Have you ever walked in your house or even in a restaurant with a nice, hot cup of coffee? During one of these times, did someone bump your arm, or maybe you stumbled a little? Probably, we have all had a cup of something hot spill over the rim and onto our hand. It isn’t a pleasant situation. Whether it is coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or soup just a little jostle can affect you and those around you.
It is the same when it comes to situations in our lives. Recently, I’ve had to deal with some very stressful circumstances, as we all do from time to time. One of these times was when I had to administer mandatory job cut backs at work. Unfortunately, our employer just needed fewer workers. During the time which led up to the resolution, many individuals were acting out-of-character; this is what I mean by spilling over… A close group of co-workers quickly turned to short-tempers and gossip because of a stressful situation.
When this happens, Satan is winning. Proverbs 25:28 says “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.” This is the most important time to focus on showing our self-control. These are the times, where our “deep down” self is shown to people, where people see past our own walls and into our true self. Do you like what you are showing? Are you proud of what is spilling out?
In Matthew 15:10-19 Jesus is talking to the multitude and states “Hear and understand: Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man” (v. 10b-11). When Peter came to Jesus and asked for an explanation, Jesus said, “Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man” (v. 17-18). This is the idea of paying attention to what is spilling out of us ALL of the time, which includes the stressful, jostling times of our lives. As Christians, we must understand that we are to be the light of the world, an example to all who are around us. What example do we show if we lose our self-control?
Paul explains to the Corinthian brethren in this way, “You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart” (2 Cor. 3:2-3). An epistle is simply a letter or communication. Paul is explaining that we are letters or a communication to the world from Christ. Is our life truly a communication from Christ to the world, even during the stressful times of our lives where our cup is being bounced, jostled, or even slapped out of our hand?
So, how do we get through these times? We ALL have them. Some may be worse than others, but we all must deal with our cup being jostled from stress, trials, and temptations. James tells us “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:7-8a). Submitting yourself to God is not always easy. We are in a world where we don’t like to submit to any kind of authority, let alone THE Authority. However, this submission is the first step to make sure nothing spills out of your cup, and allowing the “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, (to) guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7).