Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
© Focus On Purpose July 2017 - 2018

Overcoming

Anger

“He who angers you, conquers you.”

Elizabeth Kenny

Foundation of Anger Management

There are important principles to keep in mind when interpreting the Bible. One of these is the "Law of First mention." This 'Law' states that the first time a Hebrew word, or a concept is mentioned in Scripture, it sets a foundation for understanding of that word or concept. Other passages in the Bible may build on this foundation, but the foundation itself will not change.   Psychology 101 In Genesis 4 God sets the foundation for Biblical Psychology : “Then the Lord said to Cain, 'Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (Genesis 4: 6-7) According to Genesis 4:7, the key is "doing well". What does it mean to do well? Brown-Driver Briggs defines it as, "to do well, right"; "make a thing good, right, beautiful"; "Do well, thoroughly". Any Psychologist will teach you that your thoughts influence emotions, which influence your outward behaviour and responses. They will also teach that the reverse is also true: your actions influence your emotions, which affect your thinking. This is where the "Fake it until you make it" teaching comes from. Do What You Want To Be I have struggled with this teaching as I have seen people use this it unwisely, resulting in foolish arrogance that brings much damage and hurt to those touched by such an individual. My father was once approached by a man who wanted to start a business in a highly technical field of engineering. This man was neither experienced, nor qualified in this specific field, nor in any other field of engineering. He had simply read a couple of books and he believed he could 'fake it until he made it'. Yet how many lives would he not endanger on the road to 'making it'? I am sure most of us have experienced this kind of foolishness in various forms, but this is a distortion or twisting an of otherwise foundational truth : Your behaviour can influence your feelings or emotions, as well as your attitudes and thoughts. Have you ever felt droopy, moody, or slothful, and you made yourself get up and go for a walk or run, a swim, or do any other activity more strenuous than pressing the buttons on the TV remote? Did you not feel more energetic and positive after the exercise? You are not your body. You are not your emotions. You are not your thoughts. You are more than your body, more than your emotions, more than your thoughts. If Paul tells us to take our thoughts, perceptions, and/or mind captive, we must be apart from these things to do so, right? This is the principle God is teaching Cain (and us) in Genesis 4. God was teaching him that his thoughts were causing emotions that further influenced his thoughts, which then intensified his emotions, round and round as they sucked him in a downward spiral. If he allowed that spiral to continue, sin was crouching at the door of his mind. Its desire was to ensnare him and ultimately destroy him. It was Cain’s responsibility to master his thoughts and emotions, and thus his actions, to keep himself from being ensnared by sin. Jeff Olson wrote a book called "The Slight Edge". In this book he teaches that we are either improving or we are deteriorating, depending on the small choices we make every day. Bowling Balls Effectively, we are like bowling balls. Bowling balls have a bias that causes them to veer off in one direction or another; they cannot roll in a straight line. We are either becoming more Christlike or we are becoming less Christlike. We cannot remain static because life is not static. Because of the fall, our natural bias is toward sin. It requires purposeful, intelligent, energy to move towards all we are called to be. If we do not exert that energy purposefully and intelligently, we will veer off to the sin side, however gentle that curve may appear. Mastering Sin God tells Cain that if he does what is right, his emotions would follow and in this way he would master sin. In fact God is actually telling him that he must master sin. Effectively sanctification, or the process of becoming more separated from the world, is a process of mastering sin. The process of being transformed by the renewing of our mind, is a process of mastering sin. Jesus has given us the power do this because He has broken the power of sin in our lives, through His death. Now we must take up our responsibility to master sin as we walk according to the Holy Spirit. The question is : In the absence of specific law, how do you know what is 'right' or ‘doing well’? We will look at that next week. But until then experiment with yourself in ways of changing your state of mind by deliberately doing something different to what your thoughts and emotions are driving you to do.  When you are not in a positive mindset (you may be feeling critical, angry, irritated, gloomy, blah, ...), do something like going for a walk, take a small gift to a friend, anything that will make someone else happy, and see what that does for your own mindset. Jesus takes this even further when He tells us to love our enemy, and to do good to those who hate us. Those of us who live in South Africa, live in an atmosphere of pervasive bitterness, deep resentment, and hatred, regardless of race. So many white people have stood in the gap to repent for the ‘sins of the past’, even going so far as washing feet to express their humility. This happens so many times that the process has lost its meaning. Repentence means more than simply speaking words. Repentence speaks of gaining an understanding of what caused offence and then changing that offensive behaviour within ourselves. How can we live out personal repentence to offended people in our nation, on a daily basis? Aggression, bitterness, resentment, hatred, and violence, will not overcome hatred. Only love can heal and overcome - love that flows from God’s heart through us, becuse this love has life. Hatred is of death, but Jesus has overcome death with His life and His love. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit daily, how to intentionally, meaningfully, and sensitively, show love to those around us, even those who set themselves up as enemies. Only love can overcome the darkness in our nation. This love revolution has to start somewhere. Let it start with us. Let it start now. Let’s start today, with just small, but meaningful, impactiful actions, which are easy to do and easy not to do, but when done, the cumulative effect compounds impactfully.
As you touch or hover over each picture in the four small squares above, they will be magnified in the main square. This demonstrates what happens in our minds; what we focus on becomes enlarged in our minds, to the exclusion of other things. When we get to see a larger frame, and see how the smaller parts fit together, our understanding often shifts.
Prev Next
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
© Focus On Purpose July 2017 - 2018  

Overcoming

Anger

“He who angers you, conquers

you.”

Elizabeth Kenny

Foundation of Anger Management

There are important principles to keep in mind when interpreting the Bible. One of these is the "Law of First mention." This 'Law' states that the first time a Hebrew word, or a concept is mentioned in Scripture, it sets a foundation for understanding of that word or concept. Other passages in the Bible may build on this foundation, but the foundation itself will not change.   Psychology 101 In Genesis 4 God sets the foundation for Biblical Psychology : “Then the Lord said to Cain, 'Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (Genesis 4: 6-7) According to Genesis 4:7, the key is "doing well". What does it mean to do well? Brown-Driver Briggs defines it as, "to do well, right"; "make a thing good, right, beautiful"; "Do well, thoroughly". Any Psychologist will teach you that your thoughts influence emotions, which influence your outward behaviour and responses. They will also teach that the reverse is also true: your actions influence your emotions, which affect your thinking. This is where the "Fake it until you make it" teaching comes from. Do What You Want To Be I have struggled with this teaching as I have seen people use this it unwisely, resulting in foolish arrogance that brings much damage and hurt to those touched by such an individual. My father was once approached by a man who wanted to start a business in a highly technical field of engineering. This man was neither experienced, nor qualified in this specific field, nor in any other field of engineering. He had simply read a couple of books and he believed he could 'fake it until he made it'. Yet how many lives would he not endanger on the road to 'making it'? I am sure most of us have experienced this kind of foolishness in various forms, but this is a distortion or twisting an of otherwise foundational truth : Your behaviour can influence your feelings or emotions, as well as your attitudes and thoughts. Have you ever felt droopy, moody, or slothful, and you made yourself get up and go for a walk or run, a swim, or do any other activity more strenuous than pressing the buttons on the TV remote? Did you not feel more energetic and positive after the exercise? You are not your body. You are not your emotions. You are not your thoughts. You are more than your body, more than your emotions, more than your thoughts. If Paul tells us to take our thoughts, perceptions, and/or mind captive, we must be apart from these things to do so, right? This is the principle God is teaching Cain (and us) in Genesis 4. God was teaching him that his thoughts were causing emotions that further influenced his thoughts, which then intensified his emotions, round and round as they sucked him in a downward spiral. If he allowed that spiral to continue, sin was crouching at the door of his mind. Its desire was to ensnare him and ultimately destroy him. It was Cain’s responsibility to master his thoughts and emotions, and thus his actions, to keep himself from being ensnared by sin. Jeff Olson wrote a book called "The Slight Edge". In this book he teaches that we are either improving or we are deteriorating, depending on the small choices we make every day. Bowling Balls Effectively, we are like bowling balls. Bowling balls have a bias that causes them to veer off in one direction or another; they cannot roll in a straight line. We are either becoming more Christlike or we are becoming less Christlike. We cannot remain static because life is not static. Because of the fall, our natural bias is toward sin. It requires purposeful, intelligent, energy to move towards all we are called to be. If we do not exert that energy purposefully and intelligently, we will veer off to the sin side, however gentle that curve may appear. Mastering Sin God tells Cain that if he does what is right, his emotions would follow and in this way he would master sin. In fact God is actually telling him that he must master sin. Effectively sanctification, or the process of becoming more separated from the world, is a process of mastering sin. The process of being transformed by the renewing of our mind, is a process of mastering sin. Jesus has given us the power do this because He has broken the power of sin in our lives, through His death. Now we must take up our responsibility to master sin as we walk according to the Holy Spirit. The question is : In the absence of specific law, how do you know what is 'right' or ‘doing well’? We will look at that next week. But until then experiment with yourself in ways of changing your state of mind by deliberately doing something different to what your thoughts and emotions are driving you to do.  When you are not in a positive mindset (you may be feeling critical, angry, irritated, gloomy, blah, ...), do something like going for a walk, take a small gift to a friend, anything that will make someone else happy, and see what that does for your own mindset. Jesus takes this even further when He tells us to love our enemy, and to do good to those who hate us. Those of us who live in South Africa, live in an atmosphere of pervasive bitterness, deep resentment, and hatred, regardless of race. So many white people have stood in the gap to repent for the ‘sins of the past’, even going so far as washing feet to express their humility. This happens so many times that the process has lost its meaning. Repentence means more than simply speaking words. Repentence speaks of gaining an understanding of what caused offence and then changing that offensive behaviour within ourselves. How can we live out personal repentence to offended people in our nation, on a daily basis? Aggression, bitterness, resentment, hatred, and violence, will not overcome hatred. Only love can heal and overcome - love that flows from God’s heart through us, becuse this love has life. Hatred is of death, but Jesus has overcome death with His life and His love. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit daily, how to intentionally, meaningfully, and sensitively, show love to those around us, even those who set themselves up as enemies. Only love can overcome the darkness in our nation. This love revolution has to start somewhere. Let it start with us. Let it start now. Let’s start today, with just small, but meaningful, impactiful actions, which are easy to do and easy not to do, but when done, the cumulative effect compounds impactfully.
As you touch or hover over each picture in the four small squares above, they will be magnified in the main square. This demonstrates what happens in our minds; what we focus on becomes enlarged in our minds, to the exclusion of other things. When we get to see a larger frame, and see how the smaller parts fit together, our understanding often shifts.
Prev Next