Archive for the ‘ Emotions ’ Category

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 10/12/2014

Find the old wisdom with a new perspective at Proverbial Thought!

One of my favorite Michael W. Smith songs is Missing Person. That song was partly inspiration for this poem.

It occurred to me, though, that with just that song it can be easy to miss the point.

For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
Philippians 3:8b-16, ESV

For a Christian who has grown stale, who feels like the passion and the power of Christ is gone, trying to get back to who we once were as a new believer is not the right focus. Our focus must always be on the One who changes us through His power and resurrection: Jesus Christ. Only then can we find that passion and power we once felt.

 

   finding the old new self

most of us believe in power
then get comfortable and stale
we then begin to look for
that faith that now looks so pale
we start looking for that person
whom we were when we were younger
perhaps there is a reason
we are unable to get there
we are trying so hard to
get back to who we used to be
that we neglect the full truth
and our focus is on “me”
we had that power at first
because we gave up our lives
realized that it took rebirth
and giving control to Christ
let us stop trying to find ourselves
and return to what can save us
through faith a grace from God above
manifested in His Son Jesus

God-Esteem

I grew up in the midst of a relatively new social experiment that has taken hold of our society.

Self-Esteem

I know many people who struggle with self-esteem and/or have struggled for a long time.

It sounds so good!

“Believe in yourself!”
“Find your self-worth!”
“You are beautiful!”
“You are precious!”
“Look within yourself to find happiness!”

It all sounds so great, until you get to that last one.

Self-esteemers are big on finding what is good in you and latching on to it. “It is the good in you that gives you a good self-esteem!”

My pastor recently shared with me some information he read. It looked at the claim that so many people are in prison because of low self-esteem. After surveying several inmates, it was deduced that they did not lack self-esteem. If they lacked anything it was a proper distinction between right and wrong or guilt over what they had done. Many were confident in and of themselves. The only real hit they took to their egos was that they were arrested.

Self-esteem was not the issue.

(We might even find many of them were told they are great and can do anything as they were growing up.)

It can also be tough overcoming low self-esteem you are constantly told about how great you are, how much you can accomplish, or you are basically good, and find out how untrue these can be.

Children may be told time and again that they can do whatever they want, yet poor children are often told that they are worthless by much of society.

So many are told they are able to do great things, yet they are not always given the opportunity to learn or try (for myriad of factors) and are left in their failure.

We are told that we are basically good, and then we struggle with our imperfections and failures.

And what do we find when we look inside ourselves?

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
Jeremiah 17:9

It is easy to see that most of us are not that good. We feel the truth of how not good we can be when we get cut off in traffic and yell at “YOU IDIOT!” We feel the truth of how messed up we are when we see injustice in our world and want to destroy those who perpetrate it. We feel the truth when we break a rule “because it is silly, anyway” (like when we drive 5 mph over the speed limit).

It gets worse when we read the next verse in Jeremiah:

“I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”

Many of us might say, “Yeah, but I have not done as many bad things as others?”

a) But we still understand we are not as good as we like to think.
b) If we have to justify ourselves by comparison to others, that becomes a self-evident point to our not-goodness.
c) By God’s standard, all sinful deeds are choosing our own will over His, they are disobedience.

We have little within us to make us completely happy.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
Isaiah 64:6

There is hope for us, though:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Colossians 2:20

Our worth is found through self-esteem. It is found when we esteem the Creator and Lover of our souls who saved us from ourselves!

If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:4b-14, NIV

I love you with all of my bowels

If you had not heard the teaching, yet, instead of saying “I love you with all of my heart,” for centuries people essentially said “I love you with all of my bowels” or intestines or guts or whatever. It makes sense, too, when you consider “falling in love” frequently includes feeling sick to your stomach!

I propose something a little different today.

What if it is not necessarily love, but merely lust or physical attraction?

I am not saying love for another person will not cause physical manifestations within our bodies. I have experienced it. My wife and I occasionally joke around, saying “You make my bowels move” to say “I love you.”

However, I also remember something else as I think back on my life. The times in which my bowels seemed to move for someone the most I was thinking not so much about the long-term benefits of a relationship as the instant gratification of the flesh.

“I want to touch her just once.” “I want to know how [various parts of her body] feel.” “I bet the sex would be great!”

In truth, the times I feel “my bowels moving” for my wife very frequently are when I am ready to take her to the bedroom (wink wink, nudge nudge). Many people with whom I have talked (teens, young adults, older adults; men and women) have also said that those physical emotional responses have largely led to thoughts of physical (read: sexual) interaction with another person.

I guess this is more a warning than anything else, especially to young readers (high school/college): Be careful of those feelings.

How many people have rushed to marriage because “He makes my stomach hurt … in that good way!”
How many people have had sex outside of marriage because “It felt like what was right!”
How many people have not listened to others because “My whole body seemed to tell me it was the right thing to do!”

How many divorces could have been avoided?
How many diseases and unwanted pregnancies could have been avoided?
How much heartache could have been avoided?

The heart [bowels/body/emotions] is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?

Jeremiah 17:9

I thought in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless.

Ecclesiastes 2:1

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

Matthew 15:19

I added some meaning and italics.

The point is as I said above: we cannot always trust our emotions and when our bodies react.

This is what the LORD says:

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who depends on flesh for his strength
and whose heart turns away from the LORD.

Jeremiah 17:5

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding.

Proverbs 3:5

Why are rules set in place for our relationships? It is not to deny our freedom or punish us. In fact, rules for relationships are their to protect us and remind us that we have a tendency to really mess things up in our lives!

We must remember to keep our emotions and bowels and hearts in check by trusting that God just might know us well enough to know what is best for us. We must remember that we can so easily be deceived by our own emotions if we base our understanding on us and not what God has told us. We must remember the need of hearing the Holy Spirit, and that means we need to learn to be able to listen to Him in all things.