"Love is Not Irritable"
"Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city."
People who are irritable are locked, loaded, and ready to overreact which brings us to that point-one of those factors being stress. But overreaction is spelled s-t-r-e-s-s! Right? So does that give us an "easy out"? Since we're under stress we can justify being irritable??
Not so fast - as that there are different kinds of stress that can bring on crankiness (is that a better word for it?). The bottom line is you want to encourage yourself to put margin into your schedule so you can better prioritize yourselves with your wife. The other factor is selfishness. That pesky word keeps coming up!! When you're irritable, the heart of the problem is primarily a problem of the heart ... Being easily angered is an indicator that a hidden area of selfishness or insecurity is present where love is supposed to rule. Selfishness can show itself as lust, bitterness, greed, and pride. These motivations can never be satisfied. But when love enters your heart, it calms you down and inspires you to quit focusing on yourself. It loosens your grasp and helps you let go of unnecessary things. Here are some questions for you to evaluate: What are you doing with the down time that you do have? Are you using it to build a loving marital relationship with constructive efforts at communication and responsible actions? Or are you wasting that time, perhaps ignoring good chances for communication with your wife or choosing irresponsible behavior? (2) Selfishness - make a list of any wrong motives that you need to release - those things that are underlying selfish behavior (lust, bitterness, greed, pride)
Here's another challenge for the day: (1) Make a list of things you can do to improve your use of any quiet moments you might have. (2) Pick a time when you have recently overreacted. What was the real motivation behind that? What one thing could you do to take a step away from selfishness and towards forgiveness, gratitude, or contentment?
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:1-3)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6, 7)
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31, 32)
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:10)
All a man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD. (Proverbs 16:2)
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
The Apostle Paul calls each of us to the same commitment in today's passage from the twelfth chapter of Romans. He exhorts all believers "present your bodies a living sacrifice" in an act of worship to God. When we recognize that all that we are and every part of our lives belong to Him, we begin living God's way. Our part is to understand that we are stewards of what He has entrusted us with. Every dream, every spiritual, emotional, and material resource, must be presented to Him as a daily act of surrender and worship. As you consider your part in this Journey, allow God to show you how He would have you fully surrender your life to him.
Prayer: Father, I come into Your presence today acknowledging that it's all Yours. Everything I have, everything I am or ever hope to be, belongs to You. I joyfully surrender my life to You today and ask that You would use me for Your glory. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Matthew 16:24-25 ... What are some specific ways you must deny yourself and carry your cross on this journey? What does carrying your cross really symbolize at this time? Are there days when the weight of it seems too much to bear?