V-MAIL TO THE FRONTLINE
Every day, we are faced with a decision about how we will react to life’s circumstances. Those who know what God’s Word says about how to act, realize that we are to think according to God’s Spirit which in turn will control our behavior. Thus, the bride, (who abides in God’s Word) has no excuse for reacting in her unrestrained emotions. It is not a negative confession or curse to admit that we are going to face challenging situations everyday – so we might as well get ready for them. There are booby-traps and ambushes up ahead that will continue to force us to choose how we are going to handle the next confrontation. We all know the initial temptation is to react with our carnal nature, but in every situation, we will always decide how we are going to respond. We may have failed the last ten years but WE CAN draw a line with determination to turn the right way when we find ourselves standing in the next crossroad – if we really want to.
Every person is like a loaded gun. The ammo is what we have stored in the abundance of our heart and mind, our mouth releases the explosive forces that are called words and the trigger is our “free-will” decision where, how and when to fire. But the difference between being a positive or negative weapon is the type of ammo we choose to use. It is simple; if we are determined to walk in God’s Spirit and speak His Word, our life and ministry has unlimited potential because God’s power is being released. But, if we allow our conscience to be loaded with the “buckshot” of carnal emotions, we will spray everyone around us with the darkness of sin. So, the problem is not with the mouth (or barrel) – the question is; what exactly is our mind, heart and conscience filled with? “For a good tree brings not forth corrupt fruit; neither does a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks”. (Luke 6:43-45)
By acting on God’s Word and not merely reacting to the situation, we are always able to manage our emotions instead of allowing them to manage us. I strongly recommend confessing the Word of God out loud. Even though what you confess may be the opposite of how you feel, keep doing it because eventually the seeds will sprout and bear fruit. God’s Word has inherent power to change our feelings, bring comfort to us, and quiet our distraught feelings. When someone is rude to us, we feel our emotions rise up and prepare to launch, wanting us to follow them and unleash the fury of what we consider to be a fair and just retaliation. That’s when our awareness needs to remind us we are not to fight fire with fire – plus, I am vulnerable to being offended and that definitely hurts my relationship with Father. By reacting the way Jesus would react I am not only allowing Him to show love but also protecting my right standing with Him. Unforgiveness will always build a wall of sin between us and Father and the absence of His presence is NOT a good place to be. This is another perfect example of how the “overcoming” Christian life is conditional upon the hard work and concentration to walk in obedience. We must turn to the Holy Spirit and draw strength from God’s grace for the ability to act on His Word when people hurt us – instead of merely reacting with an evil behavior that matches or tops theirs. When Jesus was on the cross He was trying to explain this when He forgave them, that they were spiritually blind and did not understand what they were doing.
Jesus teaches us how to respond to those who treat us well and those who do not. “And as you would that men should do to you, do you also to them likewise. For if you love them which love you, what thank have you? For sinners also love those that love them. And if you do good to them which do good to you, what thank have you? For sinners also do the same. And if you lend to them of whom you hope to receive, what thank have you? For sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But – love your enemies and do good and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great and you shall be the children of the Highest: for He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be you therefore merciful as your Father also is merciful”. (Luke 6:31-36)
If you are in a situation that requires you to be with one of these hard-to-get-along-with people every day, I urge you to pray for them instead of reacting emotionally to them. We know that our prayers open a door for God to help them (and us) but sometimes our anger opposes our mercy. Bitterness can be a root of hatred and these emotions are very powerful. We may not even be aware of a deep resentment but it can be the very cause of our aggressiveness and intensity against any ideas of compassion. One thing can be sure; we will not find the sensitivity and spiritual clarity we need to deal with the problem until we pray. Without prayer we are just trying to blanket one emotion with another one. Prayer finds the heart and mind of God and softens our conscience that we may see through the clouds of frustration and discover the most important ingredient of love. We are never going to spiritually outgrow our feelings or emotions but when we choose to live by God’s Word and not our flesh we are definitely moving in the right direction to abide in His divine reality. God needs soldiers that can stay focused on the battle instead of crawling behind the bushes to have a pity party. The whole point of studying God’s Word is to grow stronger and become more mature. We can only walk in His Spirit if our mind is being transformed. A carnal Christian is a terrible representative of the Kingdom of God and causes many unbelievers to remain in doubt and confusion.
Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks in his heart – so is he”. So we can realize that whatever has set up camp so to speak in our conscience is what will overflow in our words and actions. The old saying of, “what is in the well – will come up in the bucket” connects us with the truth about who we really are. Many claim to be filled with God’s Spirit but there seems to be some confusion. Speaking in tongues, eloquent prayers, tithing, going to church, reading the bible or even ministering the Word does not necessarily mean a person is filled with the Holy Spirit! It is how much of the Holy Spirit that is released in someone’s words and actions that PROVES they are “over-flowing”. Selah.
Let us close with noticing a key word within the list given in Galatians 5 and verses 22-25. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, TEMPERANCE: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have “crucified the flesh” with the affections (passions) and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Temperance means to restrain or to harness our carnal freedom. It is the demonstration of self-control which is once again exposing our responsibility to LIVE the Christian life instead of just knowing about it. The true Christian is not to be like an old car that is taken in to a body shop and re-painted because everything on the inside is still the same. Crucifixion means to die – and being born-again means to be re-created.