Is anything just about to get your goat right now? Is there a situation that's about to overtake you, take you to the ground, or body slam you against a wall?
Or maybe there's a person... Is someone about to drive you crazy, push your last button, cause you to lose it?
Or you could have a gnawing worry or concern. Is there a dilemma that you're losing sleep over? One that's consuming your thoughts, showing up in your dreams, wrecking your appetite (one way or the other), or draining your energy?
I've been in your shoes before. I could go there right now if I let myself. Isn't there just about always something that could get the best of us if we let it?
We might be tempted to think that if we could just solve that problem, get rid of that person (or at least change them), or fix that situation, we'd be better off. Not only that, if we could change those circumstances or people then we'd behave a little better ourselves. We wouldn't lose our temper, overeat, toss and turn in our beds, snap at people, look so consumed with our thoughts. We'd be nicer, more generous, more considerate of others, just happier.
If everyone else and everything else would just behave!
But the Bible teaches otherwise. This morning I read a scripture that hit me straight between the eyes. usually the Bible verses that knock me back a few steps are the ones that put responsibility squarely on my shoulders, like a well-centered and fully packed backpack. Whoosh! That responsibility straps itself to my back and a voice says, "You carry this. It's yours."
Here's what I read:
Whoever has no rule over his own spirit
Is like a city broken down, without walls.
Other translations identify "rule over his own spirit" as self-discipline, self-control or controlling one's temper. But one thing they all keep in common is the concept of "own."
And the bottom line in this verse, no matter which translation you read it from, is that without self control, self discipline, or control of one's own temper, disaster looms. Like a city with no walls, you're just inviting the enemy to come in and set up camp. You know what that looks like don't you?
When our enemy, Satan, comes in and takes over, we snap at people, say things we shouldn't say, blame others, harbor grudges, hurt feelings, blame some others, act mean spirited, rush into things, and, again, blame even others.
This scripture tells me that if I'm losing sleep, snapping at people, eating out of frustration, losing my temper, or biting my nails...it's my fault. I've let something "get to me" because the walls of my city are down. Instead of dwelling safely and peacefully in the presence of the Lord and taking refuge within His strong tower, I'm exposing myself like a sitting duck to the enemy.
So what's a person to do when something's eating at him? What's the best route to take when anxiety is chasing you around? What should I do if someone's about to push my last button?
Run to the Rock. Take refuge in Him. Keep your mind and heart focused on Him and He will keep you in perfect peace. Do you believe that? You have to believe that He can really give you peace and security or you'll never truly run to Him and lay your weary soul down in the peace of His presence.
And when you do run to Him, He will give you the self-control you need in order to behave better, too. By His indwelling Spirit you'll find the wherewithal to speak kind words, show compassion, forgive, offer grace, and refrain from sinful behavior.
So don't be eaten up with something today. That's just the enemy's way of getting you to let down your drawbridge and welcome the sneaky snake into unguarded territory.
Let's exercise a little Holy Spirit infused self-control out there today, folks! It's our responsibility.