December 3, 2020

Five steps to gain emotional restraint

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What causes you to forgo emotional restraint?

One of the most embarrassing things a parent deals with is a toddler throwing a tantrum in public. The good news is that most children learn they do not get the outcome they want and grow out of this behaviour.

When leading a youth camp, I took car keys from a 18yo male who was dangerously hooning with a car load of young people. He threw an tantrum, and used the bonnet of my new red Datsun 200B as a trampoline.

Tantrums are a classic outworking of not self-regulating emotions.

Lack of emotional restraint will hijack thoughts and behaviours, as in the case above, where the boy’s boiling anger at not getting his own way resulted in inappropriate behaviour.

How to gain emotional restraint?

Galatians 5:16 has a great tip for us in gaining emotional restraint. “Let the Holy Spirit guide your life.“ Paul continues to list the consequences of lack of restraint, spiritually, physically, emotionally and relationally. We make things idols, negatively impacting our relationships, both with people and God.

Paul’s big point is that the Holy Spirit will produce fruit in us. These fruit are very tasty.

We have just had the joy of eating the first nectarines from our tree. Adrienne purchased it two years ago, carefully watered and protected it. Fruit ripened on the tree is so sweet.

What fruit tree are you cultivating?

One fruit of the Spirit is self-control or emotional restraint. Gal 5:22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

It is wise to practise moderating our emotions.

Belonging to Christ enables us to put to death harmful emotions.

Gal 5:24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

Are there passions and desires of the sinful nature that you need to crucify? Crucifixions work by sentencing, nailing and asphyxiation.

  1. Sentence: Tell them they are to die.
  2. Nailing: Find a way of monitoring your behaviour. eg How many days this week did I get angry?
  3. Asphyxiation: Don’t give them breath with thoughts or behaviours.

Bury dead things and cultivate living things.

Having put them to death, place them where they won’t do any more harm. Plant new things so they dont have room to re-spout.

  1. Burial: Bury the behaviour you don’t want. See Rom 6:4
  2. Cultivate: Plant a tree that grows; love joy peace, etc.

Who can help you crucify, bury and cultivate?

Tend the garden of your life: nurture the tree of Holy Spirit life.

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