While we were reading the other night a book by Michael L. Brown called “Go and Sin No More”, something hit me right between the eyes. There was a quote from a vintage saint that called attention to this Scripture, “Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit”. (Proverbs 25:28) This sprung life into me and sent me into a spiral of meditation over this subject. What does all of this mean? (I’m glad you asked?) There is so much to the Hebrew origin for the word “spirit” here, you can refer to it by
(With so many meanings for the word “spirit”, we need for the sake of space to focus on just a couple of applications here for this Epistle.) The author went on to say that if we are irritated by the least little negative attitude or response from someone, then that person is actually controlling us. Have you ever walked down the hall on the way to your work, said hi to the people you meet, only to be met with a variety of responses varying from cheerful to downright miserable? How did you respond? How about another example: have you given a present to someone after shopping till you drop only to get a very cool “Thanks”? Have you got excited about an idea that has been brewing in your heart for some time only to get a frigid shrugging of the shoulders, and maybe a “Oh, that’ll never work” or “We’ve tried that…it failed”? There are a multitude of other examples but I hope you get the gist of what I am getting at? We are never, ever going to be surrounded by a host of people that we will delight in just being around all the time, are we? Well…considering that the world is jam-packed with negative people with terrible attitudes…we need to find a more reasonable solution that trying to quash every negative attitude. We cannot really change anyone else but, we CAN start by changing ourselves, and our reactions. What am I getting at?
Our reactions are all that we can really control. Jesus said that if someone hits you on the one cheek, then turn to him the other. Maybe I am starting to understand what He meant, finally! We overcome evil…with good! (Romans 12:21) We’ll never correct or be able to counsel every person we connect with, but we can adjust the effect upon us, when faced with a dark cloud personality that only sees darkness and hopelessness. We are not supposed to be detached and cold, but we can overcome another’s attitudes by not allowing ourselves to be drawn into the gloomy cloud, hence, not allowing them to control our emotions by their behaviour. Let’s examine this further shall we?
OK…you’re at work, you’ve left a nice card and flowers for your wife on the dresser and you call her to see how she liked it and you get a unemotional “oh thanks” and your heart sinks and your imagination reels into the stratosphere, “What’s wrong?” Ever happened to you? Well, what was your response? Did you give a cool response and start pouting or decide on how you are going to get even with her somehow? It’s not an uncommon scenario, is it? Well again…these kinds of situations are going to be with you and I until we leave this earth. We need to improve our reactions NOW!!
We are to maintain our peace in the midst of utter chaos, with God as the center-piece or should I say “center-peace”. Let’s check out a few translations of Proverbs 25:28: the Message says, “A person without self-control is like a house with its doors and windows knocked out .” How about the New Living Translation, “A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls” Here is an excerpt from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, “A man who does not control his temper is like a city whose wall is broken down”. Is any of this hitting home with anyone out there? As children of God, we are partakers in the Holy Spirit and we know that part of the combined “Fruit” of the Holy Spirit is “Self Control”. If we are easily irritated by circumstances and attitudes, then how much self-control do we truly possess? I love it when the Word of God divides between the soul and the spirit don’t you? (Heb. 4:12) So…if we are easily irritated, (This is just a polite word to hide the hidden root of ANGER!!) We love to make things palatable don’t we, by using nice words to describe ugly manifestations of the lower nature, or the flesh. I prefer to reach down to the root and see where the devil is hiding in all of this. It is exciting to progress further along the road to divine freedom in the Spirit of God. “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you FREE!” (John 8:32)
Let’s turn this around shall we, and look at another verse in Proverbs, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.” (Proverbs 16:32) Do you want to be a Mighty Warrior? Then it seems that overcoming these issues is a very important step to getting there. We have to learn to be able to counter all of the negative junk that gets thrown at us every day, without throwing it back or getting sucked into the slime. If we were truly free of self-centeredness, we would not be affected by all of these negative circumstances would we? It seems that offence is lurking around every corner waiting to take us captives. Well…we have a ways to go, it seems.
We have a mighty future, as we determine to overcome our emotional anger issues over what other people do or say. There are literally millions of people and only one of us, we cannot control them, but we can learn to control our responses by applying the Word of God to correct us! It is good to be under the scalpel of God isn’t it? Jesus said in Matthew 5:44, “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” These are very strong words and very hard to live by!!!! This is an even higher mark on the high jump of heaven, eh? Are you ready to climb to greater heights with Jesus? Then you and I need to determine that we are willing to die to the flesh, and attain a deeper peace with Jesus that cannot be disturbed by the smallest situation involving another human being, or the latest circumstance seeking to sink our “Ship of Hope” and turn us into dispersers of gloom destined to sink to the bottom! Set sail for the “Living Waters of Blessings” and leave the “Canals of Cursing” behind you! Step up to the chopping block of the Word of God, to have your pride given another pruning slice, by the great gardener of our souls.
Determine to overcome evil with good and not with evil! Trying to overcome evil with evil does not work, it stresses you out, and sucks all of your energy into a vacuum of emptiness! Monitor your reactions to situations and to other people, and see if you still have an anger problem, even though you may not call it that? Is it possibly covered up and renamed with other words such as “irritated, bugged, ticked, annoyed, cross, upset, bothered, aggravated, and frustrated, along with many other more palatable words”. Let’s admit it…we GET ANGRY!! (It is not a sin, in and of itself to get angry folks), but Ephesians warns us about anger, that it gives the devil a mighty foothold. Watch OUT!! “When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down. Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give not opportunity to him].” (Eph. 4:26 AMP) I’ll leave you with that Scripture to chew on! As always…let us hear your feedback on these articles….we look forward to hearing from you………..
PS. Your emails may be applications of what is written here: we may be pressed to remain calm and peaceful as you might strongly disagree with our viewpoint. Hallelujah! Shalom Mighty Warriors! Keep your eyes fixed on the Master! Ahhh, one of my favourite and most beloved Scriptures: “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, whose thoughts are fixed on You.” (Isaiah 26:3 NLT)
Love Rob and Jody