When I opened my fridge 4 days ago, I was assaulted with a smell that I knew shouldn't be there. Something in the back of my refrigerator was beginning to rot.
But wait. I was busy and there
was no time to clean the fridge. I ignored it. Maybe it would go away...
By yesterday, the smell was so strong that it was beginning to
permeate through milk and bread, and even the lettuce came out initially
smelling like rotting food. I couldn't put off the cleaning any longer;
but I was totally surprised to find that the source of the stench was an
unopened bag of kale...
Wait. I only brought that bag home four
days ago, and kale is one of my husband's favorite salad ingredients!
Nonetheless, my fridge would never smell sweet again unless I threw it
So many of us have a "stench" in our lives that shows its
ugly head from time to time. This "stench" is oppression. In me, it
generally manifests itself as depression, but it could also manifest
itself as anxiety or fear or a host of other things. Now I am not a
psychologist and do not pretend in any way to be an expert on these
problems. I believe there can be a clinical root to these types of
oppression, and it is important to see a doctor. It has been my personal
experience, however, that this oppression may also be rooted, at least
in part, in the spiritual realm. It is one of the weapons that the enemy
of our souls uses against us.
For me, whenever depression begins
to show itself, it does so gradually; and just like I was initially
ignoring the bad smell emanating from my fridge, I often try to ignore
Ignoring my fridge didn't make it smell any better, however,
and neither does ignoring my depression make it go away. Instead, it
grows so strong that everyone around me can see that I have fallen, once
again, into its vicious clutches.
Just like I had to take the
time and effort to go through my fridge, I also need to sit down with
God and allow Him to do a thorough "soul" search to identify the "root"
of my depression. Generally speaking, it is a surprise to me that I have
once again gotten entangled by unforgiveness, inability to relinquish
control, disappointment, worry, or sometimes even anger at God.
Once I have found the root, however, I have to choose to give it up, to
hand it to God. Remember that I really didn't want to throw out
the kale, and in the same way. In a similar fasion, I often find I don't
want to hand over whatever is at the root of my depression.
After all, why shouldn't I be disappointed when my dreams come crashing
down? Don't I have a right to be angry at ______ for treating me so
unjustly? Shouldn't the fact that I just received a bad medical
diagnosis be disheartening?
Nonetheless, it didn't matter that
kale is my husband's favorite. I had to throw it out in order for my
fridge to smell nice again. In the same way, whatever it is that is at
the root of our oppression, we have to deal with it completely or it
will continue to contaminate our lives.
Whatever the oppression
may be, we need to recognize that our struggle is not against flesh and
blood, but against: "...the rulers, against the authorities, against
the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil
in the heavenly realms." (Eph. 6:12b NIV). Here are some
suggestions for dealing with these things from a spiritual standpoint:
Understand the urgency with which we are admonished to: "Be
alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a
roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8 NIV).
This means we need to immediately go to God the moment there are signs
of the oppression and allow Him to help us trace it to its roots.
2. Once the root is identified, we are told: "Humble yourselves,
therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." (1 Peter
5:6,7 NIV). We need to humbly give God the situation that causes us to
worry or to be disappointed. We need to repent of our efforts to be in
control and acknowledge the supremacy of the all-knowing, all-loving God
of the universe. We need to let go of our anger and forgive.
3. Finally, we
must: "be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the
full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's
schemes." (Eph. 6:10-11 NIV). It is only when we are free of the
root of the oppression that we can stand up in the power of God's might
and claim victory over it in Jesus' name: "But thank God! He gives
us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1
Cor. 15:57 NIV; See also
Got a "stink" in the "fridge" of your soul? Go
on a "stench" hunt! Allow God to help you trace it back to its roots,
Give those roots to God, and then walk in the victory He has given you!
Oh, and when my husband sniffed that bag of kale, it's safe to
say he didn't want it anyway...
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author --
"Aboard God's Train -- A
Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet
Scriptural Nuggets, a
website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with
Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.