In the first days after his 1pm arrival on February 27, 2017, I realized something interesting about my baby boy, Judah. The white of his eyes had a yellow haze. His forehead was a yellowish tint as well. Several times when a doctor or nurse entered our labor and delivery room, I asked what they thought about him, but no one mentioned what I saw.
He had infant jaundice or high bilirubin, which is quite common for babies. It is the byproduct of the death of red blood cell in an infants’ body. In fact, babies are born with excess red blood cells along with the inability to effectively filter the bilirubin through their liver after red blood cells die naturally to make room for more. When bilirubin is high and increasing, left untreated, this accumulation could have toxic effects, though symptoms are initially mild, such as drowsiness or sleepiness.
Still, despite being diagnosed, there was nothing doctors would do about it until Judah’s 72-hour retest. Then his pediatrician would determine if levels would require more intensive medical treatment.
We were discharged early due to lack of beds to await the 72-hour retest at home. There we were advised to feed him regularly and provide sun exposure through the windows. The former helps expel the excess bilirubin from the body through wet diapers, while the latter aides in breaking down the bilirubin from the inside out.
We intended to heed the instructions exactly, but we awoke the next morning to a very cloudy day.
Good thing our lives aren’t relegated to mere luck.
I fed Judah as regularly as he wished. What’s more, we repositioned the rocker closer to the window despite the cloudiness, and prayed that God would literally part the clouds as HE once parted the Red Sea so many years ago.
And so He had.
Time and again the sun shown through the clouds to bathe Judah’s body with light.
The next day’s retest revealed his bilirubin levels had decreased to medium-low risk. The feeding and sun exposure had done it’s job and continued to as his levels decreased with each subsequent retest.
My sleep-deprived mommy-to-an-infant brain couldn’t help but wonder: Could what we experienced with Judah be analogous to spiritual condition?
Prescription Plan Part 1: FEAST regularly
Similarly, there are byproducts to sin in life that can be toxic at best if left to its own accumulating devices. But what is our treatment plan in those instances?
To focus on the sin would certainly NOT suffice. Instead, we ought to focus on the effectiveness of what our Great Physician prescribes?
Not too long ago I realized some sin in my own heart in the area of pride towards my husband that eventually gave way to disrespect. Also, with the busyness of life, my prayer life had become nill. Besides, there was so much to get done. Eventually I knew if left “untreated” so to speak, my pride and self sufficiency in this next season of life would have toxic effects on me and even my family. Besides, pride, no matter how long it takes, always leads to destruction. King Solomon says it best:
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of a humble spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud.” Proverbs 16:18-19 MEV
So the saying goes, “Don’t forget what you’ve learned climbing up the mountain while you’re walking in the valley,” so in the valley of my sin struggles, I recalled the Great Physicians prescription plan spoken to me while at my height spiritually
Part 1: Feast regularly.
This is akin to what the physicians prescribed for Judah, but in my case I was to feast on “my daily bread,” God’s Word. I would read it and allow it to speak directly to my heart in order to expose and expel deceptive pride.
In essence, I did what Jesus had done when tempted in the wilderness speaking, “It is written…” followed by the truth that eventually caused the father of lies to flee.
I had my own, “It is written” experience when it comes to pride involving the following verses.
PSALM 138:6; PROVERBS 3:34; PROVERBS 29:23; MATTHEW 23:12; LUKE 1:52; JAMES 4:6; 1 PETER 5:5, JOHN 15:5, 2 CORINTHIANS 12:9-10
6 For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar.
34 Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor.
23 One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.
12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate;
6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 5 Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
““I am the vine, you are the branches. He who remains in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit. For without Me you can do nothing.”
“But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will boast in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me …. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Oh, how powerful the Word is in exposing and expelling sin lies.
It’s true what the author of Hebrews says:
“For the word of God is alive, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intents of the heart. There is no creature that is not revealed in His sight, for all things are bare and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:12-13 MEV
The word is like an exposing scalpel, cutting deep to preserve the soul. It exposes sin for what it is…a spiritual cancer…so that it is prepared for Son “ray-diation” therapy that will deal sin its ultimate blow.
Prescription Plan Part 2: SON Exposure
Like positioning the rocking chair near the window to bathe Judah’s jaundice body in light, I needed to position myself to receive the rays, the “Son Exposure,” that cleanses from the inside out.
Part 2: Pray, Worship, Praise
Later in Hebrews 4 it says, “Since then we have a great High Priest who has passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who was in every sense tempted like we are, yet without sin. Let us then come with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16 MEV
Much like the vitamin D agent that helped Judah breakdown the bilirubin from within, positioning my heart toward the Son of God by boldly approaching HIS throne of grace though prayer is what continued to D-estroy the work of my prideful, fearful flesh and D-isciple or teach me how to live in humble, respectful, faith-filled rest.
The Son is indeed sufficient to consume and cleanse me of sin from the inside out when I position my heart to bask in the light of His grace.
The night my pride reached its pinnacle, I came home knowing just what to do. I entered my prayer closet, opened the Word and then began to worship and pursue. Then it was clear how I would repent. For the first time in our nearly 8 years of marriage, I would wash my husband’s feet as a symbol of repentance and humility. I didn’t want disunity caused by my pride to cause our marriage to survive and not thrive.
Even today, a week after celebrating Resurrection Sunday, the Son has still risen in my heart. His light is the photosynthesis of my soul. The Light of the World awoke me from my sin slumber, and as I sought His face in prayer, I began to receive Holy Spirit grace to continue to overcome.
“But all things are exposed when they are revealed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” See then that you walk carefully, not as fools, but as wise men, making the most of the time because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Do not be drunk with wine, for that is reckless living. But be filled with the Spirit.” Ephesians 5:13-18 MEV
I am awake now and long to have His Holy Spirit fill me…consume me…continually. His Truth penetrates deep and brings me to my knees, where my heart remains now…humbly bowed. My prayer has become, “Lord, show me my immense need for YOU. Consume me from the inside out with the knowledge of who You are and whose I am,” and that prayer continues to come true as I realize my weakness and HIS amazing Grace strength for me.
Parting the Clouds
Still, sometimes there’s opposition or obstacles to experiencing the full transforming “Son Exposure,” as we draw near to God. Sometimes there are hindrances to approaching HIS throne boldly in worship, prayer and/or praise.
To continue with the extended analogy and metaphor, Judah’s jaundice had clouds to contend with, initially shielding him from the much-needed sunlight.
For me, in my pride, the clouds were my busyness and being wise in my own eyes. Oh, how long was my to-do! Once again in my life, I took on the robe of a Martha rather than the role of a Mary, sitting at Jesus’s feet in communion in order to experience the grace HE so longed to give me. And fear…I began to fear because of uncertainty and insecurities about the future, which led me to assert my “wisdom” in disrespectful ways towards my husband as well.
At other times the clouds were feelings of hopelessness, unforgiveness, people-pleasing, shame or even evil forces that kept me in a spiritual slumber, blanketing the light of Jesus’ truth and grace. Yes, ofttimes “Son exposure” has a barrier to shine through in this cloudy, dark world because of flesh and evil at work.
As disciples of Jesus, upon being awakened to the cloudy conditions standing in the way of continually basking in Jesus’ gracious light, we can’t just cross our arms, waiting for the clouds to pass. We must attack… by actively taking a stand, with the full armor of God in hand, praying to the God who parted the Red Sea and who has the strength to part dark clouds…effortlessly.
“Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your waist girded with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, having your feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace, and above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you will be able to extinguish all the fiery arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit always with all kinds of prayer and supplication. To that end be alert with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:10-18 MEV
YES, Stand also in prayer as Jesus modeled to our Father, saying, “And lead us not into temptation and deliver us from the evil one, for Yours is the Kingdom, power and glory forever and ever, amen.”
Yes, as an act of faith, approach His throne of grace boldly, believing… it’s our role to position our hearts to pursue, and it’s HIS role to part the clouds for our breakthrough.
He WILL part the clouds, just as HE had the Red Sea…just as He had for Judah Lee..just as He has for me.
FEAST on the SON
So there you have it. It’s my lesson learned, even through the birth of my son.
I wonder if this has encouraged you to ask whether there is an area in your life where you have stumbled or have let sin in. (I’ve shared with you mine.)
Is there cloudiness that keeps you bound and giving in? For me, it was simply not giving Jesus time. I was too busy using my hands to give Him my heart. And then when a disagreement with my husband arose, I took on a prideful, fear-induced posture.
But what about you, my friend? Are you surviving or are you spiritually thriving?
If the latter is true, I celebrate with you!
If the former is so, hopefully you are reminded where to go! 🙂
Ask your Heavenly Father today as David, the man after His own heart, in Psalm 139:23-24:
“Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”
He’s sure to answer…
and when He does…
- Feast on the Truth, your daily bread, confessing it aloud as you are Spirit led.
Position your life to experience Jesus’s “Son Exposure,” convinced that as you humble yourself and pray, His grace will part the clouded way!
But God forbid you stop there. Do all this Cross aware:
Make it a priority to Feast on the Son, Himself, reminding yourself through communion that it’s through His broken body and spilt blood that we all can overcome…and THRIVE, living JoyfullyAlive in HIM.