I'm so angry right now!

haha, just kidding. caught your attention though, right?

I try to listen to a sermon every day. It doesn't always happen, but I do try.
Best time for me is in the morning when I'm preparing breakfast, or nursing, or just up before the rest of my family.
This hasn't happened since before our trip to California and this morning, I jumped back into my much missed routine. Right now I'm listening to a sermon series by Matt Chandler called City on a Hill.
The sermon I landed on this morning was so good and so very needed right now. For me, I think its a sermon I should listen to once a week.
Its called A Heart at Peace. Matt talks about anger... but not in the ways I've typically heard it talked about. For me, anger is usually something that describes a person who is filled with rage. Loud rage. Someone who yells because they're mad about something. I've convinced myself that in order to have an 'anger problem', you have to be an out of control freak. It was mid-sermon that I felt so convicted and quickly realized that way of thinking this isn't true, or biblical.

The past couple of months I've been really meditating on and studying the concept of God judging my heart. Understanding that while He does care and judge my actions, He is first judging the heart of every matter. Its where it all begins, right?
Before I actually commit the sin, I've thought it, right? Before I actually say what I shouldn't say, its already become an issue in my heart and mind.
I can live out a checklist of holiness, but if my heart isn't right before God, its just the appearance of holiness and is ugly in God's eyes.

Hebrews 12:14 "Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no "root of bitterness" springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled." 

Luke 6:27-32 "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do no withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. 

If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them." 
And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? 
Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 
Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful." 

Sometimes when I've read those verses, I've cringed. And probably because in the past, I've misunderstood them. Luke isn't actually saying that its good for you to be abused, or taken advantage of, or mistreated.
First of all he says to the one who abuses you, pray for them. He doesn't say allow them to keep abusing you. Have you ever tried to pray for a person who's abused you in some way? Goodness, I have a hard enough time praying for a person I struggle with on a personal level!

It isn't until I sit down to pray for an enemy that I realize where my heart has taken bitterness and anger toward that person. And while I agree with ought to always hate sin, we aren't supposed to hate the sinner or wish some awful calamity or death on them. Leave them to God.
Watch over your heart.
Don't allow Satan to break up friendships or even opportunities for you to speak truth into someone's life or them to speak into yours.

Remember that anger, hatred, bitterness - they all start with just a thought.

These are just some things I'm thinking about today. Disciplines of grace I definitely need to pray about and seek God's face on more than I do.

If you can, listen to the sermon. You'll be glad you did :)

3 {comments}:

Denise Byrd said...

Wow Stef, that was really good. Great to know how you are striving for godliness. I also love the picture of your children...they are so beautiful. You have been so blessed. This is my first time visiting your blog although I knew you had it and yes the anger thing 'got me'. Happy New Year to you and your family! Tell Jason I am proud of him. Thanks!

Gideon said...

I admire you so much. Thank you for your honesty, transparency, and for blogging!!

Stef said...

thank you, ladies!


Blog Template by YummyLolly.com