Week 2: Internal Relational Skills
DAY 9: God’s Purpose for Emotions: His path to Maturity
Yesterday, we looked at how to pay attention to our emotions when we feel a certain way because someone has hurt us through abuse, betrayal, neglect, unkindness and the like and our hearts need healed. I shared how important it is not to ignore these emotions because much of the time they get worse. However, if we take them to God, He has promised healing, comfort, wisdom, and protection and will walk us through these difficulties.
Today, I would like to look at how paying attention to our emotions can facilitate the refining process toward being more mature. Our Thrive ministry teaches that it is God’s job to provide salvation and redemption, but it is our job to mature. We get to choose whether we are going to embrace learning, refinement, and discipline or whether we are going to reject it. Human nature is such that we don’t want things that are difficult, painful, or exposing. Our pride or fear keeps us from looking at ourselves in humility so we instead blame or take cover. James tells us to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James. 1:2-4) Your emotions can be pretty intense when you face “many trials”. Sometimes, when you turn to God in these emotions as I encouraged yesterday and you get to the part where you are asking His perspective on the matter, He is, shock of all shock, going to be speaking to you about YOU! We, in our pride and in our freedom to choose, can reject this revelation. However, it would be important to know that you would also be rejecting the latter benefit: being mature, complete, and lacking nothing! I like the sound of being mature and complete. I especially like the idea of lacking nothing! If you do as well, then we have to do our part by submitting to His refining process. Sometimes he is going to let us know we are being prideful, impatient, or selfish and need to lay those things down and reverse course if we want to be more like Him. Other times, He is going to affirm our thoughts that someone else in our life is making a mistake, but He may still ask us to step up to a more mature response. He told us to love our enemies, so don’t be surprised if He asks you to do nothing about the infraction (when everything in you wants to fix or confront the person for how they are hurting you). He may ask you to do something that the person doesn’t deserve simply to illustrate His love, grace and mercy! This is a sure example of a person who is letting God lead instead of letting his or her emotions lead. Do you know what is really cool, though? Even though you have the initial difficult emotions to press through, you get to a place where not as much in this world really rocks you because HE is your ROCK! This is the fruit of His promise in becoming more mature, complete, and lacking nothing!
Take your emotions to Him. Let Him direct whether you need healed, matured, or both! Press through the difficulties with and in Him and experience His freedom as you gain more wholeness and fullness! As you do this, you actually end up becoming like Him as His Word promises. Isn’t it interesting that the very thing most of us avoid, is the very Refiner’s fire that perfects us as He is perfect. (Mt. 5:48) This command is in the context of loving your enemies. Consider changing your view on how you look at difficulties in your relationships. Look at them as opportunities to become like Jesus!
Declare over yourself, “I am a person who is willing to press through difficult relational circumstances to attain every good thing God promises to those who endure and persevere. I am not of the shrinking back kind! I look at every difficulty as an opportunity to look like the glorious God I serve!”
Author of this post: Melanie Connell