So we left off from “The Pressure Cooker – Part 1,” with the thought that we need to know our design. God made us in an intimate way, knowing us before we were formed , “For you [God] formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
Psalm 139:13-14 ESV
I find it awesome that our God and Creator of the universe took His time and effort to personally know us, to personally or Godally (yes I know is not a word, but it should be) “knit” the fabric of our being. Because He created us, I believe He knows what we are created for and what type of environment we are going to flourish in. To tie it all together, He knows the heat setting that’s best for us.
How much heat can we take? You may have heard the label of someone with a type A personality, that refers to someone who is highly driven or “successful”. And although these people may thrive in tough situations and may be able to get stuff done, that surely doesn’t guarantee that they can handle the heat very well. In many situations they are actually just plain stressed out and the “successful” and driven side is very often is a coverup, a sort of manifestation of a protective mechanism that this person is using to not deal with his or her past. They may truly be results driven, but many times there is unhealthy stress and pressure that needs to be removed.
Keep in mind this isn’t a dig at type A personalities, many have said that I am type A. But either way we all have our issues no matter our personality type of traits, “for [we] all have sinned, [are imperfect] and fall short of the glory of God” and need to be “justified [and set free] by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24 ESV (emphasis added). So no matter the personality type you may have been told that you are, God’s diagnosis and prognosis is much greater, much better.
So, we should figure out a way to remove the pressure. Don’t get me wrong sometimes pressure cookers are great thing, even in our Christian lives, because the heat and pressure can break down really difficult challenges and help us get through tough obstacles, BUT the heat must be removed sometimes for some time. Did you catch that “sometimes for SOME TIME.” this isn’t just 15 minutes a day, although if that is all you can get at the beginning do it. Lets bring back our pressure cooker, if it is cooking away and that rocker is a rockin’ you can take it off for a short amount of time and the rocker will stop, but you can put it back on the burner and it almost immediately picks up where it left off. Why? Although the heat was taken away and the pressure dropped enough to keep the rocker form rocking there is still a massive amount of pressure built up in side. Typically the safety valve is still up even. Are you getting the analogy? The safety valve is telling everyone to stay away do not open up, because bad things will happen. The second you add that heat back it is on again and you truly haven’t received a break, you truly haven’t received freedom from that build up.
This is probably why God told us to honor the Sabbath. I think it is cool that he made it one of the Ten Commandments to get some rest, to chill out, relax and take a load off. I think He may have known what He was doing, what His creation was going to be like, what pressures we would feel especially under the fallen world we are in. It is time to chill and reduce the pressure, to take some time for some time to balance that pressure again. We will examine some ways to do that in Part 3. To be continued….
How many of us have heard this being said in the heat of an argument? Why is that said? To release stress of the argument, to prevent negative or even more damaging things from being said, to prevent hurt or further separation? The answer is yes to all of these.
Proverbs 17:14 NIV
Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.
As the Scripture said going down that path is like breaking open a damn. It is better to simply drop the argument then deal with the overwhelming flood about to happen. But what about the issues on the other side of that barrier so close to breaking?
Why not take it easy and start letting the “water” out easily. In the heat of the moment, just drop it and when the water has settled start to talk about the stressors behind the emotion? You both will enjoy the discussion much more.
It has been said time and time again that it takes some exponential number of positive statements to offset the number of negatives in ones life. God spoke to me in yet another awesome way while having a discussion with my wife, Courtney yesterday that has just continued to resonate in me.
Now considering I used to be that guy that would take every word as an opportunity to take up a spirit of offense and fight with you about it, what the Holy Spirit gave me was huge. His response to a question posed about how often my wife and I do or don’t praise one another and if it was enough to offset the negatives we may or may not bring to the table. This probably isn’t news to you, but married couples do say non-positive or otherwise known as negative things to each other.
His response was that we need to deal with the deep wounds in our lives, otherwise Satan will take neutral comments to each other and twist them into negative, heartless, ungrateful and hurtful comments.
He gave me a vision of a pressure cooker. With the top off it is no more than a pot and as the temperature rises the steam simply vents out, but once you put the top on every bit of heat adds to the pressure felt inside. Until the pressure indicator rises it is still safe to take the top off, but once the pressure indicator pops up there is to much going on to safely remove the top. As the pressure builds even further the rocker on top lets of enough steam to keep the pot from exploding.
I believe this is the heart behind Ephesians 4:27 – “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.” (The Message)
Much like that top, holding what’s in, in and keeping what’s out, out, an event or words that hurt deeply can create a barrier that not only shields us from bad, but prevents us from letting positive in and negative pressure out. If we deal with it soon enough in a healthy manner we can take care of it, taking the top off, without too much, if any, collateral damage. But at this point every little but of heat adds to that hurt and pressure inside. The problem comes when we pass that point of pressurization, the indicator pops up and watch out. What is that indicator for us as people? It could be the smiles and flirtatiousness dissipates, arguments don’t stop and can get to the point of pure dislike or hatred towards the other spouse. It could be almost anything, we need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, to help us notice the indications.
The issue of compliments, neutral and negative comments is hard to deal with at this stage. Once the pressure’s up a nice comment here and there is like tipping the rocker with your finger to let a little more pressure release. This compliment could be roses or tickets to a ballgame our any other nice gesture for those who’s words get in the way, but like splashing a small amount of water on the top to cool everything down a tad. It doesn’t last long and it can be back to the same pressure in no time and some times that little splash of water can become steam and burn you (I hope you’re getting the analogy here). In addition many times the pressure comes back quickly because the heat from under the pot hasn’t been taken away.
There are three problems here one is the top that started to keep in the heat and therefore build pressure, two is the heat under the pot and the third I will address later. The heat could be coming from many sources, a job, family, school basically life. The top is anything that keeps you from venting that heat. Everyone is different so determining which needs to be addressed is not for me to say in a blog, and truly should be talked through with an unbiased counselor or mentor, but I hope this will help.
Some can handle and dare I say even enjoy the heat of everyday life. It drives them, gets them off the couch, lets them do things, some not so much. If you don’t like the heat, get out of the kitchen. I’m not being rude or obnoxious here I am simply saying know your design. If God created you to operate at room temperature or on keep warm, then don’t throw yourself on a red hot burner. To be continued…..”The Pressure Cooker – Part 2“
I was singing worship today and I felt God give me a word as we sang out the following lyrics from a Gateway Worship song:
You are wonderful
Yours my heart
You’re my life
He said to me, “I know”, and there was a short pause, “even in your sinning, even in your struggles, I know you’re trying, I know your heart is mine and mine is yours”.
He went on to show me how I used to judge Christians and their actions, their failures to live up to my expectation of what a Christian should do, say and even look like. His response to that?
“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye but do not notice or consider the beam [of timber] that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, Brother, allow me to take out the speck that is in your eye, when you yourself do not see the beam that is in your own eye? You actor (pretender, hypocrite)! First take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye”.
Now, I have seen this scripture being used in church on how we should treat fellow believers, I’ve read it probably hundreds of times outside of that, but this was the first time in the ten years of being a Christian that He showed me this verse from the view point of when I was lost.
It’s not just about how we judge each other as believers, those who are found. He showed me this as a response, a rebuttal, to the lost and the refusal of Christ based on the actions and attitudes of others. If you are lost and like me when I was, used this judgment of others as a form of shield or crutch from seeing, experiencing and becoming found by Jesus, take the log out of your own eye first.
Who is to say the person you are judging is not singing those precious lyrics mentioned above, but is newly found or it’s just struggling in their everyday life. Who is to say that Jesus doesn’t just want your heart so that you can help them through those struggles. Who is to say that Jesus isn’t using that because if they weren’t struggling you wouldn’t have noticed them and that is exactly what you needed to be touched and called to Jesus.
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
The answer to “Who is to say?” is Jesus, he loves you even in your sin, even in your struggles and screw ups, He has no log in His eye which makes Him the only judge that can truly see a person’s heart and He wants to to set you free. Set you free of that judgment of others, something my old lost self or “flesh” still thinks it can judge better than the Creator of the world. Not so. I have set that thought process at Jesus’s feet to let Him take that lie and set me free.
This is for everyone, but especially for those who are already in a relationship with Christ, possibly for a long time, remember He has no log, not even a speck in His eye. He sees everything clearly and misses nothing. Even knowing what He knows about you
He’s in love with you, He loves you unconditionally. Let these words come from you’re heart:
You are wonderful
Yours my heart
You’re my life
What is the Holy Spirit saying to you I would love to hear from you.
P.S. Thank you Gateway Worship for putting such great music together that expresses the love of and for Christ so well.
And one more scripture God just showed me for today:
Who is a God like You, Who forgives iniquity and passes over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retains not His anger forever, because He delights in mercy and loving-kindness. He will again have compassion on us; He will subdue and tread underfoot our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.