[Because He cares for you]
We can be very volatile creatures. It really doesn’t take too much to set us off. However, sometimes we “lose it” because things keep coming at us unrelentingly. This is how I feel today: STRESSED! Things are flying at me from every angle. It’s the pits! It’s not enjoyable, however, it’s a fact of life.
This reminds me of a sitcom that aired back in the 80’s called “The Facts of Life.” Apparently it was the longest running sitcom for that decade. It first aired in 1979 and ran until 1988. Part of it’s theme song went like this:
“You take the good, you take the bad,
you take them both and there you have
The facts of life, the facts of life.”
If you do a Google search you’ll find the full song. One of the lines that jumps out at me (because it just doesn’t ring true) is this one: “The facts of life are all about you.”
No, they really aren’t. We’re programed and convinced to believe that it’s all about us, and we can certainly act as if it’s all about us, but this just isn’t the truth.
Some of us, unfortunately, never seem to lose that “me, me, me!” mentality, however, it’s not about us. It’s all about Jesus, so we must learn to adjust accordingly.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will.” –Romans 12:2
He Knows and Empathizes
Jesus faced His own troubles here as well, so He knows exactly what we’re up against. This is a good thing, because it means that we don’t have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet He did not sin. (Hebrews 4:15)
I tell ya, if I didn’t have that peace that transcends all understanding right now, I’d be ready to knock some heads! (Phillipians 4:7 ) Having things coming at me isn’t fun! It makes me want to go all-out kung-fu, and fight back!
Running into the fight with arms flailing wildly and legs kicking high isn’t usually the right answer. Jesus did become angry, and He did turn tables. He made a whip even, and He chased people from the temple, so anger and action can both have a time and place. However, things also need to be examined closely, handled diplomatically, thoughtfully, carefully and with prayer.
We should also remember WHO Jesus was chasing: these money changers we’re taking advantage of others IN God’s temple! They we’re turning the temple into a den of robbers. He had every right to be angry!
Be Shrewd, Be Gentle
Anger isn’t always a bad thing, but it needs to be tempered. We testy humans can fly off the handle about any little thing, so Jesus taught us to be as shrewd as snakes, but as gentle as doves. (Matthew 10:16 ) Scripture actually has a lot to say about uncontrolled anger. (Believe it or not, this is only a sampling.)
“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. –Psalm 37:8
“Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” –Proverbs 14:29
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” –James 1:19-20
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” –Ephesians 4:27
“You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. –Colossians 3:7-8
“But I tell you, if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be judged. If you say bad things to a brother or sister, you will be judged by the council. And if you call someone a fool, you will be in danger of the fire of hell.” –Matthew 5:22
“Those who do not control themselves are like a city whose walls are broken down.” –Proverbs 25:28
Lay ‘Em Down
Jesus has seen and felt the same things that we face. He knows all about it, and He invites us to lay it on Him. (Er, I mean, lay those burdens down.) (Matthew 11:28-30 )
When things were deeply troubling Him, Jesus went away and prayed. Instead of laying those burdens down we can justify how we’re feeling, and stubbornly and pridefully take things into our own hands. We can ignore God’s wise council. Scripture warns against doing so, and to tell you the truth, praying actually gives us some time to cool off.
How Will We Respond?
One day we may find ourselves in a situation where we’re forced to act quickly. Not having a ton of time to pray, how will we respond? We must be educated.
Though life may sometimes be the pits, if God’s word is our joy and our hearts delight, we will eat up, be nourished, and we’ll be prepared for all of life’s challenges. We have a Savior who understands, so we’re always in good company. Lets choose to consult Scripture, and take our anxieties to Him.
“When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight,
for I bear your name, Lord God Almighty.” –Jeremiah 15:16
“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” — 1 Peter 5:7