Last evening when I was speaking with a group of women at Mothers of Preschoolers about my book I talked a little bit about jealousy, fear and anger. At the end of my presentation I shared with the women one of the poems/prayers from my book. I told them I had written it after meditating about Jesus’ experience on the cross. We often talk about the cross in terms of the forgiveness that he granted, or the peace he gave, or the fact that he remained mute when most other people might have been cursing and fighting and I was inspired to say “rarely do we talk about Jesus’ behavior on the cross as one of incredible self-control, self-discipline.”
I think that’s true – when things are happening to us that are less than comfortable, that are acts of injustice, our actions often become out of control. In counseling a person is often told that at thr bottom of our out-of-control emotions and actions lurks the mighty emotion of fear. Fear itself is a strong emotion, strong enough to stop good people from doing good things. Fear can send a person into a frenzy of jealousy and anger. So when you are feeling angry or jealous it’s good to stop and ask yourself what are you afraid of?
We fear many things in our lifetimes, we fear the dark, we fear change, we fear death, sometimes children say they can’t wait to grow up and as they start approaching adulthood they fear growing up, we fear getting old, we fear failing a test, we fear too much success, we fear marriage, we fear divorce, we fear new jobs and the loss of current jobs, we fear parenting, we fear sometimes it seems all of life itself.
There are many verses in the Bible that speak to us about this weakness we have in fear . . . One that stands out in my mind today is the ones that tell us when we are weak, God is strong and that God is glorified in our weakness. Before Jesus died he prayed that God would glorify himself in Jesus. We think of the miracles that Jesus performed as glorious, and wonderful they are . . . but God’s glorification isn’t always or only found in powerfully miraculous actions. In fact, perhaps, it is most found in the self-discipline and control that His people exert in times of extreme stress and pressure.
One of the things we receive when receive the Holy Spirit, given to everyone who asks, is a spirit, not of timidity, but of self-control. In this world that sometimes seems to be in a state of chaotic unrest, perhaps we could be praying for a spirit of self-control and discipline to be poured out upon everyone. What do you think?