Responding vs Reacting


Some times life just isn’t fun and doesn’t feel fair. Other times we have dug a pit for ourselves and have to live through the consequences of our actions. All the time our feelings are valid.


One of the things that God has used to comfort and encourage me is the fact He created me human. I know, it sounds a bit oxymoronic, but hear me out.


Some where between our experiences and our relationships with God, we forget that part of Jesus coming down to die on the cross was Him experiencing life as a human. God knows how we feel, because He sent His son down, in part to feel it. Jesus felt sadness, hurt, anger, and betrayal yet 1 Peter 2:21 & 22 says,


For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:”


So what does this look like for us, because yes we share humanity with Christ, but surely we we can’t be perfect like Him? Or does it?


Being perfect in Christ doesn’t mean you won’t ever fall, but it should mean that when you do it’s not for lack of trying. It means that when we fall it’s because we misunderstood or we hadn’t discovered that particular God truth. We are always going to be learning, growing and evolving in life and faith so we should make a concentrated effort to not willfully sin.


The only way to do this is to be in constant communion with God and in perpetual practice of His attributes.


I think a good example of this can be Job, Job 1:1 says,


There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.”

Job was already in the habit of his godly character so when the worst happened to him his instinct wasn’t to lash out, but to seek God,


Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” Job 1:20-22

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Whenever I read the story of Job I’m in awe not just because he was able to withstand, but because every step of the way he was talking to God, praising God, worshiping God and even at one point questioning God, but always in constant communication with God.


This isn’t just a habit that forms overnight! It’s a lifestyle that was embedded in him and can be embedded in us.


Job grieved for the loss of his children and his wealth, but he didn’t use it as a crutch or an out. He didn’t say, “Well, my life sucks now, so I’m gonna go drink until I find the bottom of the bottle” or “God has clearly abandoned me, so I’m gonna go cheat on my wife and start over”. According to a lot of us we wouldn’t have blamed him if he chose to either! We would just shake our heads in pity, shrug and be understanding, because, ya know, he is clearly going through a hard time.

But even this Old Testament Job was practicing 1 Peter 2:16,


As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.”


He may have had every right to, but he chose not to. He chose even in his lowest moments to be a servant of God.


Why?


Because even at our lowest we are still accountable for our actions.


So, as humans having this human experience we can cry, hurt, shout out to God about it all. We can put ourselves in time out, breathe, regroup, recenter, take a walk, and feel all of the feelings, without lashing out or behaving in them, because loathe as we are to admit it even when our emotions are at their peak, we still have a choice.


The key is to give ourselves more options so that we can choose to respond, over allowing ourselves to react. This is why we read our Bibles and search the scripture so that Psalms 119:11 will be alive in our lives.


Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”


Are you going to get it right from here on out?


NO!


But you can choose to be to be better at every opportunity you have, it’s in the small choices, those moments where we find ourselves responding and not reacting where we realize just how much we’ve allowed ourselves to grow.

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