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40 Days of Challenge
Self Control and Thoughtfulness
James 1:19-20 (KJV) "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not (does not produce) the righteousness of God."
Many times in our human relationships, we find it difficult to hold our tongue from interjecting so others can "see what we see" and avoid unnecessary pit falls and disasters. When someone does this repeatedly, often we consider this nagging. Women are dominantly categorized with this negative characteristic. However, it is not the motive that is bad, but rather the implementation which is rejected.
In addition to this "jumping the gun", we find it difficult to hold back the "I told you so", when the "inevitable" occurs.
You may now be asking yourself, how are you suppose to tame your tongue when Scripture just said, "But the tongue can no man tame".
The answer is that through the patience and self control empowered to you through the Holy Spirit of God, as His gift to you, that you can accomplish this. It can never be accomplished through mere strength of your own will. Like an overflowing fountain, whatever is in you (your spirit), good - bad - beautiful - ugly, is going to come out of your mouth eventually.
Those who attempt to use human will power to suppress what is inside are merely creating a pressure cooker that will one day explode. This is how terms of reference, such as "going postal" came to be part of our generation's understanding of an emotional blow up in a physical manifestation.
As we have now touched on this subject from the lighter aspect of nagging and bragging, to the extreme of "going postal", lets examine one step that can be done to change this direction in a positive and Biblical path. Using an example of someone I know, who's action in this regard has greatly impacted me in this area. My husband, Bradley, and I assisted Roger Oakland in his Understand The Times ministry in the early 2000's. If you have ever listened to one of his radio broadcasts or read one of his books, you may have noticed what I am about to share with you.
Roger's initial approach when addressing a controversial topic is just to ask a logical, thought provoking question. In addition to this, after he lays some foundational groundwork on the topic, he ends in reiteration of the initial question. This concept can be applied in every area of controversy.
Taking a step back to our original focus of nagging and bragging, how do you see ways that Roger's concept can apply? Here is an example :
A husband desires to take a life changing direction by accepting a job he was offered, across the country. This job opportunity would pay more money and allow him a change in focus to a new field, not previously explored; however the husband focuses on the more money and change opportunity rather than concerns regarding his lack of experience, a lack of a support system (family, friends) in the area, and the intense requirements to maintain his new position (longer hours, travel, pressured deadlines, etc).
The wife, deciding she needs to approach this delicately, as to not hinder his ego or dreams, yet desiring him to view this in a more grounded perspective, asks a nonthreatening question. "Honey, how do you see this playing out?", she asks.
Her husband responds with all of his excited hopes of what can be done with the extra money, as well as being able to learn something new. So, she asks him how they will coordinate their time together with his new schedule? This stumps him a bit at first, but he quickly responds with, "We'll figure it out". She then asks about who they will have watch the kids, as their parents took turns babysitting. His initial though is that they will find someone. The wife decides to leave it at this for now and pray about it.
A few days go by, and these questions continue to come up in the husband's mind. He becomes bothered by not having a plan, which then causes him to ponder other aspects he had not looked at. With this, he begins to see the positives in their current situation. He took his concerns to the Lord, and only felt peace in remaining where he was, understanding that the Lord would provide for their needs. He then made the decision that was best for his family, rather than what appeared attractive to him on the surface.
The enemy knows that our flesh likes shiny, pretty things, and he appeals to this weakness when tempting us to ultimate destruction.
I once heard a reference that as the man is the head of the house, the woman is like the neck, with the ability to sway the head in a certain direction. This is why Satan approached Eve in the garden, because he knew she could sway Adam's direction. A wife has a great role in her marriage, and because of this, the husband has a great responsibility to cover her spiritually. If the husband chooses not to cover and lead his wife and family, he only sets himself on a path toward destruction. (In regard to how to lead by serving, please read the previous challenges)
As with the analogy above, children can be seen as legs and feet, or arms and hands, to which they become extensions in action of how they are led - in the Lord or in the world.
One challenge for today is to approach any conflicts through thought provoking questions, rather than nagging and bragging.
Pray that the Lord will give you peace and clarity of thought, as well as inspiring you with the best wording for your questions. Pray that He reveal to you the complete truth of the matter, and guide you in His desired direction. *Be willing to be led, as it may be you the Lord desires to change*
Psalm 139:17-18 (KJV) "How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake; I am still with Thee."
Genesis 4:9 (KJV) "And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?"
In the self centered world today, the common thought is that you are not responsible for anyone but yourself. When one might be accountable for another, we may ask as did Cain, "Am I my brother's keeper?"
In John 21:15-17, we see the Lord's command to Peter, first to feed (instruct, lead) His lambs, and twice to feed His sheep.
It is the self centered who refuse accountability. Once we commit to following Christ, we commit to conforming (growing) into His image (ways), and to leading others in that same path.
Too many neglect to weigh the cost (requirements) of salvation. Many pastors have resorted to paving a wide and easy path for the self centered to make it through to Heaven, yet we are told that the only way is through Jesus as the door, and the path is narrow where only a few make it; even the disciples were concerned that anyone could make it through (Matthew 19:25). We are warned that we must walk through fires of purification to weigh our works, at times suffering loss, which is painful. We are told that only those who overcome and remain faithful in their continued walk will make it.
Are we our brother's keeper? Yes. (I encourage you to read 1 Corinthians 8 forcontextual clarification and understanding)
In regard to these last days, we are told:
To many the Lord will respond with:
Today's second challenge is to be conscious of how you impart through words, thoughts, and actions to those around you...especially those of your household.
Pray that the Lord will open the eyes of your understanding and quicken your discernment in the midst of circumstances. Pray for guidance and His love and patience to walk faithfully in the path He has chosen for you - to make a good witness of your profession of faith. Also that those within your influence will be inspired by you to faithfully follow, in Truth, the Lord Jesus.
The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry...The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.
ꕥ Psalm 34:15,17-19 ꕥ
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