He executes justice for the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, he lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves those who live justly. The LORD watches over the immigrant and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. -Psalm 146:7-9

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Trinkets to Treasure

Personal Reflection, cont.
by David Powlison


1. Ponder the following passage from Ephesians.

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Ephesians 4:29-5:2).

Read it over 3-4 times. Take it slowly. Emphasize different sentences, phrases, words. Where do you tend to misfire in this area? Notice how God boxes us in: you can’t “keep to yourself” (bitterness), or “go to the other person” (wrath and anger), or “go to other people” (clamor and slander)! We are driven to deal with our attitudes before God, and then deal constructively and mercifully with others. Notice how persistently Paul puts specifics about the Lord into the picture. He knows we need strong and sweet-tasting medicine in order to deal with anger. What most strikes you about this passage?

2. Now work through our six questions.

Situation: What circumstances trigger your anger or complaining? What pushes your buttons?


Reaction: How do you express anger (thoughts, emotions, actions)?


Motive: What are your “buttons”?
I want _____________________.
I must have____________________.
At all costs, I don’t want _______________ and must avoid it.

Message: What specific things does God reveal about Himself (right in this passage), that bid to do battle with your angry reactions?


You might also start to fan out into the surrounding sentences in Ephesians.

Turn: Bring the real you in your real world to this Savior and Father. Have a conversation about what matters. Talk to God about these things. It is a huge step to verbalize out loud that our “buttons” (idols, cravings) are core sins, and to verbalize that we need the very mercies that are held out as our example. Christ is not a “model” that we watch from afar and then seek to emulate. Rather, he actually treats us with mercy, so we experience his mercy. By doing mercy to us, he teaches us up close and personal to show mercy to others.

Respond: What are you now called to do (and to not do)? What specific actions express how faith-working-through-love replaces craving-working-through-anger? What can and must you do right now that is merciful? Or when you get back home later today?


3. Worship is the opposite of anger & grumbling.
What “consolations to delight your soul” do the hymns, ("Jesus, what a friend for sinners" & "How firm a foundation") offer, give, proclaim, embrace, hope in, delight in?

Posted by Carolyn Mahaney on November 09, 2005 at 08:49 AM in Spiritual Growth | Permalink
November 08, 2005