What happens to you when life gets tough? You know, when the heat gets turned up and things start to go sideways. What comes out of you? A deeper question to delve into is figuring out if these things are controlling you. Are your emotions bossing you around? Life can punch you in the face in a variety of ways. Difficulties at work, excessive debt, marriage problems, and disobedient children are just a few of the things that we will likely face during our lives. Most of us are creatures of habit and more often than not we tend to react the same when put in pressure filled situations. Sometimes God puts us through trials of various kinds to help us grow. However, Satan will also try and tempt us, and he will continue to attack us in similar ways for this simple reason; it works. What we need to do is be aware enough to see the warning signs when life throws a haymaker our way and be able to respond well versus reacting poorly.
When a silversmith is creating an object like a blade, he increases the temperature until the impurities come to the surface. The impurities are called dross and I referenced this in my last blog, The Storms of Life. He skims the dross and removes it from the silver, thus purifying the precious metal. The process is done multiple times and he knows it is ready when he can see his own image in it. God puts us through this same thing when refining us during trials. At times this can feel overwhelming, but we need to realize this is His way of helping us grow. In order for us to have breakthroughs in life and gain victory, we need to figure out what our impurities are and do our very best to learn from our past and move on to new beginnings. God will know we are ready to move on to the next step in life when He can see Himself in us.
Learning from our Past
Targeting our trigger points is a big step in the process of gaining victory over the things that set us off. For me personally, I can see how my lack of patience or feelings of disrespect bring out my frustration and anger. Here is an example. When people interrupt me in the middle of a sentence, my blood starts to boil. My typical reaction is to return the favor by cutting them off and letting them know that I don’t appreciate it. This happens more with family than at work, but I have been guilty of both. As you can imagine the environment is now pretty tense, and neither person involved in the conversation is in the mood to receive from the other. While acknowledging the fact that their action was rude and uncalled for, allowing them to finish their thought and then making a comment after the fact is a better route to take. Trust me when I say this is a work in progress for me.
Along the same lines as targeting these trigger points is that we also should reach back from past experiences. We need to realize that we have been down this road before and tap on the brakes instead of putting the accelerator to the floor. While stepping on the gas will satisfy our flesh, the result usually ends up hurting all the parties involved. Not only are they offended or hurt, but then you have to deal with the guilt that comes around the bend. Then we have to do one of the things that is so difficult for men- apologize. Some of us would rather take 50,000 volts, which is similar to a standard taser, than apologize to our wife. Going to bed angry is not an option in our house and even though she’s wrong, come on guys back me up on this, we have to be the peacemaker.
“If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin, and do not stay angry all day.”Ephesians 4:26 GNT
Move on to New Beginnings
Establishing new habits is the next step in having a breakthrough and gaining victory in your life. We are called to new beginnings and not sit in the mire of past failures. The devil wants to isolate you so he can destroy you. Satan hates us because we are made in God’s image and he loathes God for the double suplex that He dropped on him when his sorry butt got tossed out of heaven. Pastor Scott Adams is a friend of mine, and during a bible study he once said that when going through the wilderness, which can be referred to as a trial, we need to remember that we are going “through it”. We will not be in the trial forever and we will be stronger on the other side. It’s also like hitting a baseball. We don’t take our bat to the ball. We go through it!
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”Isaiah 43:19 ESV
When looking at a mountain range that has peaks and valleys, you will notice that typically most of the vegetation resides in the valleys. When the rain comes, it collects in that area which allows for growth. How similar is this to our lives. While we can still learn during the high times of our lives, we tend to glean more from the difficult times. Asking God for wisdom during these trials is something I have learned to do over the years. I always want to stay in communion with Him and learn why I am going through a situation. I want God’s best for me and to live within His will because I know how much it will bless me and others. One of the most dangerous prayers you will ever say is for God to use you. If you do, be ready for what He has in store for your future.
Here are some things to think about this week and apply to your life:
- Identify the “dross” and trigger points when faced with difficult situations.
- Practice listening versus waiting to speak.
- Gain wisdom from past experiences.
- Focus on the lesson God is teaching you instead of the problems you are facing.
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