You know what actually gets us emotionally distressed, sad, unhappy, anxious, fearful, and all things negative? Did you know that all the troubles and dramas in your life isn’t because of something or someone else?
It’s not the circumstance. It’s not the situation. It’s not the object or thing. It’s not the time of day. It’s not the environment. It’s not because I can. And especially, it’s not because of the people.
It’s because of us–not them.
Your mind is the one making all this. You could be happy if you wanted to, but your mind says no. You could be the humble one and let the one who wants to win the argument… win the argument… but your mind says no. You could be the one who can make peace in situations, not flare it up again, but you want satisfaction and prove you’re right, so your mind says no.
We all acknowledge that it is logically impossible to avoid any hardships and challenges in our life (for those who disprove of this, I’d like to ask you if you’ve not experienced any hardships in your life–recently or ever), because the bible says in James 1:
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
Let’s picture ‘Faith’ as muscles. When we were once a baby, our muscles were so weak that we couldn’t even hold on to a monkey bar without someone holding us up; but as we start to get older, our combination of exercise and healthy food start to get our muscles stronger and bigger.
But whoever said exercising was easy? And not painful? Bodybuilders go to the gym every day; and they shape their lifestyle and diet in order to fit with their bodybuilding. Bodybuilders, who have trained their muscles, are able to lift a 220lbs/100kg barbell properly; but do you think that if you got a novice bodybuilder to lift that 220lbs/100kg barbel without breaking a bone in his body or severely damaging himself that may lead to a lifelong disability, would he be able to do it?
No, of course not! No matter how many steroids or pills or medication he takes (otherwise known as ‘shortcuts’ or ‘excuses’), he will not be able to lift that barbel as oppose to the bodybuilder who’s been through hours and hours of practicing and weightlifting.
This is like our Faith. If we don’t have a challenge to build them up to get them stronger… how do we grow as a Christian?
The bible verse in James 1 continues, “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.”
Now, all that you’ve just read is a precursor to what I’m going to talk about now; which is in the lines of taming our tongues. In the bible in James 3, Controlling the Tongue, it is so beautifully and comprehensibly written that I’m just going to let it speak for itself:
“Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.
But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.
People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.
“True Wisdom Comes from God”
If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.”
I just love James 3! Especially how it concludes with how planting a seed of peace can actually reap a harvest of righteousness.
Now, we all get angry because we want to please ourselves. Anger is not even something to have the right about, or can be used as an excuse. Many times in the bible, it says that whoever doesn’t control their anger, they are fools. Those who can control their anger are wise. Now, I’m not trying to say that you shouldn’t feel any emotion of angriness, but I’m just saying, shut yo mouth when you get angry and think! Don’t speak! Don’t even let that anger control your physical emotions! Instead, let go, pray with all your heart, and let God do the disciplining. If you are truly living to please Him, you would know that you should tame your tongue and live honourably. Don’t let anger stay in your hands, but lift it up to God who will recognize your obedience and self control, and He will do the talking-back and disciplining to the person who has hurt you. Proverbs 29:11 says, “Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.”
Also, don’t ever sleep having hard feelings towards that person. What if you die that night?! This is a true story: “A Pastor who has brought many people to Christ had a fight with his wife, and he got into his car and drove away, not forgiving his wife or making peace. When he was driving (still angry), he crashed and an Angel brought him to hell, saying ‘if your time on earth has ended now, you would end up here because you did not forgive your wife’.”
Don’t think that all your good deeds in the past will account to that very day when you will be judged. Always try to do the right thing every moment, and live to please God. Ephesians 4:26-30 says, “And ‘don’t sin by letting anger control you.’Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.”
Thank you for loving me and always being the Father that I can look up to for comfort and safety. Thank you Lord that you’re the one who deals with my enemies while I continue to live out your word and always love my neighbor like the way You have loved me. I know that sometimes I become like a popcorn kernel and pop in the heat of the moment, but I know through trial and challenges you have allowed me to face, my faith in You can become stronger; and my self-control can become stronger, too. Forgive me for all the times I have sinned and have allowed anger to get the hold of me. I pray that you help me tame myself and my tongue whenever I lose my mind, and help me not to become a fool by getting so easily angered. Help me Lord to love my neighbors since you have loved me, and help me God to let go of all my grudges and resentment towards people, and forgive them like the way You have forgiven me.
In Jesus’ name,