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5th August: A Testimony or a Front? (1)

But understand this, that in the last days will come times of stress. 2 Timothy 3:1

We were in the anaesthetic room, and the consultant anaesthetist was explaining in his affable friendly way some of the special points about anaesthesia for cataract extraction -- affable, that is, until he came to induce the patient, when in his haste, he pricked his finger quite badly on a 'butterfly' needle. Instantly his plastic smile vanished, and his face flushed angrily as he poured out a stream of cursing and four-letter words.

It was only a minor incident to be sure. But I remember it so well because it was the first of many later occasions when I saw the thin veneer behind which many doctors hide break down completely, and the anger and frustration of their true selves break through, often at the very slightest provocation. Their friendliness and apparent calm and control were in reality just a front.

How do we as Christians stand up to the test of stress? Do we have a real and vital day-to-day experience of the Holy Spirit making us more like Christ, or do we simply have a Christian facade? a form of godliness but denying the power thereof (2 Tim 3:5 AV)?

During the last week of my second housejob, one of the ward-clerks bidding me farewell said 'It's been so good working with you because you are always the same. You've never got to ask the nurses, "Is X in a good mood today?" You know you're always approachable'.

That deeply moved me, as I had no idea that she had been watching my life so closely. I gave thanks to God that to one person at least I had shown consistent testimony, and that this woman could see that Jesus really did make a difference in my life, and it wasn't just an act. It is my prayer that you too -- albeit unconsciously -- may show something of the constancy and love of the living Lord as you go about your work today.

Lord, please deliver me from pretending to be what I am not.
In the areas where you show me I am wrong,
help me to turn to you for the strength to change,
and not to be content with just glossing over them.

Further reading: Mt 12:35-37.


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