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We are believing that there is a possibility for us to Thrive based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Do you think you could be spiritually mature and emotionally immature?
Or maybe this is a better question:
How emotionally mature are you? (meaning you are fully aware of your emotions. Why they are present and where to go in the future)
How spiritually mature are you?
Most believers have heard of the 9 Spiritual Gifts from God: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and self-control.
Here is what those mean, and I as I read down this list I want you to think about how deeply you walk and live in these gifts: Affection for Others, Exuberance about life, serenity, A willingness to stick with things, A sense of compassion in the heart, a conviction that basic holiness permeates things and people, involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
Hhhhhhmmmmm. Where are we on these? The bible is quite clear that these characteristics are A gift from God, through the power of His Holy Spirit. Instead of walking in these gifts, we often find ourselves subconsciously dividing our lives into secular and sacred compartments.
Today we are basically talking about one thing:
Knowing yourself helps you get to know God. Awareness of yourself and your relationship with God are intricately related.
Ephesian 4: 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
YES! At church I feel like doing that. I after I prayed at the altar I feel like doing that. After Lacy just sang my favorite song, I feel like doing that. After I just got through reading scripture in my favorite recliner with a nice cup of coffee, I feel like doing that.
But, then there seems to be a separation. There seems to be a chasm between those sweet moments and the real tug-of-war, the daily grind of life.
Most of us are taught as Christians that our feelings are unreliable and can not be trusted. However, let me propose this to you…I know that feelings often feel random and not very nice, but at the same time, our emotions are the language that we feel and experience the love of God as well! We love emotions when they are positive.
When they are negative, we believe they are from the devil, and maybe they are influenced by the evil one. Researchers have narrowed emotions down into 8 types: anger, sadness, fear, enjoyment, love, surprise, disgust, and shame
Remember our message today: Knowing yourself helps you get to know God. Awareness of yourself and your relationship with God are intricately related.
We often think as Christians that we do not have permission to consider our emotions. MEN – Christian or not – often don’t believe they are supposed to feel certain emotions.
There are three that are commonly not dealt with: Fear, sadness, and anger are often suppressed and or ignored by believers. When these come up, we think, “NO! I can’t have that emotion! Something is wrong!” Then, we either start saying “No, I won’t accept this emotion! God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of love, joy, and a sound mind. YEAH! YEAH! That…is…true…??” Then, if our little pep rally doesn’t work or the situation gets bigger, we are confused. I am a Christian and I am starting to feel this emotion. I am afraid, I don’t feel love. I don’t feel joy, and I sure don’t have a sound mind, because I am fixing to kick someone in the rear!”
Pete Scazzero in his book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality says,
“When we deny our pain, loses and feelings year after year, we become less and less human. We transform slowly into empty shells with smiley faces painted on them. But when I begin to allow myself to feel a wider range of emotions, including sadness, depression, fear and anger, a revolution in my spirituality is unleashed.”
- God saw that it was good…very Good! Genesis 1
- He was grieved that he had made man on the earth Genesis 6
- God says that he is jealous Exodus 20:5
- Like a woman in childbirth, He said, “I cry out, I gasp and pant” Isaiah 42:14
- The fierce anger of the Lord will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart Jeremiah 30:24
- My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused Hosea 11:8
- Jesus was angry and deeply distressed Mark 3:5
- He was full of Joy Luke 10:21
- He was sorrowful and troubled…his soul was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death Matthew 26:37
Maybe getting to know our emotions better. Why they occur, why they impact us so deeply could give us a better picture of our savior and our path to true thorough healing that will last day in and day out.
I propose today that we stop neglecting our intense emotions. What could God be saying to me that I am missing when I ignore or suppress them? It is quite possible that when we stop for a moment and learn about our own emotional health that we could be allowing God to speak into those cracks and crevices of our well-being.
We actually have an obstacle in front of God and knowing him more intimately is restricted because of our own lack of self-awareness. We end up wearing a mask at church so that no one knows our true hurt inside. We wind up wearing a mask when we are alone in the car, believing that you have let God down or you are not a good Christian, you messed up the plan of Christianity and are sort of the black sheep of PromiseLand because everyone else seems to have it all together, but what you don’t realize is that there are a lot of those people that you think have it all together and they simply have their mask on too.
Let’s take off the mask and simply tell each other…I need help.
I am mad.
I am afraid.
I am lonely.
I am a wreck. I know that I am a leader here at the church, but I need some prayer.
Allow yourself to experience the full weight of your feelings. Allow them without censoring them. Then you can reflect and thoughtfully decide what to do with them. Trust God to come to you through them!
Satan’s greatest temptation for us is to believe a false sense of self. When you study the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness in Luke chapter 4, you see 3 core identity challenges.
Keep in mind, this series of temptation from the devil occurs right after Jesus was baptized and the Bible says we hear from the heavenlies, “This is my son in whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
In other words, “You are loveable. You are good. It is so good that you exist.”
- Temptation 1: I am what I do (performance) – “If you are the son of God, turn these stones into bread.” Do something to prove yourself. Our culture keeps asking you: What have you done lately? What have you accomplished this month? That success you had was good and all, but what have you done since then? Earthly success (when it actually happens) tempts us to find our worth and value outside of God’s inexhaustible free love for us in Christ.
- Temptation 2: I am what I have (Possession) – The devil compared what Jesus had to everyone else. You have nothing. You need more. Our culture tells us that our possessions and talents and applause from other people are sufficient for security. Jesus models that surrendering to the love of God is the only true anchor for our identity.
- Temptation 3: I am what others think (popularity) – the devil tempted Jesus to throw himself down to prove himself to others.
- Pay attention to Your Interior in Silence and Solitude – get alone and unplug. Quit talking. Be in silence.
- Find Trusted Companions – Small Groups launch today!
- Pray for Courage