Muscle knots.


I had coffee with a group of friends last week and someone mentioned my blog. She said, “I haven’t gotten a chance to read your blog yet, but I’m intrigued. I believe in Jesus and I try to follow him, but I don’t really get the Holy Spirit.” 

I don’t think she is alone. I think a lot of us, myself included, deeply believe in Jesus and do our best to follow him, but really struggle when it comes to understanding the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13 says “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.” What that passage is saying is that once we chose to believe in Jesus-we are given the Holy Spirit. If we were given the Holy Spirit, why then is it so hard to understand what to do with it? What keeps us from experiencing it?


I know, you want to stop reading. I said I was going to talk about the Holy Spirit. No one likes to talk about sin. We ignore it because we don’t understand it. We don’t talk about because it brings too much shame. We feel above it because our hearts are filled with pride. 

Sin is a very familiar word. Through my life, I have tried to explain sin in so many different ways and through so many different analogies.

Actually, I think in certain Christian circles you are almost looked up to when you talk about your sin. I remember sitting around with my friends in college and talking about a struggle I was having. People listened intently and committed to praying. I got messages from friends later to tell me how brave I was to share my struggle. 

You would think with all my awareness and conversation around sin, I would have felt the heaviness of sin and felt motivated to change.

I didn’t.

It wasn’t until I dug deeper into the Holy Spirit’s role in my life that I begin to understand sin in a convicting, life altering way. 

I shifted my perspective from sin of being a list of the do’s and don’ts to being the barrier keeping me from experiencing the fullness of the Holy Spirit. 

I started to look at sin like a muscle knot. 

We have all had a muscle knot before. We do something physically we shouldn’t or do something in a way we shouldn’t and our muscle fibers tense up and adhere to each other. When that happens, blood flow is restricted. A knot keeps the blood and nutrients from flowing freely through your body. 

If sin is the muscle knot of tensed up fibers, the Holy Spirit is the blood supply. Just as blood brings life to all parts of the body, the Holy Spirit brings life to us.

Most of us have a lot of knots. And a lot of times we get so used to the knots that we stop doing anything about it. We learn to live with the pain, but in doing so we are limiting the life designed to flow through our veins.

There is a disease called “Congenital Insensitivity To Pain” where people cannot feel physical pain at all. When I first heard about this disease, I was almost envious. I would love to live in a way where I did not experience pain. But the more I read I about it, I realized how dangerous it really is. I read somewhere that it is actually common for children to die who have this disease from an illness or injury that has gone unnoticed. You see pain is a survival technique. When our body is in pain, it is a signal that something is not right. It gives us notice that we need to figure out what is going on and fix whatever we can.

{Before I move I must speak to my friends who live with chronic pain. In this post I am speaking about acute, treatable pain. Even the best metaphors break down eventually:)}

What if we looked at sin as a knot that is keeping the Holy Spirit from giving us the fullest life intended for us? What if we looked at the pain caused by the knot as a signal that things aren’t right, that we need to adjust something? What if we looked at sin as God’s way of telling us that he has more and better things for us? What if he is trying to say that if we worked through the knot, we would experience more of him? 

When I began to look at sin this way, I felt motivated. I felt motivated to change. I felt compelled to dig deep into those knots. I stopped  ignoring the pain and tried to get to the root of the problem. I was motivated because it was no longer a list of the do’s and don’t, it was the key to unleashing of the Holy Spirit in my life. 

And when the Holy Spirit is moving in our lives, Galatians 5 tells us that we will be filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

I don’t know about you, but I desperately want those things to mark my life. 

When I became a more serious runner I started using a foam roller. A foam roller is a device that is designed to massage out knots. You press the point of pain on the roller. And you gently roll back and forth on the roller. Though it is the smallest of movements, it is so painful. The longer you do it, the less it hurts and the less knots you have. The blood is allowed to bring life to the whole body, the way it was intended. 

So we are going to spend the next several weeks going over some ‘foam roller techniques’. These are ways I found in my own life which when practiced regularly cause the knots of sin to dissipate and the life of the Spirit of God to freely flow through my veins. 


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