Do you find yourself butting heads with someone? Maybe it’s with your husband, your wife, or your boss. You have a conversation … but it feels more like a tug-of-war. One person says something, then the other … and before you know it both of you feel frustrated. You both want to get your point across … you both want the other to understand … your view … you both want something … and neither one wants to give in to the other … neither one wants to be the one to concede the underlying fight … the underlying battle. However, unless one person chooses to become willing to yield … willing to submit… willing to surrender their need to be right … their need to have the last word … their need to have the final say … the end result will be like locking horns … with no way in sight of how to get untangled. You see, there can’t simultaneously be two heads … it will just lead to chaos, confusion, and catastrophe. That’s why there is usually a chain of command or an order to how things are run. Perhaps this is why the Bible says in Ephesians 5 that we need to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. When we are revering Christ we show that we are respecting His way of doing things … and His way of doing things is always rooted in love … the kind of love that is described in 1 Corinthians 13 … love that is not rude or self-seeking but, rather, love that is patient and kind. In any relationship both individuals need to be willing to submit … willing to yield to the other as necessary. This doesn’t make one person better than the other. This doesn’t make one person a doormat and the other person dominant. This makes both people responsible to care enough about the other person that they are willing to show true love … they are willing to let it go when a conversation becomes heated and it is clear it’s better to drop it rather than insist on being the one to be right … the one to win. In reality, the only way to win is to surrender. In that regard you are winning the war against animosity, anger, and anguish … you are winning by showing true love … you are winning by keeping your relationship with the other person intact … knowing that your relationship is worth far more than being right … far more than being the one to dominate. So, how in the world can you do this? How in the world can you find the strength of character to actually submit to one another and show that you are revering Christ’s way of doing things? Only through a personal relationship with Christ Himself. Only by allowing yourself to submit to Him so that His unconditional love will be able to flow through you to other people. You see, we can’t do it on our own … in our own strength and in our own power. Galatians 5:16 lets us know that when we yield our lives to the Holy Spirit we will not gratify the desires of our sinful nature … desires that include selfishness and bickering … desires that may make us feel good but are harmful to ourselves and others. So, the timeless truth for today is this: If you don’t want to butt heads with those you care about, lock horns with Jesus … connect yourself to Him in such a close and personal way that His love flows through you to other people … then you will truly be able to submit yourselves one to another and enjoy peace.
Do your thoughts tend to run away from you? Do you find yourself thinking about one thing, then another thing comes to mind, then another, then another, then another … and before you know it you’re stressed out and overwhelmed trying to think of everything all at once? Well, the mind is like that … it wants to have a “mind of it’s own” and dictate what you do or do not think about. Fortunately, as children of God, we have power over our minds, over our thoughts … we don’t have to allow them to control us, but, rather, we can “take authority” and “take charge” and actually choose what we are thinking about (or not thinking about). It’s a little known fact … we do have that power. When Jesus died and then rose again, He gave us that power … power over sin, power over negative thinking, power over worry, power over anything that would try to control us. Is it easy? Of course not! But it is possible! Remember, with God all things are possible … including getting a handle on our thoughts. After all, our thoughts determine our actions. Most often, we first think about something before we actually do it. If we’re careful, we will pay attention and choose those things that are beneficial to both us and others. Want more proof that we can actually choose “right” thinking? Philippians 4:8 (NIV) says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Now, if scripture instructs us to do something, we can trust that God will enable us to do it. He won’t ever ask us to do something that He wouldn’t also give us the ability – the power – to do. 2 Peter 1:3 (ICB) tells us, “Jesus has the power of God. His power has given us everything we need to live and to serve God. We have these things because we know him …” So, the timeless truth for today is that we have the ability – the power – to choose our thoughts. With that knowledge, we can make choices that will help, rather than hinder, our walk with the Lord as well as our relationships with people, and, last but not least, our relationship with ourselves (the things we tell ourselves in our own minds that no one else is aware of). As we do this, we will notice our lives improving. After all, as we focus on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy (all positive things, by the way), we will be focusing our thoughts on things that will build ourselves (and others) up, we will be combating all the negativity in the world, and, most importantly, we will be coming into agreement with what God has to say in his Word … a sure-fire way to be blessed, not stressed!