Dealing with my “default tendencies” when frustrated or provoked…

There are a lot of things I’m still working on as a Christian (I’m reminded of a lot of them during my daily times of “coffee with the Lord). One of them is my impatience and proclivity to “pop off” in anger when frustrated or provoked (I have battled this one since a child). I’m still working on it! I’ve got to say, my default tendency is NOT meekness and gentleness. (I don’t know how many letters I’ve written in haste and torn up, or how many e-mails or Facebook posts I’ve written, paused, prayed and never sent. (Incidentally, I recommend a “pause and pray” approach before sending e-mails or posting opinions on social media )…

I read a passage this morning that I identified with (and I think some of my Facebook friends will as well)… 2 Corinthians 10:1-6. Paul had been criticized and accused unfairly… Anyone who has read much of Paul’s story in the Bible knows he was not naturally “meek and mild” – his natural tendency was a lot like mine (in fact the book of Acts tells the story of his pre-Christian zealous hatred and violence against Christians… as well as his harsh treatment against John Mark for what Paul felt was his failure under pressure).

In this passage it seems the Corinthian congregation has criticized Paul for inconsistency … “talking tough” in his letters but being a bit “timid” in person. Paul felt the criticism was unfair, given their behavior and sin. I can imagine everything within him wanted to “just tell them off!”

Instead Paul says this…

“I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away! … For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” A few verses later he declared that any “authority” he had was “for building them up rather than tearing them down.” (from 2 Corinthians 10:1–11 ESV)

This is a lesson I want to learn… a spiritual skill I want to master… doing a better job of “self-management” through the power of the Holy Spirit working in my life! I want to be able to demonstrate that my default tendency is under control and that there is another, preferred way as a Christian, to deal with things… Spiritual weapons – the “meekness and gentleness of Christ.” It doesn’t mean we don’t deal with things… we just deal with them differently. I’m working on it…

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