by Rob Shiflet
Bible Reading: Ephesians 4:24-27
You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God’s likeness-righteous, holy, and true. Ephesians 4:24
DOESN’T IT JUST make you mad when
· you take the dog for a walk and he “walks” on your pant leg or shoe?
· you call a friend to talk about how much you like this “total fox” in your class and you realize-too late-that you dialed the wrong number and spilled your guts to the “fox”?
· you forget your lunch and have to eat the food your friends don’t want, like carrot sticks, Spam, and something mushy and gray?
· you turn on the television to watch your favorite show and it’s being preempted so the president can talk about meeting with people you’ve never heard of in some place you’ve never heard of to discuss something you don’t care about?
· you realize at noon that you forgot to take off your pajama top before getting dressed for school?
Lots of things can make you mad. Sometimes it can seem like the whole world is just waiting for a chance to get on your nerves. But it’s not.
What is happening, though, is that every day you face a lot of choices that challenge your self-control. Self-control is your ability to control your temper and your actions. It’s not like being double-jointed, though, in that “some people are and some people ain’t.” It’s like any choice between right and wrong: Sometimes you make the right choice (and exercise self-control), and sometimes you don’t.
No matter how many times something or someone gets on your “last nerve,” no matter how often you’re tempted to lose your cool, no matter how much you’d like to blow off some steam, you need to recognize that being self-controlled is a choice you make. And, with God’s help, you’ll be able to choose self-control more and more often.
Self-control is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. (See Galatians 5:22-23.) If you’re controlled by God’s Spirit, you’ll have self-control. Does that make you a robot? Hardly! You still have the freedom to choose self-control or to blow your cool. Someone won’t “leggo your Eggo”? You can choose what to do: get mad or use self-control. You can heed or ignore the psalmist’s warning, “Don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you. Think about it overnight and remain silent” (Psalm 4:4).
REFLECT: Reread Ephesians 4:24. What do you think it means to be a “new person”? How can that affect your actions? What was the last thing that got you really upset? How did you respond? How could you have responded differently?
PRAY: “Lord, stop me when I start to get angry. Help me to see my choices. And give me the strength to make the right choice.”