Would you rather be slapped or kissed? That is not a trick question. It is a question about what type of relationships do you want? Do you want people who actually care about you? Or do you want people in your life who are seemingly nice but really do not care about you and are only in it for what they can get? We need to ask ourselves, what kind of person are we? Do we genuinely care for others? Or are we just nice to people for the purpose of what we can get from them? Are our compliments genuine and sincere or are they filled with flattery for the purpose of manipulation? Sometimes the people who feel and sound safe are actually not. Sometimes the people who rub us the wrong way are actually better for us than the feel good flatterer who is really lying to us to try to manipulate us. Remember iron sharpens iron but never without friction. We need more friction and less flattery if we want to be sharp and on point.
“Let the righteous strike me; It shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; It shall be as excellent oil; Let my head not refuse it. For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked.” (Psalms 141:5 NKJV)
David is welcoming the correction of the righteous. I would rather be slapped by the righteous than stroked by the self seeking. What about you? Do you want real relationships where people love you enough to be honest with you? Learning to respond to correction is essential for our personal growth. People who can’t hear correction position themselves for deception. Someone who is humble has the ability to hear hard things that others would want to avoid, deny or make excuses about.
“Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (Proverbs 27:5-6 NKJV)
Open rebuke is more beneficial than a deceitful kiss. It’s better to be slapped or wounded by a friend than kissed by an enemy. We need to have courage to develop relationships where there is enough trust for us to be honest. It’s possible to be honest and honorable. The goal is to be able to slap someone with truth and it feel like kindness to them.
“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” (James 1:13-14 NKJV) Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted of the devil, see Matthew 4 & Luke 4. Jesus had no desires to draw him away into temptation so the Holy Spirit led him to be tempted. Fasting looses the bonds of wickedness, Jesus had none so when he fasted the devil showed up. Where Israel as a nation failed in the wilderness, Jesus their Messiah would not.
When Satan began to speak to Jesus he didn’t introduce himself. Just know when satan speaks to you he won’t introduce himself. Satan questioned Jesus’ identity and spoke to his greatest area of vulnerability. Satan tried to get Jesus to turn stones to bread. The enemy is always trying to get us to prove ourself by preforming for him. The enemy questioned Jesus’ sonship and spoke directly to the felt need of hunger that Jesus was experiencing. The enemy will try to question our identity and speak to our greatest place of vulnerability which is often a felt need. Very often Satan speaks to a felt need in our life, don’t listen to him he is a liar. Remember satan steals from us by lying to us. As believers we must follow Jesus’ example of submitting to God and resisting the devil. When we resist the enemy he will flee from us the same way he did from Jesus. The more we are rooted and grounded in the love of God and the truth of his word the less we will listen to the enemy. The more truth we possess the less temptation is actually tempting. The enemy tried to misuse scripture to make Jesus commit suicide from the church steeple. Suicide is completely satanic. Satan’s agenda is for him to get us to self destruct because he did. Your life has immense value, don’t even consider suicide or self destructive lifestyles. Don’t allow the enemy to misuse the Bible on you. Don’t worship Satan by trying to get what you are after the fast way. Satan wanted Jesus to worship him. In fact satan offered him the keys of the of the kingdom if he would just worship him. Jesus refused. We must refuse. Jesus came for those keys, but he had to die to purchase them. The enemy tries to get us to compromise so that we can get what we want the cheap and fast way. Please remember that there are no shortcuts in the kingdom of God. Jesus taught us to pray, “lead me not into temptation.” That petition to God is about us not desiring things that are destructive for us. My prayer for you is that you would not desire things that are destructive for you.
We all experience adversity in this life. Often it is how we respond to it that determines the environment we live in and the direction of our life. Adversity tests how much pressure we can actually take. “If you faint in the day of adversity, Your strength is small.” (Proverbs 24:10 NKJV) The level of our strength is determined by how we handle adversity. Do we handle adversity or does it manhandle us? As followers of Jesus our faith should govern our feelings. Jesus said to his disciples that, “we are going to the other side.” When adverse wind and waves came against the boat the disciples were afraid. Although his disciples were afraid Jesus was not afraid. Let’s make it personal. Just because we experience adversity doesn’t mean we have to be anxious. We must not allow adversity to give us anxiety. Scripture tell us “to be anxious for nothing.” When scripture tells us to do something we are then able to obey scripture through the help of the Holy Spirit. Jesus called the Holy Spirit the Helper. He did not come to help us to do our will. The Holy Spirit is here to help us to do God’s will. The Holy Spirit is in believers to help us to obey God’s word. When we obey God’s word we experience God’s power and provision. When others are anxious we can be peaceful. Peace is not the absence of adversity, peace is what we can release to bring change to the adversity that we may be facing. The gospel teaches us that peace was more powerful than the storm. God’s peace is more powerful than the enemy’s storm. Jesus could speak to the storm that he could sleep in. We can’t speak to a storm that we can’t sleep in it. If we can sleep in it we can speak to it. Jesus rebuked the disciples for having fear of something they had authority over. The issue was they didn’t know they had authority over the storm. When we lose our peace and give in to anxiety or fear we surrender our ability to bring kingdom influence to the adversity that we may be facing. Hold on to your peace, because you will need it especially in times of adversity.
How are your emotions? How you manage your emotions will determine the quality of your life. How you mange your emotions will determine how much people trust you. There is a direct connection between how you manage your feelings and how you manage your friendships. Many people are like a hard drive that is 98 % full and slowing down. When the hard drive is very close to full the computer is not only slower but it is also at risk of crashing. Crashing could mean that you loose what you have because you didn’t protect it well. Many people are one situation away from a meltdown. Your mind, will and emotions are limited in both strength and space. Keeping a clear conscience is not just about admitting when you are wrong or confessing sin, its also about managing your emotions. If you don’t manage your emotions you may have a meltdown. The same way if you don’t make space on the hard drive and just keep saving stuff your computer may eventually crash. The end result of not managing emotions could even be murder or suicide, so this is a very serious thing. Your emotional health is determined by what you internalize and what you externalize. Here is a model I have used especially during hard times.
What to Internalize and what to Externalize.
Internalize – think about and focus on.
- What God says in his word (the Bible) and by his Holy Spirit.
- What God does. (The Testimonies of the Lord)
- Success. (What I have learned from what I did right)
- The lessons I have learned and why? (What I learned from my failures)
- Good advice I have received from wise counselors.
Externalize – write them down on paper until you are done processing what was presented to you.
We should write down what we internalize as well. The reason I am saying to write down what you are externalizing is so that your problems don’t occupy precious and priceless space in your soul. I hope this helps you process what emotions you are feeling. Remember, emotions make a great servant but a terrible master.
God is not in control and he doesn’t want to be in control. If God wanted to be in control, he would be in control. Who is going to stop him? Who has the power to stop the all-powerful? His power is manifested in that he doesn’t want to be in control. Only weak insecure people want to be in control of others. People who are motivated by fear, lust, pride and greed those are the type of people who want to be in control of others. Powerful people let other people choose their own path; they let others determine their own destiny. In fact the more powerful someone is the less they want to be in control. God is the creator and the sustainer of all things. Jesus is both the Savior and the Judge of all of humanity. I believe in the Deity of Jesus and the Supremacy of Christ. I believe in the Sovereignty of God. I believe God is all-powerful, all knowing and omnipresent. God is clearly in charge, but not in control. If God wanted to be in control he would not have given you a free will. God created all of the animals and then waited for Adam to name them. Does that sound like someone who wanted to be in control? God is a loving Father, a benevolent King, and righteous Judge, but he is not a cosmic control freak. But what about all the evil in the world? Glad you asked. The news doesn’t show us the absence of God; it shows us the presence of the devil. The devil commits a crime and then puts God’s fingerprints on the scene. Don’t believe the lies. God is clearly revealed in Jesus. Jesus died for us while we were still sinners. Does that sound like someone who wants to condemn or control you? Jesus died for everyone, everywhere through out all ages, but we have to choose to believe him. He invites us to follow him. He doesn’t control or manipulate us; he simply invites us to follow him. Will you follow Jesus? You are valuable, you cost him everything. You may be saying, “but I am an atheist I don’t believe in God”, well he believes in you. He loves you and he is pursuing you. No matter who you are or what you have done here is what Jesus is saying to you, “Come to me.”