Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Emotions are good. Use them the way they were meant to be used...

    Today, I awoke. Like happens every-now-and-then a flood of depression seemed to just pour onto me, weighing down my eyelids that had just opened, trying to keep me in bed for just a while longer. As I’ve been slowly learning, these situations are exactly why I keep a Bible on my head board - and unlike all the times I’ve failed at this simple step, I grabbed it up and started reading before I even got out of bed.

Today? Tuesday. Tuesday is Poetry day.
I flipped to Ecclesiastes to continue where I left off last Tuesday.

As I read, I got to the 10th chapter, and in verse 2 something caught my eye:

“A wise man’s heart is at his right hand, but a fool’s heart at his left.”

This caught my attention. I read through the rest of the book, gathering encouragement, wondering at God’s love for us, and amazed at His majesty showing so plainly through the writings of Solomon - the Preacher. But in the end my mind was still going back to that verse.

Let’s break it down:
There are two characters - The Wise Man, and the Fool
There are two common factors - both have hearts 
Heart - Hebrew Word ‘leb’ (לֵב)
       - definition: as seat of emotions and passions 

There are two uses for the same heart (leb) 

First, we see the wise man
The wise man does not shun his heart=emotions 
The wise man embraces them 
Second, The Fool
He also embraces them 

It actually appears that the wisdom has nothing to do with being stoic - in fact quiet the opposite because how does it say the wise man uses his emotions?
    “(his) heart is at his right hand”

What does that mean

Well it’s interesting because the term ‘right-hand’ in the Bible is always referring to ‘strength’. So now that we know a few things, lets read it again
“a wis man’s emotion is his strength”


Let’s look at the fool
“But a fool’s heart at his left”

What we’ve learned from the wise man applies to the fool, except in that the ‘left’ hand is a declaration of 'weakness'. So let’s re-read this section as well
“But a fool’s emotion is his weakness”

This struck me so hard this morning as I lay - depression just on the outskirts of my consciousness, waring against me to come in and conquer. It struck me that my emotions are a very good thing. In fact, they’re are God given - and in my emotion I find that truly I am built in Gods image.

God shows anger: Isaiah 28:21
God shows sadness: Luke 19:41
God knows what regret feels like: 1 Samuel 15:11
God knows what it’s like to be hard to relate to: Matthew 8:20
And many more examples of both God and His men and women in the Bible that prove God is VERY in touch with our emotions, and can relate to them.

However, this verse makes an interesting point. Since we got our emotions from God they should be viewed as strengths - not weakness.

The wise man is not one who ‘is wise’, no one ‘is’ of themselves - only God can declare, “I AM, THAT I AM”. We are becoming wise. A mark of the wise is that they are continually becoming more wise. It’s a long process that takes a lifetime to complete. What we learn from the wise man in Ecclesiastes 10:2 is simply this:

To be wise, we must make emotion our strength. To be foolish, we make it our weakness.

As I lay in bed pondering this, it became apparent to me that to act on the depression, the feelings that assail all of us (and some of us more then other’s, albeit) regularly, to act on those feelings - would be foolish. I’d be taking my God given emotions and making them my weakness. 

But! (as in: however)           

To take the encouragement I found in His word, acknowledge my lack of wisdom in this area and ask for it (James 1:5), and act on that emotion - there was my strength! There was my one-more-step-towards-wisdom! 

So as I thought about this, about how much God has given me and the blessings that I have to live a godly life (Ephesians 1:3), I couldn’t help but understand that it is my duty as a human to harvest ‘good’ emotions - and to make those emotions my strength. Even in a time (like this morning) when I lacked those emotion, to go to God’s Word and ask for them. To realize that to let myself act out on anything based in depression, anxiety, anger, strife or envy was wrong. To rather NOT act until God answered me - then TO act and act wrongly (an excruciatingly patient thing to do, btw).

My prayer has become simply this:
“Lord, give me strength over my emotions to make them my strength and not my weakness."

Emotions are good: use them the way they were meant to be used.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Me, Moses, A Rock and Three Nightmares...

So….here’s my chronicle. My chronicle of stupid.
12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me
as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will 
not bring this community 
into the land I 
give them"
Numbers 20:12(NIV) 

Moses wasn’t allowed into the promise land because he hit the rock and didn’t speak to it. Now - what is the reason? Was it because he did one and not the other - because God told him to do the other? Was it just a case of disobedience? 

No. It was the fact that he was supposed to be representing God. It was the fact that, even more then representing God - he was representing the Son of God, the man Jesus Christ who would be born of a virgin in Bethlehem years down the road. That by hitting the rock in anger he entered into a misrepresentation of God’s love and redemption, and that's was what did him in… o_O

In the same way - how many times do I misrepresent the God Man Jesus Christ? How many times? 

Today I did just that. 

Three particularly disgusting figures came into work…three that are not liked at all, and one that is as sexually promiscuous in her conduct as the day is long. Basically, they were the most perfect ingredients for a recipe of slander ANYONE has ever seen. No one. NO ONE. would ever think twice about hearing something derogatory said about them. In fact, it would seem logical - acceptable - totally delectable!

And so to frustrated derogatory did I go, and in so doing so also did my representation of the Man Christ Jesus go as well.

While I saw three old bitties worthy of a nightmare, Christ saw three people - possibly His, probably not - that needed His love. Needed His compassion. Needed his healing. The sexually promiscuous one, I saw something worthy of gaging at, and when she flirted with me, showing me inappropriate parts of her body that never should have seen the light of day (by “accident”), I saw something worthy of running away form in pure, abject, terror…but Christ saw someone who was lonely. Someone who was broken, and someone who was hurting.

Today I struck the rock instead of speaking to it. Today I looked at the people around me in my lens. Like Moses, seeing the 2 million plus jew he had been leading in the desert for 40 years complaining and grumbling AGAIN - I saw these woman with filters of my own short sightedness. 

God wanted to give the grumbling, complaining, winning, faithless and trying nation of Israel water on that day - and give it freely! Not grudgingly, or angrily. He didn’t even want to make them work for it…He wanted them to be able to ‘just’ ask for it! That’s how loving and patient He is. 

In the same way, God wanted me to treat these ladies with love and respect. To mirror His heart for their lost souls. Instead, I, like Moses, saw them for where they were (not where they could be), and had a massive lack of patience. 

Oh that God would give me eyes to see the people around me the way He sees them. Oh that God would have mercy on me and on all those who endeavor to represent Him to this world. That we would represent Him rightly…never for a moment believing that we have ANY right to have OUR own opinions on the people we are so keen to judge.