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The twinge of pain shot through my hip and down my left leg. "Hmm," I thought, "Where did that come from?" It went away fairly quickly, so I forgot about it. A while later it happened again. Again, I ignored it. Within a few days the pain had become regular. Still, I kept thinking it would go away. Then I felt a twinge in my right knee. A few days later, the twinge stayed there. I told myself it would go away. One day, after walking only a short distance, my knee swelled up so much I was limping. A friend noticed and I admitted I wasn't sure what I'd done, but that knee wasn't working properly. She mentioned that when her knee swelled it was because her hip was out of joint. I acknowledged I was having some pain in my hip, but it was on the other side. "Exactly," she said. "Hmm," I thought, and finally made an appointment to have it checked. Sure enough, the problem with the left hip caused my body to try to compensate, damaging the right knee. The pain was obvious, but I had ignored the source of the problem.

Our bodies function like machines. As long as all the parts are in the right place, doing what they should be doing, everything is fine. But when one part malfunctions, the whole body suffers. Everything is connected and meant to function in tandem. When we ignore the danger signals, the twinges of pain and swelling joints, we can end up with severe problems.

We tend to ignore danger signals in our spiritual lives too. We tell ourselves the cynicism and doubts are normal. We refuse to recognize the pain in our hearts when relationships aren't the way they should be. We coast through life, ignoring the gnawing emptiness we feel and wondering why we get so angry over little things. We ignore the lack of love in our lives and wonder where the bitterness comes from. We know there is something wrong but we fail to connect it with the source of the problem.

When the soul is malnourished, the whole life is affected. The apostle John, in his letter to his friend, Gaius, said ? "I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well." (3John:2) John knew that you can't have one without the other. A sickness of the soul leads to a sickness in the life. Ignoring the spiritual danger signals will lead to not just spiritual problems, but spiritual death.

But there is a cure. Jesus said ?"Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you." (John 6:27) Our souls are nourished by our connection to Him. The closer we are to Him, the healthier we will be, not just in spirit, but in body and mind.

Marcia Laycock is a pastor's wife and freelance writer living in Alberta Canada.  Her devotional book, The Spur of the Moment has been endorsed by Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and others.  To order, and to view more of Marcia's writing, see her web site - www.vinemarc.com
Copyright Marcia Lee Laycock, 2000, 2001,2002,2003,2004

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