I don't like to be in charge of a classroom full of 3-year-olds, a meal for over 12 people, a cabin full of preteens, or anyone else's dogs.
I do like to be in charge of my family's vacations plans, my Sunday afternoons, my kitchen, and the radio/IPod player in my car.
I don't like to be in charge of where we're going to dinner, unless the other people are voting for things like sushi, Weinerschnitzel, or Dairy Queen.
I do like to be in charge of the money, as long as I'm getting to choose how to spend it instead of how to save it.
Sometimes I'm really good at being in charge, like when I'm planning a party, leading a discussion group, or planning out menus for my family's meals.
Other times being in charge makes me shake in my boots, like when I lead a group on a hike, spearhead a group project, or ... try to control my emotions.
That's right. One of the hardest things to be in charge of, in my book, is my own emotions.
Do you agree?
The Bible teaches in Proverbs 16:32:
He who is slow to anger is
better than the mighty,
And he who rules his spirit
than he who takes a city.
According to this pithy maxim, it's more important to be in full control of your spirit, your attitude, your demeanor, your temper...than to be in charge of a mighty army that storms a fortified city and takes control!
What does it mean to rule your spirit?
It doesn't mean that you never feel justifiably angry, devastatingly sad, a little green with envy, euphorically proud, or pleased as punch. Emotions sometimes pop up like unpredictable storms, like unexpected company. We're cruising along and then something happens out of the blue that makes us suddenly feel
- put out
- riled up
- or pious.
No, the Holy Spirit.
If I walk by the flesh, I'm prone to allow my emotions to take charge and just go with them. That's when I say things I later regret, make faces that stick in peoples' minds, slam doors, walk with a strut in my stride, make poor decisions, and hurt other peoples' feelings.
But if I walk by the Spirit, letting Him be in control, in charge, then I'm more likely to feel those bursting emotions come under His calming influence.
- He helps me love when I feel like twisting someone's neck.
- He restores my joy when I'm sinking in sadness.
- He gives me peace when emotions are flying like damaging bullets around me.
- He infuses me with patience when others are making me lose it.
- He helps me say a kind word when I feel like spewing venom.
- He shows me how to do a little good when I'm more prone to do a lot of harm.
- He keeps my touch, my words, my tone of voice gentle when I'm feeling harsh.
- He helps me stay faithful when I feel like throwing in the towel because "that was the last straw!"
- Bottom line, He helps me stay in control and refrain from losing it.
He doesn't fall apart, snap peoples' heads off, make hasty decisions on a whim, or act out of jealousy or self-pity. He's consistent and He's good. I want people around me to know that. And that's why it's more important to rule over my spirit than to lead a mighty army.
Without the Holy Spirit, I'd be better at ruling a classroom full of 3-year-olds than trying to keep my wits about me amidst an emotional storm. But with the Holy Spirit in charge it's like having a seasoned preschool teacher running the show. I like being in charge, but I've found that if I really want to get things under control it's best to let Him call the shots.