Monthly Archives: April 2014

We Are His Workmanship

 

Peninsula Community Church

April 27, 2014

Body, Soul & Spirit

Ephesians 2:4-10 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Over the last several weeks, we have focused on the subject of the body, soul, and spirit. While we have come to the conclusion of this series, we have not come to the conclusion of God’s work in our life. During this time, we have covered much territory and yet there is so much more territory left unexplored. As in any series or study, it is impossible to cover all of the material or to exhaust the subject in the few minutes we have on a Sunday. It is for that reason, I encourage you and challenge you to continue to study this subject to fully understand God’s will for you. 

In our text this morning, we see that Paul makes an amazing claim. Paul states that we are His workmanship. The term “workmanship” is a term that denotes “a thing of His making.” As we have noted on a number of occasions during this study, we have been created in the image and likeness of God. We have a physical body. We have a soul. We have a Spirit. And as such, we must never forget that we are His creation.

One of the things Michelle and I love to do on vacation or in our free time is to tour homes and museums that represent an earlier period of time in our nations history. On these tours, I am amazed with the quality of the craftsmanship used in building the homes and the quality of furniture placed in each home. As I observe the furniture, I realize that the carpenter chose the right wood, developed the right design, and used the proper finish. As we have toured so many different places, we have found both exotic furniture and we have found simple furniture. The point is the creator of the furniture started with a purpose and a plan in their mind for that particular piece of furniture. They knew in the beginning how the piece was to be used and where it would be used. 

Paul tells us in our text today that we are His workmanship. When we were created by God, He did so with a specific purpose and a specific plan in mind. You see when it comes to the craftsmanship of God, there is no junk. What He has created has been deemed as being good. How often during the six days of creation do we see God take a step back and proclaim that what He just accomplished was indeed good? In Genesis 1:31 we find that at the end of creation that …God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. This included the creation of man. What does this mean for us? It means that God did not cut any corners. It means we are created to be used by God for His glory. It means that we were purposed to be good and useful.

But lets be honest, we do not always feel like we are His masterpiece. But, how we feel does not determine the value we have or the purpose for our being created. While we have been created in God’s image, one of the outcomes experienced by way of man’s sin is that man’s purpose in life was distorted. Rather than viewing himself as God’s creation and as His masterpiece, he began to view himself as being lost and thrown onto the trash pile of rejection. Since man’s fall into sin, he has struggled with his identity, purpose, and role in life. While this is true, that was never God’s intent for us and it was not God’s intent for us to live that way. Through sin man became broken.

One of the things I love is to be around people who can take broken items and then have a vision to repair or repurpose them. That is one of the things I love about Michelle. She has the ability to take an old piece of furniture; and with a little sand paper, paint, and a few minor repairs and she is able to transform that old piece of broken down furniture into something useable again. Many times I have watched her repurpose things that have lost their luster and usefulness because they were broken or the outward beauty of the piece had been diminished. What is amazing is that the craftsman that build the piece never intended for the piece to end up on the trash heap. They intended it to be used according to its purpose. It is also amazing that at some point, someone had purchased the piece of furniture because they saw the beauty and/or the usefulness of the piece. As the years went by, the furniture lost its luster and purpose. Eventually, the furniture was discarded or stowed in a basement or closet because it was no longer needed or deemed to be useful.

Just like the furniture that was once a creation of its master craftsman, we too are God’s workmanship. We are His creation, but as we take this journey through life, we become damaged and transformed by the world’s thinking and the world’s ideals for life. We face difficulties and problems that tarnish us and that weaken our ability to achieve the purpose to which we were created. Our usefulness is doubted and we begin to believe that we are not a creation of God. We have lost some of the luster of being God’s creation. To top things off and to make things worse, we have an enemy that loves to take advantage of well timed opportunities to create an atmosphere where we begin to believe that we are not worthy of God’s grace, that we are no longer useful, and that our purposefulness in gone. While we might believe this and accept this as a reality, God is in the restoring business. He does not see us as discarded but He sees us in the purpose we have been called. By the way, this has nothing to do with age but a perception of who we are in Christ. You can be 25 and feel this way, or you can be 105 and have the same emotional and mental view. Regardless of how we feel, we have been created by God for a purpose.

There is a second element in this verse that must be considered. Paul stated that we were created for good works. We were not created just to look good. We were created for a purpose. We were not created by God for evil or wrong doing. We were created to accomplish great things for God. We were not created to float around and just enjoy life. We were created to produce fruit by our good works. We must understand that the works that are produced through us are in direct proportion to the status of our heart and our relationship with Christ. We have seen this through our study on this subject over the last couple of weeks. 

We are therefore motivated to good works out of obedience to His word and His will. During the ministry of Jesus, He focused His disciples on the role of bearing fruit in their life. Listen to Jesus’ own words. He stated I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. To fully understand this principle, we must recognize that the good works and the bearing of good fruit come not to have God’s favor or for Him to love us any more than He already does. Our works are a result of understanding what He commands us to do. In other words, we act out our good works in a mode of obedience to God’s work and to God’s will in our lives. This is one side to the the two sided coin.

The other side of the coin is that we are motivated to good works out of love for God and a desire to please Him. That is we do our good works because we are motivated by the love and the grace that God has bestowed upon us. Notice, again in our text this morning, that we have been raised in Christ because of His mercy and His love for us. We do our good deeds because of what God has already done. We do so because we want to honor Him and please Him with our lives. 

We are also motivated to do good works by the Holy Spirit. Paul in Romans 7:3 had this to say on this subject. Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. 

Here is a fact that you can take to the bank. If you walk in the spirit and seek to please God, the rewards we will be out of this world. He will form and shape you with His grace and power. Where we have been tarnished, we can be renewed by His grace. He will chisel away those areas of our heart and our life that must be removed in order for us to live wholly and holy. We must release ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit for this to happen.

A link to the video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QCkBL2DfVg

Copyright 2014, All Rights Reserved, Robert W. Odom

 

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Peninsula Community Church
Easter Sunday Message – He is Risen!
April 20, 2014

Mark 16:1-9 When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back— it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Today, you may be here to satisfy the person that invited you. You may be here because you are curious. You may be here because you have heard the stories of Easter and wanted to see if they are true. You may be here because this is the one or two times you attend church each year. Of course, there is the possibility that you may be here but you really don’t know why. I trust, however, that most of you are here because you have a desire to be here. Regardless of the reason that you came, we are so glad you are here. We are so pleased that you have joined us on this special day of celebration and joy.

As I begin this morning, let me ask you a question? What is the most amazing event you ever attended? As I was preparing for this message I was reminded of some of the events in my own life that have rocked my world. You see during the 57 years of my life, I have been blessed to enjoy some awesome events. I remember a fall day in October. The year was 1981. It was the day Michelle and I said our vows and made a commitment to love each other for life. What an awesome day that was. Three years later, I remember standing in the delivery room where our son, Josh, was born. I remember that he was crying and as I called his name, he turned to look at me and immediately stopped crying. Wow! What a day that was. Then, three years later our daughter, Katelynne, was born. I remember looking at that little girl with such great joy, hope, and love. I have been blessed to be apart of so many other significant events in my life as well. There have been special vacations, weddings, a tiger cruise with my son on the USS Boxer, sporting events, and more. In fact, there are so many events it would be impossible to review them all during our time this morning. The one common element in these events is that they were all so awesome that they left an inedible imprint on my mind. And yet, as awesome as these events were, the events of the week of passover so far surpass any personal event you or I could ever experience in this life.

As I think of Easter, I can’t help but think of Christmas. I am always so excited to celebrate the birth of Christ and enjoy the festivities that come with Christmas. But, as awesome as Christmas might be Easter is just as awesome if not more awesome in many ways. The Easter season is a bookend to the life that came into being on Christmas. While Christmas is critical in our understanding of God, without Easter the value of Christmas would be diminished. And, While the Virgin birth is critical to our understanding of who Christ is and what He came to do on the cross, it was the resurrection that sealed His mission and provided an avenue through which we could obtain all that has been done for us through Christ. G. Campbell Morgan wrote that “the resurrection was the most stupendous, supernatural miracle that the world has ever known. It supersedes everything else. Why, because if He is not risen from the dead then everything else collapses!”

As we look at Easter, we must acknowledge that we can send confusing messages about the value of the events of Easter. If we are not careful we can send mixed signals that can cloud the truth about the events. It is funny to me that we celebrate Easter by telling our children that the Easter Bunny, a large male rabbit is carrying around a basket full of colored eggs as if he hatched these eggs himself. I hope I don’t burst your bubble but rabbits don’t make nests nor do they lay eggs especially colored eggs! It’s enough to confuse adults much less children. It is interesting that in society that the Easter Bunny has taken the headlines away from Christ’s resurrection. For some, if not most people, even Christians, it is hard to put our arms the fact that Jesus rose from the grave.

But regardless of what we might think or believe the fact is, He did rise. He is risen! The tomb is empty. There is no one there. Why? It is because He rose on the third day. One of the problems we experience is that a part of our confusion lies in the fact that we focus on the wrong elements of the event. We can view the resurrection as a theology or a particular religious viewpoint, but to fully understand the resurrection, we must understand that the resurrection is not about a particular theological premise, or a religious construct, it is a person. Now don’t get me wrong, this does not mean that the resurrection is not a part of our theology; but if we only view the resurrection as theology, we have missed the focus of the event.

During the life of Jesus, we see that He stated that He was the resurrection and the life. He was not just going to be resurrected, He was the resurrection. In Him was life. Listen to the words of Jesus at the time of the death of Lazarus. Martha said to him, “I know that he (Lazarus) will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world. (John 11:20-27).

Jesus made this radical statement that He would not just rise again but that He represented the totality of what the resurrection was about. He fulfilled His promise that He would not be bound by death but that He would rise again. Thus, we find on that beautiful Easter morning that indeed He rose. You see by way of the resurrection, Christ did what no other individual had ever done. In the person of Christ, He overcame death, sin and the bondages of this world. Because of the resurrection, we have the right to these same outcomes for our lives. Through the resurrection, our faith in Christ, our hope for the future, our ability to live today, the possibility of overcoming all sin, and our trust in Christ’s sacrificial gift are all made real and attainable by way of the resurrection. We are indeed given the power to live because He lives today.

Listen to the words of Paul who confirms this in I Corinthians 15:13-20. But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

A second confusion is found in the fact that Easter can be an empty moment of time, if we only seek what is in the tomb. For some, the three days after Christ’s death on the cross and the moments immediately preceding the resurrection were a time of disappointment. You see there was no expectation of the resurrection. There was no hope for a risen Lord. Do you know why I say this? If the disciples believed that He was going to be raised, don’t you think they would have been lining up outside of the tomb waiting for Him, but not one of them turned up. No one showed.

A few years ago I had the privilege of attending the opening game of the 2009 College football season at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA. That year Alabama and Virginia Tech were playing in the Chic-fil-A opening game. My brother had purchased tickets for me, so I made arrangements to travel to Georgia to see this game. Here is why I share this. There was an expectation in my heart for the game. I had purchased the tickets. The schedule said they would be playing that day. I had been given this promise by virtue of purchasing the ticket. Because of the anticipation and expectation, we arrived at the stadium at 10:00AM that day, even though the game did not start until 7:00PM that evening. Why? We wanted to get in all of the excitement and festivities of the day. We wanted to enjoy every moment of the day. We wanted to be there when the players left the hotel and boarded the bus for the game. We wanted to be there for the pre-game warm ups. The point is we will filled with expectation.

Can you imagine what the atmosphere around the tomb would have been like if the disciples and the people of Jesus’ day truly expected Him to rise? The area around the tomb would have been crowded with people pushing and shoving to get a view of this event. I am sure there would have been those gathered around the tomb to take bets on the exact moment he would rise. There would be reporters waiting for the event so they could scoop the other reporters on the scene. The Romans would have been there, ready to arrest Jesus again, so that they could control the crowd and control the acclaim that would come by this one event. But no one showed.

No one showed. No one was there. You see no one expected Him to rise from the dead. When someone did show, they came not to celebrate the risen Lord. They did not come with expectant hearts and the anticipation of an empty tomb but they came in fact to finish the burial process. They came with an expectation of death and not life. Notice from our text this morning that the women showed up to anoint Jesus’s body but they were startled by the fact the tomb was empty. They did not expect Him to live again.

The point here is that we must come to Christ with expectation that what He says He will do. If we come expecting death, we might get what we are looking for; but if we come looking for life, we will not find it in the empty tomb. We find in the person of Jesus Christ, the risen Lord. Whether we expect an empty tomb or not, does not change the fact that the tomb is empty and there is life to be had. The lesson here is do not let the circumstances of the moment dictate your actions.

But what does all of this mean for us today. Because of the death and resurrection of Christ we can be free and forgiven. Romans 4:25 – It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. You see too many times our expectation is that our sin or the things we have done are too big or too great for God to forgive us. But that is why He rose again in such a spectacular way. God does not just forgive us which would be powerful enough, but he wipes the slate clean. He justifies us, which means, he treats us as if we never committed the sin that we needed forgiveness for in the first place. This means that we do not have to walk in shame or condemnation but as one who is free and as one who has a clean slate.

For audio version go http://www.pccminsitry.org

Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved – Robert W. Odom

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Body, Soul, Spirit – The Spirit

Peninsula Community Church

Body, Soul and Spirit

April 13, 2014

Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

As we look back at the history of America there are several dates that stand out to me. Now you may or may not agree with these but that is ok. A couple of the dates that come to my mind are the following. The first date is the battle of Gettysburg. During the battle of Gettysburg on July 1-3, 1863; the causalities of war totaled nearly 60,000 men. These men were devoted to a fight and a cause they thought was right. Many historians suggest that the events of Gettysburg and the massive loss by the South was the turning point of the war. After the Civil War was over America would never be the same. A second date was the day that Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Imperial Japanese Navy. On December 7, 1941, 2,402 Americas lost their life and 1282 were injured. America would never be the same after that. A final date that is still visible in my memory is the day that the world trade centers and the Pentagon were attacked by terrorists. How devastating it was to see the towers fall with the knowledge that this was no accident? On September 11, 2001, nearly 3000 people lost their life in this senseless attack. Once again America would never be the same after this tragic event. With each of these events life changed as we know it. 

While these three events changed America, I want to also speak of two other events which are even more critical than the dates we have mentioned above. To view the first event we must go all the way back to the beginning of time. While mankind had everything they needed, or could ever want, they succumbed to the one temptation that would forever change their life. To fully grasp what happened that day, we must understand the total effect of Adam’s sin on the rest of mankind. 

Man’s life changed that day. In that moment, sin became a part of mankind’s existence. In that moment all mankind died. It was not a physical death but they died a spiritual death, and from that time until now mankind has suffered the ongoing effects of that sinful day. The fact is, this death was greater than any physical death that could be experienced. In that moment of time man’s spirit was darkened and the only hope was for one to come that could restore what was lost on that day. In that moment, we became enemy’s of God destined to devise our own religion, define our self-worth, and devote ourselves to fulfilling the desires of our flesh. Of all of the effects including the emotional damage, the spiritual death, and the illusion that occurred, the worst impact of all is that because of Adam’s failure to obey God, the spirit of man was darkened. It is for this reason, that Adam and Eve cowered in fear when God came to walk with them.

But if that was the end of the story, we would be men most miserable. There is another significant moment in history that impacted the world. The dates we are referring to is that period of time between Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, his crucifixion, and His resurrection. By way of these events, we see that life changed for us. We now have hope and life where we once were dead. 

Today, is Palm Sunday. On this day, we celebrate the triumphal entry of Christ into the city of Jerusalem. The reality is that to understand his triumphal entry is to understand the entrance of Christ into our spirit. You see he did not enter Jerusalem to be Israel’s King but to be their Savior. He came not to set up a physical government but a spiritual Kingdom. He came to make us alive in Him. He came to quicken our spirit which had been deadened by sin.

As we view this, you may ask how does this apply to our study of the Body, Soul and Spirit? I am glad you asked, because you see what was darkened is now made alive by Christ’s work on the Cross. Through the work of Christ, we can now experience restoration and healing and we can turn the tables on what occurred in the Garden Eden. You see, the failure and defeat of the Garden was replaced by the success and victory of the cross.

According to Ephesians 2:4-5 God, who is rich in mercy and filled with great love for us did what no religion, no self-help program, no diet, or no amount of money could do. He made us alive in Him. But to experience this change, we must come to terms with the truth that we are lost without God.. The way we have been living our life is not working. We try to live life and things continue to go wrong, we continue to be unhappy, and we continue to be discouraged, rather than believing the truth that we can change. The problem too often is that we try to formulate our own scenarios and ways to bring change. These can be defined by a change of jobs, a change in our relationships, or we turn to outside influences to bring change. We try drugs or alcohol to numb us or to give us a false sense of peace and joy. At times, we try to search out religion and religious ventures but these too leave us cold and unchanged for the good.

What is the answer? Where do we begin? We begin by understanding that we must receive the spirit through new birth – Why is this true? You see when we were created, remember that God breathed into us. We were created by the very breathe of God. As a result, we are unlike any other creature or created thing. In essence, we have the very life of God in us. But, that changed when man sinned. While the breath of God was still in us, our spirits were darkened and our relationship with God was damaged. Since that time, man has been trying to reignite the light of their spirit in so many ways.

The fact is that most of those who have tried many different things to bring light to the heart have never understood the reality of what is truly needed. You see, since man was created by God, since he had the breath of God breathed into him, there is only one thing that will make man alive again and that is the breath of God that comes by way of salvation in Christ. We can call it new birth, receiving faith, a changed life, or whatever you would like to, but the fact is, we need the Spirit of God to touch our spirit again. Whatever you call it, the only way to have real life is through Christ who ignites our dead and darkened spirit. 

We see this in our text this morning. God who was rich in mercy has made us alive together with Christ. It is in His mercy and because of His love that He created the opportunity for us to be changed. He could have given up on us. He could have let us die, and He could have left us to our own demise but He came to breathe life into us by way of His death on the cross. 

As a result of God’s action to reignite the light in our hearts on our behalf, we can now live a life of freedom. We can live the life that God originally designed for us. Will it be easy? No, because we still contend with people, ideologies, experiences, mindsets, and the sinful flesh that continues to battle against us. But God through Christ makes it possible. 

In the plan of God, He did something that was totally amazing. He sent the Spirit to us so that we could be directed and guided into truth. When we accept Christ and the darkness of our heart has been distinguished, we find real peace. It is in that moment that the way we live begins to change. Rather than being guided by the flesh we are now being guided by the Holy Spirit. In fact to live in freedom we must be guided by the Spirit

But, if we have the spirit in us, we must walk in the Spirit. We must allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in all we do. Francis Chan has stated that walking in the spirit is like following our GPS. GPS gives us direction but it does so in a way that is interesting. I have never heard the voice of the GPS get angry. All she says is “recalculating.” When I consistently make mistakes on the journey I am taking, I do not hear her say, “You are stupid! You will never get this right! You will never reach your destination! She just keeps saying “recalculating.” What she means is that you messed up but if you follow me I will get you to where you need to be. It may take you longer, and it may cost you more, but I will get you there. But you have to follow my directions and my plan. The Holy Spirit is our GPS as He guides us toward understanding God’s plan, God’s purpose, and the destiny God has for us. 

The Holy Spirit will also make it easier for us to live as we should. When our spirit is in alignment with God’s purpose and plan for our lives, we will find that what we do emotionally will be different. Our actions will be motivated by what is good and right and not by fleshly desires. When we are guided by the Spirit, our responses to life’s crisis will be different. We will name our emotions, we will challenge them and then we will change them. We will be better equipped to take every thought     captive to the glory of God. In following the Spirit’s lead, we will be better equipped to fight against the temptations that come by way of our flesh. It is for this reason, that Paul reminds us to walk after the spirit so that we do not gratify the deeds of the flesh.

Look at what Paul says about this. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:5-8). 

And finally, look at what Ezekiel had to say about this way back in the Old Testament. So, this is nothing new. It is has always been a reality for us. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

So are you alive this morning? Do you have the Spirit of God living in you? Today, is the day to seek after Him and to allow Him to bring change to your heart and life. 

Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved

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Dealing with the Feeling, Part 2

Peninsula Community Church

Body, Soul, Spirit – Dealing with the Feeling, Part 2

April 6, 2014

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

I must admit that some of what I will share, today, is a direct result of listening to a message presented by Rick Warren entitled, “Transformed: How to Deal with How you Feel.” For our purposes today, I will be using a brief part of the message. While I will be using his skeleton, I have added my skin and tissue to the skeleton. 

In Rick’s study, he suggested three ways for us to deal with our emotions and our feelings.

The first way he suggested that we deal with our emotions is to name it. To manage our emotions, we must come to an understanding of the specific emotions we are expressing or experiencing. To manage our emotions, we must identify what they are, because we cannot deal with vague emotions. You see, if we do not know what emotions we are dealing with, we cannot change them. Remember the warning light illustration from last week. If we do not do the diagnostics, we will never know what needs to be repaired. We can spend a lot of time, energy, and money to attempt to repair things that are not broken. We can also deal with the surface issues and never get down to the real issues affecting us. Let me also make this observation, we must be careful and not make up emotions or misdiagnose our emotions, because we can only have healing when we deal in truth and reality.

When identifying our emotions, we all tend to fall into one of three scenarios. For some of us, identifying our emotions is not an issue. There are some of us that have the ability to immediately we with your feelings. It is noteworthy here that most women fall into this category, as they have the ability to immediately name and identify the emotions they are feeling.

A second group are those of us who know they have feelings and emotions but find it difficult to identify what they are feeling. We try to, but it requires great effort to understand what emotions are being exhibited. It is noteworthy that men tend to fall into this category most often. Men as a whole are less likely to immediately identify their feelings. The problem is that too often men are told to be emotionless. You know the saying, “Real men don’t cry!”

A third group would be the deniers. This group denies that their emotions exist, and therefore they tend to never deal with the emotions effecting them. There is a difference between not knowing your emotions and denying they exist. For those that deny their emotions, they live under the false illusion that if they don’t admit or discuss their emotions, then they do not exist. If they are ignored long enough, they will go away and or they will change on their own. While this may be true for a season, this rarely works for the long haul, as these emotions often resurface in other ways.

When naming our emotions we should ask a couple of questions. The first question to be asked is “What am I feeling?” Be honest in your evaluation. This may require you to make a list of the emotions you are walking through. The second question is “What are my triggers?” What causes the emotion(s) that you experience to happen in you? Once again be honest. Remember the emotion experienced is not always the problem.

A second way to deal with our emotions is to challenge our emotions. In other words, do not just simply accept your emotions for what they are. Understand that there is more to the emotion than what is expressed. The Psalmist said it this way in Psalm 26:2.  Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind. We are called to examine our emotions by way of God’s inspection of who we are. We are His and we are in Him. He can and will assist us as noted in our text, today.

When expressing an emotion, we can ask the following. Why do I feel the way I do? Am I wounded or hurt? Am I walking in sin or unforgiveness? We can also ask “Is what I am feeling true?” Are the feelings I am expressing based in truth and is it an honest appraisal of who I am? Notice, I did not say to ask if they are real because if you are experiencing the emotion then it is real for you. That is the reason why we cannot say to someone “Don’t feel that way.” That is like saying don’t feel hungry. Finally, we can ask “Is this helping me or hurting me?” What benefit am I receiving from allowing this emotion to run my life in this moment?

A third way to deal with our emotions is to tame it or change it. To change our emotions we must master our moods. As believers, we can turn to the admonishment Paul made to the church at Philippi. Paul’s challenged the church to have the mind of Christ.

Paul stated, Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:4B-8). Then again Paul admonishes us to Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 2:3-4).

“What kind of mind do you have?” “Do you have the mind of Christ?”

We have noted before that our body, soul, and spirit are not independent parts, but they are interconnected as a whole. What we do with our bodies affects our minds. What we do with our thought life affects our heart. What we allow to brood in our hearts affects our thoughts and our actions. We are a complete whole. This is the reason that we are called to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength (Matthew 5:22). The sum total of who we are is greater than the individual parts that make us who we are. 

When we are experiencing painful emotions, we can and must channel that emotion to help others and to have a positive outcome. You see anger is not a sin. In fact, the Bible reminds us to Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. (Ephesians 4:26-27). So what do we do with our anger? Do we allow it to give opportunity to the devil to control us, or do we channel the anger to be a blessing to others? It is a choice we must make. 

This can be done only as we surrender our lives to Christ and as we seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit every day. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:30-32).

In preparation for this message I came across a video that I believe illustrates this idea. Watch this video clip with me…. Afterwards I will tell you the rest of the story.

We see in this clip a young boy who is filled with uncontrolled anger. We see him however, bringing this anger issue to God, who transforms his life. Who is this young boy, It is Dr. Ben Carson. You see, from that day forward Dr. Carson took control of his anger and the pain he was exhibiting to become one of the world’s finest surgeons ever to live. The difference is that he controlled his anger and he channeled it to his advantage. The outcome could have been much different. If he allowed his anger to continue to control him, he anger could have destroyed him, instead he used it to heal.

We have talked a lot about anger, but the issue could be any emotion that rises up within us. So what emotions are you experiencing? Are there emotions that are controlling your life? Are there emotions that you need to recognize and then deal with so that they no longer control your life? It is your choice. The Spirit is ready to meet you right where you are. Change is possible. Reach out to God as Dr. Ben Carson did. It will change your life.

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