(This is a re-blog, while I am on Retreat)
The days of summer are getting warm, and it reminds me of how our cars tend to run hot this time of the year. Sometimes I have to add more coolant to some of my older cars when I see the temperature gauge creeping toward the “H.” I’ve learned the hard way what happens when you don’t attend to a hot-running car – it breaks down (and becomes a money pit!)
Likewise, from time to time our emotions get hot and our tempers flare. If we don’t watch it, we end up saying or doing things that we end up regretting. And then we wrestle with guilt because we know that, as Christians, the devil got the best of us – and we hate it when that happens!
Paul says in Ephesians 4:26-27 “In your anger do not sin.” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.
When our anger reaches an emotional level, it is almost too late to do anything about it. It is like a radiator that is boiling over. The only thing you can do is pull over, stop the “engine” and wait for it to cool down. However, we can do “preventative maintenance” on our emotional cooling system by adding “spiritual coolant” to our beings. Here are three Biblical tips to help be cool:
1. Be constantly filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our spiritual coolant. He is also our spiritual counselor, empowerer, cleanser and encourager. To be filled with the Holy Spirit means to yield to the Holy Spirit. It means placing God in charge of your life. God will not take charge of your life; you must willingly and deliberately give Him control. It means asking the Holy Spirit to fill you each day (see Tuesday’s blog and some of the great comments by fellow readers); perhaps several times a day. But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you start bearing His fruit – including gentleness and self-control; which can keep your temper under control.
2. Regularly gauge your temper. If you know that your inner temper is rising, you can take preventative measures to deal with it. Your temper is affected by many different factors. Remember the “HALT” acronym, which stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired (see the blog for 3/12/13). When I get a little edgy, I check my gauges: maybe I need a little snack or a little nap or a call a good friend. Often when I take care of the HL&T, I will be in better shape to deal with my A(nger).
3. Remind yourself who you are and Who is in control. You are a child of God. You are a follower of Jesus. You are dearly loved by the Lord of the Universe! And you are not in control. The Lord, alone, is in control. And that means your circumstances and situations. Although this is a good tool to use in an emergency – when you are in the “heat” of boiling over, it works best when we apply this as a daily spiritual discipline – in a PROACTIVE way. In your devotional time, remind yourself who you are and Who is in control. During a coffee break or lunch break, pause and pray: “Jesus I belong to You, and You are in control.” The more you do it, the more spiritual coolant will enter your life. And when the devil wants to throw an “angry” your way, it won’t affect you because you are resting on the bottom line: God is in control of your situation.
A little warning: some of you may have deep-seated anger issues, stemming from deep wounds. If you regularly wrestle with angry emotions, if little things tick you off on a regular basis, if the above recommendations do not help your anger, you may need some deep healing from the Lord through a trained spiritual and/or professional mentor.
Whole Life Worshipers stay spiritually cool in the heat of life!
What spiritual principles help you to stay cool in the heat of life?