As we are spending time as a church seeking to understand the amazing gift of God’s grace, I am convicted that we don’t often live in the fullness of that gift. Even more specifically, the gift of God’s grace super-abounds in us through the presence of the Holy Spirit which energizes, empowers us to live in a newness of live and service to our Redeemer King. (Rom 7:6)
But just stop and consider our common conversation and let’s see if what we say reflects this reality of new life empowered by the Spirit.
How many times have we been in a situation or encountered a difficult person and said, “When they did that…it made me so mad!”
Or how about the circumstances of our job or family life or finances and we say, “This is just overwhelming me. It is stressing me out!”
But here is the deal…No one can make you mad. There is no situation or circumstance that has power over you to cause stress. Here’s how I know this is true. The Bible says that anger and anxiety as we have described them here are sins. (Eph 4:26, Col 3:8, James 1:20, Phil 4:6, Luke 21:34) And as a Christian, since these are sins, they do not possess the power to control you. (Rom 6:14)
The only way these sins can control you is if you let them reign. (Rom 6:12) Therefore, no one can make you made. There is no situation or circumstance that can stress you out…unless you allow it to. You have to give that person or that circumstance permission to control you. Based on your decision to follow Christ, sin’s power has been broken and it cannot control you…unless you invite it to do so.
So next time you hear yourself say, “She made me so angry.” OR “That really stresses me out.”, remind yourself: they didn’t make you do anything. You did that to yourself. And because the Spirit of God lives in you, it does not have to be that way. His power, when you submit instead to Him, is sufficient to bear a different kind of fruit.
Instead of being controlled by anger, be controlled by love. Instead of being controlled by sadness, be controlled by joy. Instead of anxiety, peace and patience. Let kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control rule and reign in your life. It is life in the Spirit made possible by His grace through faith. (Gal 5:22-23)