Today Claire had to get Botox shots in the calf and hamstring muscles of her left leg. Mom tells her she is just like all the pretty girls in Hollywood! Of course, Claire’s Botox is not cosemetic, but the concept is the same. Botox is injected into muscles to weaken them, keep them from contracting. In middle-aged men and women, Botox keeps you from developing wrinkles (and any form of facial expression). In little girls with CP, Botox weakens muscles that are too strong in hopes that the weaker surrounding muscles will have a chance to catch up. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. In our minds, it is worth a try.
All of this has me thinking about virtue. (Hang on, you’ll get there too.) Early this year I posted about training our spiritual muscles in the same way we train our physical muscles. This is what ancient Christians might have called “practicing the disciplines” and it isn’t a very glamorous part of the Christian life. It is all about hard work and determination and a big dose of grace. But when we work at it to the same degree that we work with Him, we start to see changes – improvements in our character and attitude. John Ortberg describes the spiritually disciplined person as the one who does the right thing, at the right time, in the right way, to the right degree. (Just think about that for awhile …. )
So, what do you think are the too-strong muscles keeping us from becoming the spiritually disciplined people we want to be? How could we Botox the selfish muscle, the jealous muscle? Claire knew those big shots were coming at her tiny legs and still smiled at me until the first big stick. Could we face the mortification of our own flesh as bravely? Tonight at the dinner table Claire said she was thankful for “Dr. Farid and the shots he gave me because they are going to make me strong.” She meant it.