When I was working in the lumber department at Lowes, I interacted with many construction workers and others of the like, which are different than my mindset in different ways. While I worked up the stamina to load building materials off the shelf and onto trailers with the best of them, but I did not have the rougher mindset that most construction workers have. I saw a man one day in the lumber department digging a knife into his hand and when I asked what he was doing, he said, “I have a splinter deep in my hand and I’m trying to get it out.” When I expressed that I didn’t think I could do such a thing, he profoundly replied, “Well I either leave it there and my hand will get infected or I use a knife and get it out now. It’s better to go through a little pain now to get it out than to have an infection later.”
The man digging the splinter out of his hand illustrated a spiritual need that is difficult. As he was a realist on the dangers of his reality (having a splinter) and need for temporary pain to secure future health, we need be such a realist with our spiritual lives. James writes in James 4:6-10 about the need for acknowledging sin and repenting of it. He writes in verse 6, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” If we are too proud to admit sin and handle, God will be opposed to us. If we are humble, likened to the construction worker, we will use a spiritual knife to cut out sin, despite the discomfort it causes. In contrast, when we are willing to be humble about the changes that need to be made, God exalts us. The result of cutting out the bad and being exalted by God? God is no longer opposed to us but fighting for us. “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:31).