Being a slave to our feelings is being in the palm of Satan's hand. He is in control of how the world does things.
We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. I John 5:19 NIV
By manipulating circumstances, he can rule us, if he knows what will bring out our anxiety, our fear, our weakness, frustration, or whatever sends us to a 10 on the emotional scale. One of the things we then try to do is to take control of those circumstances. We will do one of two things: Flight or Fight
1. Avoid the circumstances and make for ourselves a life of survival codes. Do this, don't do that... It's called Flight.
2. Confront the circumstances head on, usually with all the emotion we can muster. Ever had a day you just flew at the circumstances with cussing on the mind...ever knew anyone who attacked all their circumstances with cussing on more than their mind? LOL Sure. It's called Fight.
Now, I don't wish to address that much except to say that either stage you might be in would be dangerous and unproductive if ruled by your emotions. I most often fall into the Flight one, because I have a hard time forgiving myself for falling into the Fight mode. So do I seek God's control in my life to avoid being in one of these escape modes? Sometimes its a habit we all fall into. Let Satan take us to Fight or Flight before we seek God in our circumstances. Bad reason to call out to God, but better than staying in Satan's trap.
But when I stop and think that I am still under Satan's thumb when I am letting him manipulate me to fall into either category... I realize that what I really need is to seek God to take control before I react. That isn't easy to do when emotions get in our way. Satan is tricky, and he knows when to push our buttons. But Satan is not the only one. People closest to us, or bosses, or any number of people will push our buttons just to see us react. Manipulation is a powerful tool.
The balance word for letting God take control is Self-control. Now hold on before your react...Scripture is composed of verses that say we should teach self-control. So what is self-control? It is the act of asking ourselves where our actions will take us, and deciding to act in a way that defeats Satan. At first it takes some practice. But eventually you can almost hear the Spirit say, "this is leading up to making a choice." The choice we are admonishing you and asking ourselves to make is the one that chooses to give God full control of our circumstances and maintain self-control in the process. Neither I nor scripture presume that it is possible to have self-control without the power of the Holy Spirit.
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life... For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. I Peter1:3-8
Self -control is a means of giving God full control.
You might say, I can control myself. Well, think about it. What gives you self-control. The ability to put a pause before acting out of emotions. That doesn't happen over night or by itself. It takes a kind of wisdom, a self talk kind of attitude. Under stress, we often desert that mentality, and what I want in my life is for the Holy Spirit to make the pause. I want HIM to be the one screaming in my head, not me screaming at my circumstances. I totally love when the HOLY SPIRIT screams. He does it so well. He screams out scripture, or a thought like: "God can take care of this!" And the louder he is in my head, the more I love it. Sometimes, he uses someone else to say it to me. A facebook note, a friend who says sweetly, "are you sure?" Or a pastor's daily devotion.
Being wrapped in the wisdom of God, and finding that the best kind of self-control is being able to hear God's voice before reacting out of emotions requires commitment. Now on the cusp of it, it sounds just like another form of controling things. Just another excuse to tuck things in life safely into a box. Once again, it is one of the opposites of God's unique perspectives, over that of the world. And shouldn't it be? Remember where we started? Satan is in control of the world's perspectives. Giving our circumstances, our issues, our emotions and all of lifes burdens and joys into the hands of God for him to control brings us in line with creation and has benefits:
1. Satan loses control.
2. Our emotions do not control us.
3. The manipulations of others can not truly control us. (Though Satan goes out of his way to make it seem that way sometimes.)
4. We gain self-control.
I once lost a job, because I wanted to help out. A late order came into our warehouse, and many of the workers had gone home. I came in on the last cart from deep in the warehouse, since we were the last to be picked up, and there was a commotion about who could pull the order. I offered to help, and joined a supervisor and one other, to pull the order. Next morning, I was met at the door and told to report to the office; I was relieved of my job. I was so sick I could have thrown up. My head was spinning and I wondered was the former night"s request a test..for we had often been told to always clock out by a certain time. Of course I had failed to do that by helping get the order out, but I was so sure it was an important order. I was so confused, and hurt and I wanted to run away. But instead I prayed, I really don't understand this Lord, what choice could I have made? If I have done wrong I accept that I am losing my job, but if I have done no wrong, please help me. But whatever, you are in control.
My mind raced to whether God wanted me back at home with my little girl who begged me not to go to work. I imagined that I could go to the office and demand to know why they would trick me in this way." No, God...whatever..you are in control. Holy Spirit help me not to blow up here..Please be in control."
Soon, someone who had influence with the owner came to me and began to ask. "Did you pull that load alone?" "No, I went out with the supervisor and her daughter." "Her daughter?" she asked. "She helped pull the load?"
She went on to explain to me that this client was so very strict and that all items pulled had to be perfect. I acknowleged that I was told that, and that I had double checked my load even after pulling it. My entire side of the cart was perfect. In addition, I counted on the supervisor to notify me if I had infact failed the load inspection, at the time it was pulled. She was in fact right there. "This all makes sense now," she said. You wait right here she said, and don't under any circumstances go home. I just stood there in front of all my fellow employees doing all I could to not cry, shaking and confused, and afraid.
After what seemed like an eternity, she returned, and said they have rehired you with a special note in your files of how well you handled the situation. "Was this a test?" I asked. "No, but it managed to prove who you are to management. They won't mistrust you ever again." Of course, these aren't her exact words, but how I remember her comforting me.
As it turned out, the error was in the supervisor's daughter not understanding what a perfect load should be. But more was going on than that. The supervisor herself had imagined I was after her job. She didn't care if the load was bad, because she could blame me, and I would lose my job, or at least lose the ablility to challenge for her position. I was the last person she wanted to help pull a perfect load. Wow, how Satan can confuse things.
What was the result of waiting on the Lord to have control. Well, because He was in control - I was placed on a special team that was given jobs that required you really care about quality, and timeliness. I found out about the worry the supervisor had and was able to talk to her about her concerns, assurring her I didn't want her job, and that I was sure it was secure because not too many people wanted that responsiblity. Especially after the failled load, which showed us all how much we needed to respect the pressure she was under to catch our mistakes. As a result, we became good friends and had many opportunities to back each other up and improve communication. Making her job a little easier. I learned I didn't have to try so hard to please everyone, and there are people who will back you up if they are truly good in heart and able to hear the Spirit too. I eventually actually did the wedding of the daughter who had pulled bad product unknowingly,years later, becasue there was no reason to hold her responsible for trying to help us. She too was only trying to be kind, and Satan manipulated the circumstances to cause a problem. I recently saw my supervisor and the sweet intercessor at the funeral of my father -in-law. Because, God helped us as a family include them among our friends.
When life is out of control, God brings that example up to me these days. Seeing them again at his funeral was so appropriate. Funerals are one of the times when we feel the most helpless, and sometimes hurt that God being in control means that people also might die. We always want him to heal and make whole, but in God's eyes, life isn't wrapped up in only what happens on earth. When we are saved life starts, and is eternal. And when death is a part of life on earth we can "feel betrayed, helpless, confused, hurt, etc. etc." It even seems that God wasn't really in control. But in death is when Christ's power over Satan is best. It is when our belief that the cross and ressurrection, the essence of our faith, holds power and is the most critical. Having those two ladies there, reminded me, that no matter what... it is always best to have enough self-control to pause and say: "Dear God, not my will but thine." Even as Christ our example did. In the best of times, in the worst of times. In the crunch and in spite of our emotions...practicing the ability to pause, and let God take full control.
BTW - Once God is in control, and HE directs you to take flight or go in and fight, your self-control is now under his direction to act the way he designed you. Follow his lead, and let nothing or no one deter you. Sometimes people misread that attitude as being controling, but you will know the difference. Don't be confused about when taking control in Jesus name is different than letting your emotions and human characteristics be in control. BIG DIFFERENCE.
Father, take someone's situation today, and prove yourself to them when they ask for you to take control. Make a lasting impression of how you are able to turn the worlds scariest moments into good. Help them understand that you really want to work all things for their good.AMEN