” … You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?” (1 Corinthians 3:3)
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, no lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
Recognize yourself in any of the areas listed above? Perhaps it’s without self-control, self-control is the second phase of Emotional Intelligence in Christ, or pride, slander, being a lover of pleasure rather than a lover of God? I’m totally guilty in several areas. As St. Paul says in Romans 7… who will save us from this fleshly nature? Thanks be to God Jesus is here to help.
Today we will focus on two specific areas that block the work of God in our lives: strife and slander. “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’ These are all destined to perish with use” (Colossians 2:21).
One important step to free ourselves from the snare of fleshly behaviors that do not make God recognizable is to reflect on any person in your life that you have not forgiven. Invite the Holy Spirit in to your timeline to reveal to you any and all people whom you have not offered forgiveness to and ask for the grace to forgive and release… for your own inner peace and freedom (Galatians 5:1).
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37). “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32). This is a job for Jesus.
This takes big time GRACE. The flesh does not let go easily. It grips ahold and magnifies the transgressions of others against us. Every ounce of inner peace dwindles away as Satan stands close by gloating over his victory over our hijacked ability to show up with Emotional Intelligence in Christ. Strife and slander are two ramifications that are wreaking havoc in our society today. What are we to do?
Emotional Intelligence in Christ is the work of the Holy Spirit within us (the WAKEFULNESS, ATTENTIVENESS), to help us discern and manage our emotions in a way that honors God, by loving others well as Jesus did (and does today). The key to our victory lies in our ability to confess our sins (behaviors that draw us away from God) and forgive those who sin against us. This surrendered state allows the love of God to enter into our thoughts which in turn directly guide our emotions and spill out into our behaviors.
Before a good friend of mine went to be with the Lord, she said that Jesus was appearing to her several times throughout the night. She said that He told her this: “When people are unkind in any way it’s simply because they have disconnected themselves from the Love of God.” Key point: they disconnect from God’s love. God’s love is constant and continually reaches into each person desiring to save and restore what is broken and lost. Slander and strife are the result of disconnecting from the love of God. When we slander another person, we are acting out our own pain in a destructive way. Which is why it’s essential to experience the love and forgiveness of God before we can offer it to those around us.
Strife (bitter conflict, an angry undercurrent) and pride walk hand in hand. I recently heard an invitation from Joyce Meyer to become a strife stopper. Don’t be a garbage dump: Giving airtime to someone who is slandering another person. Keep watch on your words and behavior. Ask: How do these words or behavior guide this person back to God’s love?
When, not if, you stumble in the areas of strife and slander come back to prayer and humility as quickly as you recognize the hijack:
“Dear Lord, I am totally hijacked by my strong, negative emotions towards this person and I’m not doing a good job bringing You glory in this situation. Each person is created in Your image and You love them right where they are at… help me to see people for who they desire to be rather than how their behavior shows up… just like You see me. I give You permission to override my strong urge to slander people who I feel are hurting me or the people I love. Give me the grace to keep the strife out of my life so that You have the space to do Your mighty work in and through me. Thank You that Your grace is sufficient, Your power is made perfect in my weaknesses.”
Keep strife and slander out of your life with the help of the Holy Spirit within you so that you can discern and manage your emotions and behavior in a way that honors God, by loving others well as Jesus did, and does.
“Kindness has converted more people than zeal, science, or eloquence.”
– Mother Teresa
Action Step: Intentionally reach out and affirm someone in your life that perhaps does not know that they are appreciated and valued.