Reality check

Life isn’t always fun. And it doesn’t always go your way. There’s a reason there are things called emotions. If we were always happy we’d only have one emotion. And I’m sure that’d get boring. Although emotions are real, we must remember that emotions are not reality. They are results of our physical body here on earth. Emotions are governed by many things. Amount of sunlight, degree of hunger, comfort level, how many hugs we had recently, stress level, endorphins/hormones, amount of sleep, and situations in general. Emotions can seem like they have a great affect on the universe, but emotions aren’t the issue, our situations are the issue. (explanation to follow)

I want to give you an illustration of serious emotions, and a Biblical response to them. In 1 Samuel 30 David and his men return to their home city to find it burned. Their wives and their children are gone. When these mighty men who have slain thousands in victorious battle find their home in desolation, they have an emotional response. Yeah, they cry like babies. (1 Sam. 30:4) And can you blame them? Their families are gone! After crying until they can’t cry anymore, they start thinking about what to do.

What do they decide? Let’s kill David! Brilliant.

Now, think of David. His family is gone, his home is burned to the ground. And now his best friends and comrades want to kill him.

What would you do in that situation? How would you react? I’d probably fall apart.

In verse 6, we find David’s reaction. It says, "but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God." That’s right, David looked beyond his "situation" and saw the true reality. He could have looked at his surroundings and despaired, but he "encouraged himself." The word ‘encouraged’ means to strengthen. David made himself strong in the Lord.

How does this apply to us? Well, what’s going on in your life today? Are you in a "situation" that looks hopeless. Do you find yourself feeling terrible , stressed out, and emotionally distraught? Remember, emotions aren’t the issue, your situations are.

You might say, "My situation is horrible! I’ve got so much to do! I’m inadequate! Nothing is turning out right!"

I would challenge you, if you are feeling that way, you need a reality check. Your situation is better than it seems. You’re a child of God. You have a promise that He’ll never leave you. He’s working everything out to your good. (Rom 8:28) Your God is in control of all. If God is allowing difficulty in your life, it’s probably because He wants you to learn to react properly and go to Him about it. Are you going to let your emotions dictate your manner of life, or will you let God’s presence give you peace?

I challenge you, remember your true reality. God is your God. What could possibly go wrong?

Encourage yourself in the Lord.

Bein’ real, with God.

You ever have that person that you could tell anything to? It may have been your mom, dad, grandmother, best friend, counselor, or pastor. Whoever they were they were close to you. No matter what was going on, you could talk to them. You found rest knowing that they understood. You found relief being able to unload when they were around. Our relationship to God should be like that, and so much more!

You see, many times when Christians pray to God, they veil their true feelings. They think, "Oh, I’m talking to God." And they try to be all holy, when in fact, all their doing is keeping themselves from true fellowship with their Creator.

David, a man after God’s own heart wrote, "Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah." Psalm 62:8. I want you to notice that middle clause, "pour out your heart before him." Pour out your heart before Him. Think on that for a moment.

Our heart is the seat of emotions. All our feelings are associated with our heart. Do you tell God how you feel? Think of that wording, "Pour out." David is saying, when you go before God, tell Him everything. Vent. Pour out. Don’t hold back. Let God know exactly how you feel.

If we read through the Psalms, we will find that that is exactly how David lived. Whenever He had a trial, or a trouble, or persecution, or victory, or accomplishment, or blessing, or whatever happened, David told God about it. You know, when we share our heart with someone, we become closer to them. And when we become closer to them, we are more likely to share our heart with them again.

I would encourage you, share your heart with God. Not everything you feel is Holy and pious. Not every desire or want is going to be in God’s will, but He already knows how you are. God doesn’t want a bunch of people who come before Him and pretend. God wants you, He wants you to be real, with Him. When you share all your heart with Him, then you open yourself up. You give Him an opportunity to help you, and you allow Him to give you some relief from your troubles. Be real, with God.

"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." – 1 Peter 5:7

The things of God

Remember being a little kid and wanting to understand something that your parents or another adult was doing? You may have tried to figure out what to do, but epically failed. You had seen them do it before, and you understood a little, but not much at all. In order for you to understand adult things, as a little kid, you needed an adult to explain things to you. Our relationship with God is just like that. If we want to understand the things of God, we must receive and operate in the Holy Spirit that God has provided for us.

1 Corinthians 2:11 says, "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." In short this verse is saying, just like only humans understand human things, only God understands His things. It says in order for us to understand the things of God, we must be using the Spirit of God. If Paul ended with that, we would have no hope, but he continues.

In the next verse he says, "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God." He says we have received this spirit so we could know what God has given us. You see, we can’t understand any thing that pertains to God unless we are using the Spirit which He has provided. So knowing that, we cannot use our natural human spirit (understanding) to understand and explain and learn from the Bible. We must ask God to give us the Spirit He has provided so we can understand.

Think about when you became saved. You probably were not studying the Bible like a textbook. Or maybe you were. But at some moment you began to realize that the Holy Spirit was working on your heart. You could have rejected His leading, and tried to think up how you could be saved through logic, but you didn’t, you allowed Him to convict you, (he used emotions) and you allowed him to explain to you, (logically, through a person or a Bible or both) and you responded. You see, God uses logic and emotions, but they must be in their proper place. If we try to put them above the understanding that comes from the Holy Spirit, they are not in the right place, and we will not be able to understand the things of God.

I would like to challenge you. Next time you read your Bible, ask God to help you understand it. Don’t try to figure out the Bible in your own head. You can’t. You can’t know God stuff without God explaining it to you. God wants to explain His blessings to you through His Holy Spirit. He says that he has offered His spirit to us. Why? So, "we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. " Do you want to understand everything God has given you? Ask God to start explaining!

"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. " – 1 Corinthians 2:10

Are you better than a conqueror?

What is your reaction to hard times? Do you allow your situations to determine your demeanor? It is natural to have emotions and react to the situations around us. When Jesus was on earth, he was angry, he wept, he was weary, and he rejoiced. Through all this, Jesus kept himself under subjection.

Proverbs 25:28 says, "He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls." If we understand the cities of the past, we know that their main defense was their walls. A city with well built walls could repel a great army with a much smaller amount of defenders. Our self-control is truly a defense against Satan’s attacks.

In John 2:15, Jesus is in the middle of overturning the money changers tables. He made a whip and began to drive the merchants out of the temple. He declared His Father’s house to be one of prayer, and not a den of thieves. In 2:16 though, we find something interesting. It says, "And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence;" Did you see that? Jesus drove out the animals, overturned the tables, but he told the merchants to TAKE the doves. Despite our Savior’s righteous indignation, He had self control.

You can stand up a table, and herd oxen again, but it would be really hard to catch a dove. Jesus knew this and acted in self control. Jesus was angry, but He was not in sin. He is the perfect example of Ephesians 4:26, "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:"

How about you? When you get frustrated, do you allow your anger to get the better of you? When you are in a tough situation, do you allow your circumstances to drag you into depression. I would like to challenge you, encourage yourself in the Lord. Our circumstances will influence us, but we should never allow them to control us. If you are in a tough situation, take your eyes off the world around you and look to Christ. He will give you to inner strength to walk in righteousness despite how your emotions entice you to act or think. If we control ourselves despite our emotions, God says that we are better than one who conquers a city.

"He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city." – Proverbs 16:32