A friend returned to me yesterday’s message. He had highlighted the areas that he has trouble with. I thought that was pretty cool, that he could be honest enough about his behavior to share this with another person. Granted, we are good friends, but, even so, it takes courage to confess our sin to another human. I responded that he should take this list to the Lord and revisit it in a month to see if he has made improvement.
Let’s face it, the first step is admitting the problem. If we are unwilling to do anything about it, we are actually losing ground. We have just proven God’s Law right in that it revealed our sin. It is also a sin NOT to do anything about the sin he has exposed for us. Right?
Think about this for a minute. Say, for example, you have a problem with anger. Maybe this has been an issue all your life. Maybe you grew up in an angry family and are just another apple that fell close to the tree. Maybe your anger is something relatively new. Maybe you are starting to get ticked off in traffic. You get the idea. One way or another, anger rears its ugly head in your life.
Are you stuck in that situation? Is it getting better or is it getting worse? What does God’s word teach us about anger? Is yours a righteous anger? Are you Jesus clearing out the temple or are you flipping people off in your mind? Let’s face it. Anger should be rare. Certainly, it shouldn’t be part of a normal day. Christians are instructed to be joyful. Angry demeanors find it impossible to be filled with joy.
What do we do about this? If we take our bible as our handbook to life, we have solid advice, such as this:
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
In this passage, we see Christian maturity as a process. The last part, “when your obedience is complete” is confusing. Try instead to think of this as “as you mature, you’ll find yourself doing these things.” What things? Getting rid of stinkin’ thinkin’. After all, that’s really what we are trying to do – get rid of all the thought processes that get us into trouble.
Back to the temper problem. When we apply our passage to our situation, we will find that there often is an underlying issue that is unresolved. When we are at peace, we don’t get angry in traffic. When we are late for work, we may. Why are we late? Because something else went wrong. What was that? Did you have a disagreement with a family member?
It may take a lot of work to get to the bottom of the problem. In fact, you may be surprised to find what it is that is making you angry. Then, again, maybe you already know. When you do, it’s a matter of changing the way you think.
Romans 12:1-2 I appeal to you therefor, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Sometimes it’s as easy as living the Serenity Pray.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
You may be able to do this on your own. Maybe you’ll need help. Print out that list and do like my friend. Get honest. Make a plan. Then, do it. Make sure you are giving all this over to God. Doing it on your own will not get you where you want to go. Giving it to God and praising him for the results is the whole reason for all of this. Divine Power. Worship.
Father, please stir us to action. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers