Guilty! I am breaking all blogging rules by posting something out of my intended subject area, broader than my target audience, and perhaps alienating to some of my audience. So to those who are reading this, please don’t blot out my blog! I will return to normal in my next post. Ok– much ado about nothing and slight overkill on the apology. I am posting a lesson I taught 2-3 years ago to my leadership. I needed it then and I need it now in my current circumstance of life.
Are You Irritable or Spiritual?
That question hit me over my pious head as I read it in Oswald Chamber’s devotion. It got my attention because I was irritable! In my own life, irritability stems from selfishness – a form of pride. I am irritable because I respond negatively to a situation or circumstances. Although I can explain my irritability, I cannot excuse it. The Holy Spirit showed me that the Bible addresses all my irritating issues. With that in mind, consider some of the common causes of irritability.
Common Causes of Irritability
• Although Elijah had just experienced a great spiritual victory on Mt. Carmel, he became weary in his work/ministry. He viewed his situation in an exaggerated state which led him to be fearful and irrational. Elijah needed rest and food. Often we may neglect the need to sleep, vacate, eat properly, and exercise all in the name of work or ministry. I Kings 18 & 19.
• Frustration and its companion, fretting, can cause a person to be irritated. Frustration comes from many inconveniences – waiting, having no control over a matter, being misunderstood, suffering an injustice, or impatience. Psalm 27: 13-14 speak to impatience.
• Psalm 46:10 instructs believers to be quiet before the Lord. Sometimes the best thing for us to do is NOTHING or to hush while praying and allow the Holy Spirit to direct our petitions.
• I John 5:14-15 promises that God hears prayers that are according to His will. This phrase is not meant to be complicated, but to simply remind believers that our requests should be made in faith from a heart that completely trusts God.
• In the Old Testament books of Deuteronomy, Kings, and the Chronicles, God reminds the Israelites that they are not to worship in the “high places” established for pagan worship. High places are representative of things in our lives that are not acceptable to God. King Asa is an example of someone who was obedient in the areas of his life that were important to him, but not in all areas.
• Often, we may refer to our high places as strongholds or “little sins,” (anger, jealousy, bad habits, talking ill of others, unhealthy or immoral thinking, etc.) giving us some excuse to overlook them. Other times, we may recognize them as blatant sin in our lives.
• When the Holy Spirit convicts you of a high place, confess it. I john 1:9.
• Proverbs 14:30 tells us that jealousy rots the bones. None of us would knowingly swallow something that we knew would deteriorate our bones, yet we will allow jealousy to live in our hearts and minds.
• Psalm 18 is filled with expressions of how God feels about His children. To be bound by jealousy is to turn one’s back on God’s promises.
• Waiting is especially difficult for doers and fixers! Ironically, people feel themselves waiting on God because we think in time increments. God does not think in time. He is always at work. Therefore, what we view as waiting is in reality God working. Sometimes when He works we see His movement. Sometimes we just have to wait. Don’t focus on the waiting; focus on the working.
• Psalm 40 reminds us that David waited patiently on the Lord. While he waited, he cried out to the Lord. At some point, God moves David out of his current circumstance. David then has a NEW song and a NEW praise for the Lord. After the waiting, David had a reason to praise God that he did not have before. On top of that, the way God worked in his life was a testimony to others.
• Worry is the result of thinking about things that have not actually happened or things we cannot control. Worry is a lack of faith and trust.
• Worry differs from a burden. Worry is in the mind. A burden is in the heart.
• Psalm 116:7 tells our souls to be at rest, for the Lord has been good to us.
• Phil 4:6 tells us not to be anxious about anything.
Spiritual Responses to Irritating Situations
• Hope is defined as the feeling that something desired is possible; to look forward to with desire and confidence
• Hope is confidence that God is in control by focusing on Who God is. (faithful, loving, kind, gracious, compassionate, patient, all-knowing, listening, trustworthy, etc.) See Psalm 145.
• Hope looks beyond the immediate and dwelling on the fact that God has and always will prove Himself faithful and trustworthy.
• Hope looks back at what God has already done and looks forward to what his character proves He will do and be in the future.
• Psalm. 62:5; Psalm 71:14; Hebrews 11:1; Psalm 145:14; Psalm 18: 28 & 29; & Psalm 25:21, are reminders that there is no reason to give up hope.
• Trust is defined as confident expectation; firm reliance on the integrity and ability of something/one
• Proverbs 3: 5 & 6 tells us to trust in the Lord. The Psalms are filled with “trust” verses!
• Psalm 85:8 tells us that God promises peace to His people. Peace comes with trust.
• To submit is to yield to another’s authority. In Luke 22:42 we see that even the Son of God submitted to the will of the Father over his own personal desires.
• Although it seems contradictory, it is possible to submit while hoping and trusting because submitting could mean we do not get the outcome we “hoped” for. Our hope and trust tell us that the desires will somehow reconcile to God’s outcome.
• Rest assured that God has plans for us that are for our good (Jer. 29:11) not our harm. This does not mean that we are free of pain, trials, and difficulties, but we are free in them to stay focused on God.
• Pray without ceasing…anytime! I Thessalonians 5:17
• When you do not have words, the Holy Spirit intercedes on your behalf. Romans 8:26