The Lord taught me a very humbling lesson tonight. I was at the home office I built in my room where I study when my neighbors started playing really loud, disruptive music. This was not the first time they’ve done this nor was it the 5th time. This is a problem I’ve dealt with constantly for the last six months. Today, however, I remembered that my brother gave me some speakers when I went home for the Christmas period. I searched for those speakers, connected them to the bluetooth on my phone, and starting playing Nigerian Christian praise songs on the highest volume my speakers can reach. Here I was, trying to study but being distracted by the music, and now I’ve added to the noise with my own music. I couldn’t study and at the same time, my spirit did not feel right. Part of my heart knew I was not responding to this situation right because I knew the only reason I was blasting my music was because I was angry. In a way, I felt I was disrespecting God because I was playing praise songs with an angry heart to “get back” at someone instead of to give God glory. The Holy Spirit instantly convicted me. I looked at the time and noticed that it was time for me to have my evening devotion. I’ve set a specific time of the day where no matter what I am doing, I stop to spend time in the presence of God. I knew then and there that God needed to speak to me so I stopped the music and said this prayer: ” Lord, please forgive me for not seeking Your face concerning this situation. Father, please teach me how to handle it in Jesus’ Name. Amen”. The Holy Spirit directed me to the following passage:
“Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say? This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with His finger on the ground as though He did not hear.” John 8: 5-6 (NKJV)
The background of this story is that the pharisees caught a woman in the act of adultery so they brought the woman to Jesus to see if Jesus was going to give them permission to stone the lady according to the law. What God emphasized to me was the fact that these pharisees only did this to test Jesus that they may have something against Him they can later use to discredit His entire ministry! This had absolutely nothing to do with the adulterous women! This where the Holy Spirit began to teach me. The Holy Scriptures remind us over and over that we are in this world, but we are not of this world. God expects us to handle situations differently than those that are in the world and He has this expectations of us because the way we live reflects not just our character, but our entire witness of the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! People are watching to see if we, as Christians, really believe what we preach. The world is waiting for any little opportunity for you fail so that they can capitalize on the situation to dismiss the Gospel! You, like Christ, are being tested! So, how do we handle these situations?
1. Hold Your Peace
“Jesus bent down and wrote with His fingers on the ground as though He did not hear.”-John 8:6b
The very first action Jesus took in the above Scripture was that He did nothing! As a matter of fact, Jesus blatantly ignored the question and the presence of the pharisees. You may feel that you have to react immediately, but God is telling you,” Be still and know that I am God!”. God doesn’t need us defending ourselves. When we submit to His Will, He has a track record of using the enemy to destroy themselves. In the period in which Christ was silent, the pharisees became restless and when Jesus finally responded, none of them were able to counter His question. The very people that came to find fault in the women and destroy the ministry of Christ, dropped their stones and walked away. “When a man’s ways please the LORD, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”-Proverbs16:7
2. You Have the Right to Be Angry, Not to Sin
“In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are angry.”-Ephesians 4:26
God created the emotion of anger, but He does not want us being controlled by it. There are many passages in the Bible of God warning His children not to be hot tempered because the results of uncontrollable anger is sin. “For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God”-James 1:20. We are flesh and blood, created with hormones and stressors therefore we are bound at one point or the other to be ticked-off; however, the moment we surrendered to Jesus and took on the image of Christ, we are to be dead to the flesh and this includes putting every aspect of our lives, including our emotions, under subjection. We are told that, “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city”-Proverbs16:32. You must rule over your own spirit! Do not be moved by emotions to do something un-Christ-like. “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls”-Proverbs25:28
3. Understand That’s It’s NOT About You
“For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshy wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.”-2 Corinthians 1:12
The entire purpose of our testing is to rubbish our witness of Jesus Christ. Paul’s testimony in the above Scripture is that after it was all said and done, they conducted themselves with godly sincerity. They did not contradict the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul understood that his life was a ministry and so are our lives. People may never read the Bible but they will read you, check your instagram and Facebook accounts, follow you on twitter along with walking side-by-side with you on the street. Your job is to ensure that you do not give someone a reason to doubt the Gospel of Truth. A prayer I always find myself praying is this: Lord may I never be the reason someone doesn’t come to know You. The way we conduct ourselves has the ability to either attract someone to the Truth, which is Jesus Christ, or push them further away. I remember reading a story about a pastor that moved to a third world country to start a church. When he wasn’t preaching, he drove the city bus. One day a man entered the bus and gave the pastor $1 for a $0.50 bus ride and then went to his seat. The pastor/bus driver realized that the man did not received his 50 cent change and throughout the bus ride, this pastor contemplated on whether or not to give this man that change. When the man got to his stop and was about to exist, the Holy Spirit convicted the pastor and he handed the man his change. The man now turned and said to the pastor, ” are you not the new pastor of the church?”. The pastor answered, “I am.” The men then proceeded to tell the pastor that he purposefully left the 50 cent change and wanted to see if the man was an honest man and if he was different from all the other preachers that have come to town preaching one thing, yet practicing another. Because the pastor was honest in giving back the change, the man said, “I will see you at church on Sunday.” At this moment the pastor began to weep and he cried out to God, “God! I almost sold your son for 50 cents!”
The purpose of the story is to illustrate that, as Christians, what we do and how we conduct ourselves matters! “For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”- 2 Corinthians2: 15. That scripture just reiterates the fact that is never about us. As a Christian, your life is literally showing other people that there is a God that can save them! What does your Christian life smell like? Do you give off the sweet fragrance of God’s mercy and grace or is the foul odor of anger choking those around you and distracting them from Christ? Anger, if not controlled, is a quick way to ruin that witness because once we are angry, we leave no room for the Holy Spirit to step in and work through us. It may sound like this is being too dramatic and emotions cannot cause that much damage, but the Bible tells us, “Give no opportunity to the devil”- Ephesians 4:27. My anger over loud music almost gave opportunity to the devil, but I thank God for the Holy Spirit that quickly convicted me. When I finished my devotion, my neighbors had stopped playing their music and I simply said a thank you prayer. I understand that they will do this again, but I thank God that next time, my reaction will be different. It is my prayer that God will help us all manage our emotions and He will show us the bigger picture. It is not about us.
With Love ♥
“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense”- Proverbs 19:11