Peace is being free. Free from the attacks and disturbance of the enemy. The enemy knows where to attack. He wants to steal your peace. He knows what buttons to push to get you upset. The feelings of bitterness, strife, anger, and resentment are all feeling that we have all felt at some point. They are feelings that can come at an instant or that can creep into our life. Some of us don’t even realize that they are there anymore. They are feeling that we need to take care of right away. The enemy can use these feelings to attack us. And in order to be free we can’t blame others for these feelings. We need to take responsibility for them. God gave us the gift of self-control. Not the gift of controlling other people. Yes, there are people who will make us mad, but it’s how we let it control us. Do we allow that anger to ruin the rest of our day or affect how we react to someone else later on? We need to understand what are the triggers. What is the underlining thing that is causing us to react in such a way? Many times we put our expectations on people. We expect them to act or do a certain thing.
For example, we are running late for church. I ask the kids to get their shoes on. They sit down to put them on. One of them doesn’t want to wear her church shoes, the other just sits there and all I can think about is that we are going to be late. I start yelling at them to get their shoes on and get out the door to the van. Finally after 5 minutes, shoes are on and we are getting in the van. Of course, one of them insists on putting on her set belt. I start telling her to go faster because we will be late for church. Finally we are on the road. Now, I am left all flustered with a little bit of anger at how the kids didn’t move any faster. Because God forbid we arrive late to church. There I am at church with a tiny bit of anger and all I can think about is how long it takes the kids to do anything or how stubborn they are. Which, leads us to think about something else that we are bitter about and we can never allow what God wants to speak into our life in because our heart is consumed with anger and bitterness. Even though it might be a small portion it’s taking up space each moment we let it go on.
Instead of realizing that I need to control my emotions, I know that it takes us 10 minutes to get loaded up into the van and I expected us to do it today in 3 minutes. I created expectations that shouldn’t be there. I need to realize that my children don’t intentionally try to offend me or make me angry. No, they wanted to feel pretty with their shoes or feel like a ‘big girl’. I was worried about what other people would think of us for walking into church late. God forbid that we arrive late instead of arriving on time and having this anger flustered feeling in my heart.
It can happen at any point. Something some says to you one day might not offend you today but on a different day it will. The way some one drives or takes forever in the grocery line. The fact that your husband didn’t wash the dishes at the end of the day or that the dog just chewed up another shoe. You get angry about all the bad things happening in the world and how does God allow that to happen.
When we feel offended or have anger, bitterness, strife, unforgiveness it’s a stumbling block and until we take care of it we can’t grow spiritually. Because all we can do is focus on the one little bad thing. We forget about all the good that God has given us. The moment we allow those negative feelings to consume us we are in trouble. The moment we start depending on someone else for our joy and peace – we are in trouble.
God gave us self-control. When need to learn how to use it. We need to learn to stop the enemy attacks. Realize that we are being tempted and dragged down a road of resentment and being enticed to unforgiveness. For man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. (James 1:13-27) We need to examine our hearts and get rid of all filth right away. We need to immediately forgive.
My prayer each day is that God shapes my children’s lives, sometimes for my own sanity but mostly because I want them to be more like Jesus. Just as I pray for my children I also need to pray that God shapes me more into His character each day. I pray that your love for others may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight so that you may discern what is best and pure each day. Stop the feeling of bitterness, anger, strife, and resentment right away before it takes away from what God has given you. Before it consumes you. We need to seek God right away, and examine our hearts. (Phil 1)
Often I will find myself trying to talk myself out of feeling bitter. For example, my husband forgot to take out the trash after I had asked him. I tell myself that he forgot but it still bothers me. This goes on for a few days and the trash still sits there. Every time I see it, I get a little bit bitterer. Until he comes home one day and I snap at him when he asks me if I washed his shirt. Many times we get things cooped up in our heads. We need to talk about things right away before it flusters into something bigger. Many times we need to forgive other people.
God talks about peace. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Colossians 3:15. On those bad days when we feel anger budding up we need to remember what we are truly thankful for. And when we are in the spirit of thanksgiving its really hard to be mad. Christ’s peace just starts to overwhelm us.
“Pursue peace with all men, and sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.” Heb 12:14 Oh boy, are there days when this one is hard.
“He must turn away from evil and do good; He must seek peace and pursue it…casting all anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 3:11, 5:7 Sometimes we don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Anxiety can consume us and that is when we must seek God. He is the only one who can reveal to us our true identity and that we may find peace in that.
“See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.” 1 Thessalonians 5:15 There are days that it is hard to think about what is good for another and all we want to do is think about what is good for me. That is when we need to seek God’s love, seek His peace, seek His wisdom.
“Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, But counselors of peace have joy…When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Proverbs 12:20, 16:7
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:7
“The Lord will bless His people with peace.” Psalm 29:11
May we all be peaceful adults, peaceful parents and peaceful spouses who seek God diligently.