What Comes Out When You Are Squeezed?

He asked the question, "When you squeeze a tube of toothpaste, what comes out?"

It seemed an odd question to pose in a Bible study. Although the question had an obvious answer, everyone was afraid to say it because it was, well, obvious. Everyone knows the obvious answer is usually wrong.

One brave soul finally spoke out hesitantly.


"Correct!" proclaimed the teacher.

He asked another question.  "When you are squeezed, what comes out?"

The teacher went on to point out that while it's easy to say and do the right (aka "Christian") things when all is going well, what really matters is what we do and say when things aren't going well.

The toothpaste principle applies to believers.  When we're squeezed, what comes out is what's inside. Colossians 3 gives a pretty sobering list of what is inside many of us-- "anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language." These character traits are an example of what our "old man," the part of ourselves that is not yielded to God, is capable of.

In contrast, when we surrender ourselves to God and fill ourselves up with His word, His thoughts, and His Holy Spirit,  something very different comes out when we are squeezed. If we are filled with God, godly things come out --  "tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, forgiveness, and love" (Col. 3:12-14).

I saw this principle lived out in front of me recently in the dental office in which I work.

An elderly patient, retired from 40+years of teaching high school literature, had just been seated in the room across the hall. He was anxious about his upcoming dental work. I overheard him make two statements to his wife that showed me what was inside him.

His first remark was a quote from one of his favorite authors.

"We must be afraid before we can be courageous."

His second remark reflected Biblical truth.

"Jesus is stronger than all my fears."

His example made me ponder the question I put before you today,

When I am squeezed, what comes out?

 “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks...The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” Matthew 12:34-35

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• Is my situation hopeless?
• If God already knows what he’s going to do, why bother to pray? 
• Why have you allowed this to happen to me? 
• No one appreciates what I do. Why shouldn’t I quit? 

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1 comment:

  1. Excellent Lori. Very challenging. Thanks for sharing and your comment.