into situations which they later regret deeply, or find themselves trapped by habits -- sexual or otherwise -- from which they can't break free.

What then are we to do? Of course there are practical measures one should take to try to avoid trouble -- the fellow who knowingly arranges to be alone at night with a nurse in the residence has already lost the battle. But, equally important, we should make plans to occupy free evenings in a definite, relaxing, but nonetheless positive way.

However, there are days when no matter how careful we are, we find ourselves feeling spiritually low, and a superb temptation falls right into our lap. (As a matter of fact I have had such a day while writing this!) But even here there is an answer.

The psalmist in Psalm 61:2 (AV) says 'when my heart is overwhelmed I cry to thee'. As God's children we must similarly learn to turn to him immediately the heat is turned on and we find we are in difficulties. To do this is, of course, far from a natural response. And in order to make it we need to condition our spiritual reflexes by spending time consciously with God throughout the day and not only in a fixed period specially set aside for that purpose (essential as that undoubtedly is). This sort of habit is not easy to cultivate, and for most of us it takes a long time. But it is infinitely worthwhile.

Lord, I confess that one of the reasons why I am
so prone to fall into temptation is because we
spend so little time together, and my relationship
with you is so shallow. It is my sincere desire that
I should know you better and I pray that in the midst
of a very busy life I may give priority to growing in
the knowledge of you.

Further reading: Ps 94:12-23. Pr 18:10.


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