Avoiding the Spiritual Intensive Care Unit

One of the most important departments in any hospital is the ICU – the Intensive Care Unit.

It is where you will find the people with the most critical of needs. If you are in the business of helping hurting people, you work in a spiritual intensive care unit. That is where RU Recovery Program is. The reason we spend so much time in this part of the health facility of the local church is because these are the people who are at the most critical stage of their life. They have to be able to find their way out of the mess they are in. They cannot do it without our help.

How many of you have done something wrong and never saw the consequences coming? And when they hit, your remorseful soul cried, was that ever the stupidest thing I have ever done! What do we call that? Hindsight is 20/20. The first thing you will see in instensive care unit is hindsight. You are going to find people who are going to say, “I should have never climbed up in that tree! I should have never changed lanes without looking! I should never have gone to bed with that cigarette in my mouth!” So many people in ICU say, “I should never have.”

In Proverbs 5, God warns us of the strange woman. The strange woman is symbolic of temptation. The demise of one who follows after her is detrimental. “Lest thou give thine honour unto others and thy years unto the cruel:” (5:9). Honour is the old English word for the modern English word “promotion.” A promotion is not just something you get in your career; a promotion is an encouragement from others because of right in you. When we yield to temptation, we lose that promotion and it is given to another. Because of your failure, what God wanted to do through you, He must do with someone else. Your honor is given to others.

Verse 11 closes the looming consequences by saying, “And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed, And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!” He who yields to temptation ends up in ICU, and oh, the hindsight of such a choice! Hindsight is 20/20. We end up in Intensive Care Unit because we cannot see straight and only make decisions based on hindsight. All of us make the right decision but when it is too late. We learn our lessons the hard way.

Hindsight is observation. You learn how God works, but not until you see it happen. Oh, now I understand! A little late, pal! You are living your life by hindsight. Nobody can develop spiritually if everything you do is by hindsight. God did not give us His Spirit only for the sake of conviction after our mistake. The Holy Spirit is there to convict us before the mistake. The Spirit does not live within us for the sake of observation, though the Spirit will give you hindsight when you are coming out of the mistake.

Hindsight vs Insight

Praise God for hindsight! But it is no way to live the Christian life. So you end up in an instensive care unit because you have nothing in your walk with God other than hindsight. Everything blindsides you.

Another form of sight that God gives us under the influence of the Holy Spirit is insight. First Corinthians 2:6-10 tells us of this insight.

“Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” I Corinthians 2:6-10

Getting Out of the Spiritual Intensive Care Unit

In order to get out of the Intensive Care Unit, we are going to have to develop some insight. Hindsight is observation. Insight is illumination. We need illumination to get out of the Intensive Care Unit!

Second Corinthians 3 shares with us a comparison of our lack of illumination to that of the Old Testament children of Israel. There was a spiritual veil over the people’s hearts. They were unable to understand the reading of the Old Testament. But according to verse 16, the veil was removed in Christ. What is the significance of this? In the Old Testament (age of the law), they were unable to receive illumination. But Christ’s earthly ministry, death and resurrection, freed man from the tyranny of the law and gave him the gift of grace. Now, one of the benefits of salvation is that God’s Spirit comes to live within us. This is where our illumination comes from. “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).

It is the Spirit that takes us from hindsight to insight. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18).

We make countless foolish mistakes because we make decisions based on our hindsight and neglect our God-given insight. Second Corinthians 4:6 further explains this truth. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts (meditators), to give the light”.

Friend, inside of you lies everything you need to get out of difficult circumstances in life. So many times, developing Christians want to live their life by insight. But because they like the insight but live their lives by hindsight, they fail. We get all this insight, and we are growing spiritually, but we never sacrifice our flesh. And because we will not sacrifice our flesh, we only will learn from hindsight.

Our yielding to God’s Spirit and His insight strengthens our spirit. But when we fail to make decisions and choices based on this insight, we only weaken our spirit’s intuitiveness and strengthen our flesh. And once again, we learn from hindsight.

Just because you think you know the Spirit-filled life and you have all this insight, what good does it do you if you fail to yield to it? Proverbs 22:3 says, “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.” Wise people, Holy Spirit-led people, use their insight rather than their hindsight. We are learning too many lessons from hindsight rather than insight! It is quite possible to discern as we learn exactly what God is trying to teach us. We don’t necessarily need to be taught more things as much as we need to yield to the illumination of exactly what it is that God would have us to do.

God gave us hindsight so that when we make mistakes, we can learn from them. But He also gave us insight so at the point of a mistake, we can make the right decision. But that is not what is going to get us out of the Intensive Care Unit. What is going to get us out of ICU is foresight. John 16:13-14 tells us of this forsight: “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”

Jesus is telling His disciples in the above passage that it was better for them that He leave them physically and send His Spirit in His stead. That may seem difficult to understand, but it is so true! We are more equipped to live right because we have the Spirit of the Lord living within us! The Spirit’s job is to receive things from Jesus and show them to you! This is foresight.

Foresight is not observation or illumination. Foresight is revelation. When we will learn to live our lives based on forward progress that comes from foresight, we will spare ourselves from arriving in a spiritual Intensive Care Unit! However, we will never gain foresight until we yield to our internal insight. Foresight also will not be gained until we rise above learning from our hindsight. God is not going to give us foresight if we choose to only learn from hindsight. But as soon as we choose to develop the Voice inside of us of the Holy Spirit and the insight that He gives, we will gain the foresight.

As a leader, I am often questioned when I proclaim direction that God has given to me. “How can you know that’s what God wants?” My response is, “foresight.” I have learned from my hindsight, developed my insight, and God now gives me foresight.

Once you understand this truth that I am teaching, when you arrive in the Intensive Care Unit, you will not regretfully say, “I’m in ICU!” You will say, “I see You.”

Sharing is Caring

Steve Curington grew up in a Christian home and graduated from North Love Christian School in 1984. After high school, Steve started a 10-year addiction to alcoholism and cocaine. After a serious car accident, Steve found complete sobriety through his relationship with Jesus Christ. After his recovery in 1996, Steve began Reformers Unanimous, a faith-based addiction ministry. What started as a humble, Friday night addiction class with four regular attendees in Rockford, Illinois, grew to a class of more than 300 people from the community and then spread to other churches across the country and around the world. The founder of Reformers Unanimous International (RU) died suddenly on October 30, 2010. Mr. Curington, a husband and father of five children, was only 45, but he accomplished more in his 15 years of ministry than many do in a lifetime. We know his work, his writing, his voice, and his reach will live on.

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