So we are one day deep into Lent… Woo Hooo!!! Yesterday, Ash Wednesday, as well as Good Friday are days that many people choose to fast during Lent. I love starting off periods of focused spiritual development, like Lent, with fasting. So I was one of those people.
Most of the day was great! I experienced a great lunch of reflection and prayer as I stood at my office window watching icicles fall from an awning and listened to the wind swirl around corners. Those all too rare times of extended quiet are precious and during that time God impressed a few things on my spirit. Normally I would share them all here, but He also has been leading me to keep some things for just He and I. However, one thing that was clear today was attitude.
God called me to come closer to Him and lay down my emotionally driven attitude and pick up His spirit of life-giving, loving attitude. I am not a guy who walks around with a chip on his shoulder by any means. I am not that grumpy guy, but usually a smiling example of love. However, when my world shakes ever so slightly and I am in a place of comfortability with those around me, there is a darkness that overwhelms me. My thoughts of love and kindness turn to selfishness and anger.
How quickly my spirit falls away from love in those times. I almost always recognize it and repent after the fact. But maybe at the age of 35, I should be ready to control myself and not allow my emotions to get the best of me. As a pastor and a leader, I understand that in some ways there is a different standard to which I must hold myself. I know that God expects more from those in leadership and we are doubly accountable. Thus I have that emotional leash on often, but when I get comfortable, I relax my hand and then like a furious beast who smells meat, he can go a bit wild.
Today, day 2 of Lent, I am praying that God empower me with more of Himself…more of His spirit that gives fruit:
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” Galatians 5:22-23
Oh Lord, do I need more of that self control.
This became abundantly clear when my wife came home and asked a couple simple questions, and I snapped back with some huffing and puffing. What?!
That is how a pastor talks to his wife? What?! That is how another human being shows the love of Christ?! #Ashamed
I recognized that the lack of eating during the day had taken a toll on my energy, which in turn stretched my emotional capacity and BOOM… there it was— my emotional beast was getting loose. #NoExcuse
Time to man-up, stay filled up, and take it to the enemy by unleashing God’s love with extreme measure. This love can not only contain the beast, but quiet and tame the beast.
If there is anyone else who knows what I am talking about, please let me know. As I write this, I can’t help but feel like it’s Black Friday and I just walked out of the fitting room at JC Penney with no clothes on and the world is gawking. So I’d love to know that there are some others wandering the racks naked too.
If you are like me, this message might help you “Overthrow” that furious beast!
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