Monday, March 3, 2014

It's Not On The Outside

Have you ever been buzzing with frustration after one thing after another, after another has gone wrong?  Ever thought, "if only I could just have a break..."?  Ever felt so wound up you think you might explode?

No matter what is going on in your life, though, none of that frustration is coming from the outside.  Frustration, anger, rage... they all start on the inside.  Yes, sometimes you should be angry and frustrated by the world you live in.  We should all be upset by injustice and cruelty, but letting that anger stew on the inside is not going to help.  It's not God's way.

Jesus is the perfect example of perfect balance.  He got angry, He expressed anger, and He always did it right.  It's pretty incredible to read some of the things Jesus did and said and to realise that He was always in control - He always spoke and acted in perfect love, not simply as a reaction to how He was feeling at the time.

When God created us in His image, He gave us the power of choice.  Animals, on the other hand, simply react to the physical conditions on the outside.  They are driven by circumstances.  Too often, we behave as though we are animals.  Something happens.  It makes us feel bad.  We let the bad feeling drive our response.  We give up our power to our emotions.  But no matter how we feel, we can choose how we respond - if we depend on God to empower us to do what is right.  In fact, even when we let our emotions control us we are making a choice - the choice not to do the hard work of thinking about what we're doing.

Often we try to control life.  We try to protect ourselves from bad things and ensure that good things happen to us.  There's certainly a place for taking sensible precautions, but we can't control our world.  No amount of preparation can protect us against all disease and natural disaster.  No amount of manipulation can stop other people from doing things we don't like.  What we can control, what we can choose, and what really matters is what comes from inside us.  It's our reaction to whatever happens, whether we like it or not.  We can choose to act in love despite pain and frustration.  Or we can let our emotions carry us.  What will you choose?