A preacher asked the audience, “If you squeeze an orange, what comes out?”
“Orange juice!” someone yelled out.
“Wrong!” he answered.
“You get out of it whatever’s inside of it. You don’t really know what’s on the inside of something until it gets squeezed. People are the same way. They may look all orangey on the outside, but just see what comes out when they get squeezed.”
I’ve never forgotten that simple little illustration. Perhaps because of the number of times I’ve seen stuff come out of people that completely surprised me. Worse yet, I’ve seen stuff come out of me that completely caught me off guard!
Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?”
Sadly, it usually takes some squeezing to reveal our true spiritual condition. We can drift off course for weeks, months, even years without realizing it.
I believe God divinely uses the ministry of squeezing to expose our hearts and give us an opportunity to get right.
What are some of the primary ways God squeezes us?
I love Mark 4:18-19 in The Message, “[Some people]…are overwhelmed with worries…The stress strangles what they heard, and nothing comes of it.”
I often try to justify my bad behavior by saying, “I’m just stressed!” Yet the reality is that the stress is not making me behave badly, rather it’s revealing what’s true inside of me.
Stress is the indicator not the perpetrator.
According to Revelation 21:5, God is in the business of “making all things new.” Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:16 that the key to growth is “being renewed day by day.” The entire reason we are saved by God’s grace is so that we will change. When we grow resistant to change, we are in fact working against the Holy Spirit.
Changes happening around us often reveals if change is happening in us.
Our response to external change is a good indicator of our walk with Christ.
Pain, more than anything else, is a powerful agent that God uses in our spiritual development plan. God uses pain to:
- Protect you
- Perfect you
- Correct you
- Direct you
- and INSPECT YOU
Proverbs 20:30 says, “Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways.” (GNB)
God allows the pain to expose us before He grows us.
Clearly, God uses all of these and more to show us the painful truth of what’s happening inside us.
So what do we do when we are squeezed and we don’t like what comes out?
1. Admit it.
Have the integrity to say to yourself and those who may have gotten squirted on, “I’m sorry. That’s not who I want to be. Please forgive me.”
2. Examine it.
Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Take some time to figure out what that was all about.
Several years ago I got squeezed and didn’t like what I saw coming out. After examining it, I realized there was some deep-seated pain that I had never really dealt with. I saw a Christian counselor and worked through the root issues.
If we only do step one, we’ve never really addressed the source and we’re going to keep spewing on innocent bystanders.
3. Correct it.
How do you know when you’ve really corrected the sour juice syndrome? Ask God to give you a test squeeze:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (Psalm 139:23–24, NLT)
So, what’s been coming out of you lately?