I was fortunate to be able to spend this past Thanksgiving with my family. Holidays can be stressful and when you combine family members with different personalities, worldviews, politics, and religions you might end up with a time bomb just ticking to go off.
Thankfully there were no fireworks, but there were a few tantrums.
Tantrums from the kids- ages 5 and 2 – some tears, fits, and a few “you aren’t the boss of me” remarks.
I watched them and couldn't help but see myself. Transported back to that age (you will be shocked to learn) I was quite the stubborn child and would throw the biggest fits when I didn't get my way — fits that included tears, screaming and literally banging my head on the floor. Yes, according to eyewitnesses, I would stand straight up and with stiff legs bend over and slam my head repeatedly into the ground — all to get my way and force everyone around me to do my will.
Truth time … how many of us as adults still throw temper tantrums?
Be honest- maybe you have evolved and no longer throw hysterical fits, but what about venting, raging, complaining, criticizing, stewing, and condemning all because you didn't get your way? Maybe others disagreed with you, perhaps the boss didn't like your ideas, maybe life isn't going how you planned or maybe your prayers aren't being answered the way you want.
Deep down, don’t we all have that child’s voice responding to life’s circumstances with- “You aren’t the boss of me, I can do as I please?”
We want to believe that we are always right, should always get our way and we are the captain of our destiny.
I believe this rebellion is because we do in fact have a boss, but would rather deny and ignore its existence.
The interesting part is we have the power to decide which boss governs our lives, and hence, provides us with some control.
In Romans 6:16-23, the Apostle Paul clarifies this point by explaining that we are either a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness:
“Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” ~Romans 6:16-18
Make no mistake, as much as, we would like to believe we are large and in charge - the truth is we are NOT! We answer either to the boss of sin or righteousness. There are no other options.
Which will you select?
Be careful- each provides a very different result.
“When you were slaves to sin you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~ Romans 6:20-23
As for me, I've stopped banging my head on the ground long ago and I choose the boss of righteousness- God.
To curb the tantrums and become joyfully obedient to righteousness, we must first, recognize and make our selection. Putting faith and trust into a God that loves us with a wild, fierce and relentless passion. He really is in control and knows what is best for our lives. Believe it.
Then, conquer sin by choosing to be obedient to God’s teachings and striving for a life that is marked by the beatitudes. (See Matthew 5:1-11 which reveals the qualities of a Christ-follower: poor-in-spirit, meek, mournful, hungry & thirsty for righteousness, merciful, pure-in-heart, and peacemakers.)
A life submitted to righteousness might not sound glamorous or even fun, but it does bring happiness, peace, and joy- it brings life.
Otherwise, we are left banging our heads in frustration. Throwing tantrums and raging at the world all because we serve a boss of sin that brings destruction, dismay, and disappointment.
Father, help us to see that we are not in control and that there are two forces in this life that are- you and sin. Guide us and give us clarity in making the proper choice. You are good and will always do what is best for us even when we are striving for our own way. Thank you that you are willing to love us with a passionate love that knows no limit and provides life.
"Love the Lord your God and keep His requirements, His decrees, His laws and His commands always." ~Deuteronomy 11:1