When someone says something harsh about us. When there’s an attack (real or perceived) on our beliefs, values or rights. When we feel betrayed by someone. When we are faced with trials. When justice isn’t served. When we’re unfairly fired. When plans fall through. When discouragement, anger, frustration, irritation, or countless other negative feelings settle in.
What does our instinct tell us to do?
Instinct can be defined as a behavior that is mediated by reactions below the conscious level.
So when something happens, what does our instinct lead us to do? Do we react out of the flesh side of ourselves, or from our spiritual side? Do we allow anger, bitterness, and hate to bombard us, or are we able to meet these situations with love, grace and a prayerful attitude?
The answers to these questions are crucial. For we are told that “the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” (Matt 12:34b) This means that the way we react without thinking gives us a deeper truth–the truth into what our hearts are consumed with.
This doesn’t mean that we’ll respond correctly every time. Even if we’re growing in our relationship with Christ, continually sacrificing so that our priorities will remain in the proper order, and looking for ways to honor Him in all we do…we still won’t always respond the way we know we should. The way we so eagerly want to respond.
Even if we don’t choose the best way to react, each time that we choose the better option we take a step toward the best option becoming a habit. With every better step, we make progress.
So how can we begin to make progress toward our instinct resulting in the best reaction?
- We memorize scripture (Psalm 119:11)
- We meditate on positive influences (i.e. music, tv, internet interactions, etc)
- We continuously pray for it (1 Thess 5:17)
- We think before we speak (WWJD anyone?)
- We respond in only ways we wish others would respond to us (Luke 6:31)
If we are faithful to do all these things, I believe that little by little our instincts will align with His instincts. When this happens, we can be confident that our heart is healthy. After all, our end goal is to be so completely and utterly captivated, engulfed, and captured by Him that those who look at us no longer see us, but Him.
That is the place I know each of us here is striving to be.
Won’t you join us?