Scripture: Phillipians 2:5-11
There are days where I really don’t want to deal with people. This is kindof a problem since I am a bivocational pastor and work in retail. Dealing with people is pretty much all I do. I am human though, as every pastor is even the ones we listen to on the radio. I get angry, irritated, and annoyed. Well this week I have been all thoughs things. This affects pretty nuch my whole life, because I live in a proverbial glass house. If I vent my feeling about a person’s actions my coworkers look at me in shock. This usually makes me laugh, but sometimes they just make it worse
We are emotional beings. To deny our emotions would be like denying that we breath air. We buy sports cars and hybrids not out of the practicality of them, but out of our emotion. (If you own a hybrid I’m sorry, I don’t mean to offend but to me it isn’t practical…but I’m broke so I can’t afford new car.) We buy houses because they make us feel something. We get angry because someone, including ourselves, sparked our emotional side. Even the people we consider emotionless are filled with emotions they just tend to bury them.
In many Christian disiplines we try to deny the emotional aspect of our lives. We do this for very logical reasons, mainly because living on emotions can empty our pocketboks very quickly. To deny emotions can be detrimental to our spiritual lives, so we must be careful. The key is to look at our emotions through the light of God. Why am I irritated? If I were to consider this for myself right now, I would have to say that the source of my irritation began from me feeling disrespected or unappriciated. This snowballed as. I was give more work than I can handle. So basically I am feeling sorry for myself because I am stressed out. I know you should cry with me.
I bring this up because our spirtual lives are similar. We get into funks where we just don’t feel that spiritual. Many mystics call these times a dark night of the soul or the cloud of unknowing. These are stressful times for our spirtual lives just like the emotions of life can cause stress in our social lives. In these times we beging to question our faith in some way. We may feel it is pointless so we stop praying, stop meditating on scripture, we may even start engaging in things we normally wouldn’t engage in. In short we fall into a life of sin, or a life that distracts us from God. The flip side is we may think we need more prayer, more scripture, less entertainment or interaction with others. We don’t know why we feel unspiritual. For me it is important to take a moment to just consider this for a bit and see if you are the cause or if mabe God is just being silent for a bit.
Our emotions do play a role in our spiritual life. I’m irritated I don’t feel like praying, so I run a risk of neglecting a very important relationship. In this case, my emotionas are distracting me from God. What is the cure for my emotional heart? We it is the very thing I don’t want to do, pray.
In my irritation and self-pity I realize that Jesus was disrespected, left with a big job without much help and face pretty much everything I am feeling right now. The difference is what He does. He knows who He is and what He can do. We do not know all that He is. I feel disrespected because thoe around me may not value the same things I do, this makes me feel like they do not care about me. This leads me to make asumptions about them and myself that may not be truth. Jesus is equal with God, my understanding of this is that he is of the same essense of God, or God. He values the things of God but He chose to live among humans like me. And humans aren’t the same as God, we don’t always value the things of God. I’m sure this annoyed Jesus at various times.
This did not distract Him from His mission. He came to bring redemption to mankind. He remained obedient to this mission no matter what the sitation brought. I sit here considering my owe life and I realize that Jesus remained true even through His stress. This bring hope becase in Him I have acceptance, and friendship. I realize that even though I’m irritated I can extend the same grace Christ has for me to others. Sudenly I don’t feel quite so bad. I do not have to draw my acceptance from others because I have God on my side.
Funny thing though, I complain about not being respected at work yet this was not true at all, in fact some at my place of employment have great respect and actually recomended me to other positions. In my self pity I nearly lost an oppertunity. So I encourage you in your own dark times, don’t lose heart, keep going and just examine your life to see if maybe there is something that maybe causing the darkness. If you don’t find anything don’t give up because God loves you. Focus on that love, remind yourself of that love, and stay on the journey.