My temper gets me all the time. Even if I don’t explode I can feel irritation creeping up. 90% of the time my irritation is toward my husband and children. The rest of the time it is toward the telemarketer that keeps calling my cell phone or the person at customer service whose service is pretty crappy.
Earlier this week I heard a radio program as I was driving to the gym – it was James MacDonald talking about a simple discipline to help me not give into temptation or lose my temper. I’m testing it . . .and so far results are pretty good.
Example A: My husband and I are both currently working from home. I am so happy to be working from home and believe 100% that it is where God wants me. Even so, it is an adjustment. We haven’t both worked from home, together, for several years. We are sharing an office. We have very different work habits. And very different philosophies on how the office should be organized (his style includes piles on the floor). Yesterday as he was dropping our daughter off at school I could feel my irritation level getting higher and higher as I tried to find an organized and clean place in the office to work.
I have found that starting my day with daily Bible reading and prayer makes a huge difference, but often in the moment I still lose my temper.
When faced growing irritation with my husband I tried the steps below. And it really seemed to help. I didn’t handle the situation perfectly and I am sure I was more irritated than I needed to be, but it could have been a lot worse.
- Stop and say: “I am Dead to That.” Out loud. (I did it in the bathroom, looking in the mirror.) I love this concept – thank you James MacDonald!
- Pray: Ask God to give me grace, peace and His love in dealing with the situation.
- Meditate: Over and over in my head say the verse Romans 6:11 “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
I’m going to keep trying this and see if it helps . . . as I need all the help I can get! But bottom line as we just celebrated Easter, Jesus didn’t just die to save me from hell, He died to save me from a life of sin. There is freedom in Him. I just need to grasp that freedom.
In closing, I love section from James MacDonald, found here:
I know what you might be thinking. If I’m dead to sin, why do I feel so alive to it? Dead is the last word most of us would use to describe our experience with sin. Forgiven, maybe. Or cleansed—even changing. But dead?
First consider what dead to sin does not mean. It doesn’t mean sinless perfection or that our old nature is gone. And it doesn’t mean we’ve merely identified theoretically with the death of Christ.
It means that because Christ died in our place, we are dead to the power of sin. It’s as if we used to live in an apartment with an awful landlord who would burst in whenever he wanted, but now we’ve moved to a new apartment with a new landlord. We have new locks; we owe the former landlord nothing. He can’t get into our new apartment unless we open the door and invite him in.
Unfortunately, some Christians still open that door and listen to the old landlord. But he’s no longer in control. In Christ, the power of sin is broken and defeated. Sin is not in charge. You have a new Master.