At two years old, your verbal form of communication is in its beginning stages of development. Researchers (I heard) believe that children have temper tantrums or impulse emotions whenever they’re misunderstood or unable to communicate with who they are trying to share what they want with.
What is crazy is that people have continued to have temper tantrums into their twenties and onward. The level of emotional maturity in people is poor and it’s a shame that people don’t understand that your feelings should not control your actions. Don’t worry, I didn’t know either and today I feel that my success has been given to me by this lesson I learned.
It’s written in Scripture to not act rash (sin) in your anger.
Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.
Even if you don’t believe in Scripture, these verses have a point. I know we’ve all been in awkward situations where someone lashed out on another person because they felt like it and you were witness to this act. I remember I had a group of boys test my patience at work. It wasn’t until they left where I let out my frustration but I did not let it out to them because I knew it would be pointless. Ten years ago I would have had a fit and yelled at them for being so rude.
If I spent time giving people my opinions on everything I heard I would be more worried about other people’s business instead of developing myself.
Feelings have a personality
Feelings like to be comfortable. They like to be relaxed, lazy and perform with minimal effort. It’s human nature to have pride, impatience, and to get upset. You don’t have to teach anyone that.That’s not the only way our feelings try to get the best of us. I want to make sure you understand that I don’t mean that having feelings is wrong but acting upon them in the wrong way is.
But how do you get over that? How do you get control over your emotions? The first step is knowing that the flesh wants to be in control? The flesh is not going to be happy unless it gets its way. It’s easier to give in to your flesh than to say no to your flesh, your feelings.
It’s okay to give in when we’re two years old. The problem happens when we’re 42 and we’re still being ruled by our feelings. If you let your feelings control your decisions it will limit how far you can go.
It literally means we have to die to our flesh, we cannot give in to what we feel. No matter what you feel, our feelings will always lead us down the wrong path. Your feelings say things like, “I’m tired, I don’t need to go to work today”. Your feelings will want you to be rude or to get the last word in disagreements or misunderstandings. They’ll even go as far as telling you that you want another cookie or an extra brownie when you don’t need it. It may even tell you to hook up with someone for the satisfaction in the moment but later your current relationship will suffer.
But, deep down, if you listen closely, your Spirit will tell you no. Your Spirit will tell you that what you ate was enough. It will tell you to control yourself.
Unfortunately today, control is looked down upon. We praise people who party uncontrollably spend their money or time high and drunk, over-eating or staying home being lazy.
Comfortable is my middle name
Like I said earlier, your flesh wants to be comfortable but if you’re always satisfied you’ll never grow. You’ll notice that you’re in the same place you were two years ago. At some point, you either learn to climb over your hill or you will accept that your feelings are really who you are (when they’re not) and continue overeating, having an attitude, being impatient or sticking with pridefulness. Get past the temporary pain choose to follow Spirit
The harder it gets to say no to your flesh just means you’re growing in that area in life.
The 2 hardest things I struggle with is eating too many chocolate chip cookies or sweets. The second thing I struggle with is purchasing items I don’t need. I can have a list of what I need to buy in my head or on paper but my flesh always finds something that I forgot to add to my last or that I now need.
Instead of seeing it as a negative thing, I encourage you to see this discipline as an opportunity to grow.
I love how Joel Osteen states in his podcast episode, “Who’s the Boss?” that we need to think more about later on. Our feelings only tell us about right now and a mature person doesn’t get stuck on the emotion of the moment. They always think about later on.
Right now, your flesh may tell you that it wants junk food. You may submit and give it what it wants but later on, you’ll regret eating what you ate, buying what you bought or saying what you said. It always happens.
Later on, you’ll be healthier. Later on, you won’t have a job if you tell off your boss. The results are all up to you.
It’s hard to hold back but it’s better to tell your flesh to not control your life anymore. The more you say no and not allow your flesh to control you the more your character grows. You can be entrusted with more opportunities from God.
Keep in mind that your flesh will always want you to eat more, spend more, lash out more and work less. It’s not so easy to tell who is saying what. But if you listen you’ll hear that the flesh speaks loudly while the Spirit talks softly.
If you give in to your flesh instead of paying the price to get disciplined you will feel the effect later when you have to pay your bills, when you go t the doctors or when you need help from someone you told off.
Your decisions need to be made off of wisdom. People who use wisdom have done the right thing when it got hard. They let themselves get disciplined by the Spirit.
These people are good at saying no. Choose discipline and reap wonderful gifts from God. Choose to listen closely to the Spirit.
If you really think about it, your flesh will never tell you that if you buy that new Michael Kors purse you won’t have any money to put in it in 2 weeks. It’ll never admit the negative results to what it wants to do now, in the moment.
Your flesh will only tell you to give it food right now. Your feelings will tell you what they want but it doesn’t mean it’s best for you.
The flesh will want you to get angry or to stay bitter towards people who hurt you.
The flesh and Spirit are always battling to be heard by you.
You get to choose who’s in control. Only you can make that decision.
Are you going to let your flesh take control over your life? Will you keep letting your feelings rule your life?
Tell your flesh no, and that it’s not the boss of you. If you sow to your flesh, you will reap decay and destruction but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap life and life eternal.
Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.
You must do the right thing when it’s hard, so you can reap blessings and increase in this earth. You must do the right thing to keep relationships strong and to keep yourself healthy.
Practice discipline and you’ll come into a great harvest. Don’t let the flesh take control of your life like a dictator that leaves you doing nothing but following orders.
In reality, we feel things. we have feelings and we were made that way. We are emotional beings. Just because you feel something doesn’t mean you should act on it. Don’t act on anger, pride, or jealousy.
Is what you’re feeling going to help you improve? Who’s the boss in your body? You? Or your feelings?
As soon as you begin to practice discipline, expect for your flesh to want to yell loudly. It’s an ongoing process that you and I cannot let it take control again.
Every day, we must learn to say no to certain feelings. Every day we must say no to our flesh.
This article was inspired by Joel Osteen’s sermon, “Who’s the Boss”.
The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson
Yessenia Diaz has a background in graphic and web design but is also intrigued by writing and teaching. Yessenia created Tru.Works as an outlet for all her talents and continues collecting stories from around the world to share with people all across the interweb. Follow Yessenia on Instagram and her favorite, Twitter, @ythegreatdiaz.