Sometimes I’m not proud of myself. I confess that it is more fun to blog about the more positive characteristics of my life than it is about the flaws. Recently, a situation really ‘bugged’ me. It had been growing for several months and I had handled things well. But finally my frustration boiled over! I could feel my adrenaline pumping, the edge crept into my voice, my jaw tensed and all I could think of was the apparent incompetence of the one I was talking to. My voice grew a little louder---I was offended and upset. I didn’t take my rod and strike the rock but I understood why Moses did.
When something like this happens while I am trying to straighten out a Cable TV account or rectify an errant bill, I am not proud, but secretly know that I’ll never see or talk to that person again. When it’s with someone I know, it’s a little different. I’m very unhappy with myself.
Following this situation, God sat down beside me and said,
“1) You are under considerable stress. Be careful that you pace yourself.
2) You are weary. You didn’t sleep more than two hours last night and your plate has been full.
3) You are coming off of a spiritual high. You’ve led several people to Me in the past few days.
4) However, that’s no excuse and with My help you can do better.”
“Yes, Lord,” I replied, and “I am ashamed.”
Opening my devotional book the next morning, I discovered that God wasn’t through teaching me.
“THE WISDOM THAT IS FROM ABOVE IS…PEACEABLE” – JAMES 3:17 NKJV
Keep Your Peace
Have you ever gotten into an argument before church and felt like a hypocrite during the entire service? Understand this: the Devil knows that God’s Word can only be ‘sown in peace’ (Jas 3:18), so he will do everything he can to keep you from receiving it and being blessed by it. That’s why you must do whatever it takes to keep your peace. There’s power in peace! If the Devil can’t get you upset he has no power over you. He only gains control when you ‘lose it.’ He plans to get you upset in order to steal your peace, confuse you and make you run in circles. Don’t let him.
James writes, “The wisdom that is from above is…peaceable.” In The Message Eugene Peterson paraphrases this Scripture: “Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoys its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor” (v. 17-18 TM). Notice, getting along with others can be ‘hard work’.
So next time you get worked up about some issue, ask yourself, “What’s the enemy trying to do here? If I give in to these emotions what will the result be?” When you’re stressed out you lose your joy, and when you lose your joy you lose your strength because “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Ne 8:10). So today, pray, exercise self-control, and keep your peace.
When I read this timely and powerful exhortation, I felt like a boy who had been spanked/disciplined/taken to the woodshed/put in time out. You pick the punishment you identify with.
“Oh Lord, I’m sorry. Restore my peace. Please!