Monday, March 23, 2015

Pushing My Buttons

        You know that person, the one who pushes your buttons all the time. Sometimes just being in the same room puts you over the edge, your hackles rise, and your claws come out just at the mere presence of them. The things they say, the things they do, and even the things they don’t do push every single button you have. As you are reading this, I am pretty sure that you have a picture of that person in your mind…am I right? We all have that one person, (whether we care to admit it or not) that one person that just gets on every nerve ending and brings out in us a person we would rather not see, ever….again.
            For me this person is someone whom I have to interact with on a daily basis, like, all the time. Every time I see them, or am in the same room with them my hackles come up, my claws come out and I am just waiting to pounce on the next word that comes from their mouth. I just want them to go away and leave me alone. I also know that this is not love, and that God has called me to love and serve this person. I know that He expects better of me and that my behavior towards this person is not pleasing to Him. But I also know that within me there is nothing that desires to love this person, and I cannot find within me the ability to love them. So what ends up happening is this endless cycle of anger and frustration, which leads me to a state of repentance and praying for a changed heart, only to get up the next day and do it all over again. This morning, after many weeks and months of praying it came to me, and the conviction of the Holy Spirit has finally gotten through my hard heart and shown me that I am capable of loving this person, because the Author of love lives in me. My problem is not inability; my problem is in where my heart is focused.
                “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:1-2
                My focus has been on what this person is, or isn’t. I have been comparing my walk to theirs. I do this in my walk, but they don’t, so why should I do anything for them at all? It’s like when I was five years old and didn’t want to share my Tonka trucks with my sister because she never shared her Barbie dolls with me. Why should I if they won’t? Why should I love them when they obviously love themselves more than they will ever love me?
                But that is where my focus was off. We have to come to the realization that we do not serve anyone but Christ. Paul tells us to set our minds on the things that are above. What things are above?
Our Father God is above, Jesus is above, and heaven, peace, hope and eternal rest are above. Love, where it abides and where it reins are also above. He is to be my focus, all the time, in all things, because I live for Him, not for anything or anyone else on this earth.
                Paul goes on to tell us in verses 5-10 of Colossians 3 that we need to put away all these behaviors of anger, wrath, malice, slander, evil speaking, all these attitudes and behaviors of the earth because we have put off that old man. Every time I get angry or frustrated or annoyed with this person I am living in the old person, I am choosing to put old me back on again. When I get angry and frustrated at this person I am digging up my rotten corpse that was buried with Christ and putting it on rather than choosing to put on Jesus Christ. I am putting on the things of earth and not the things of above. I am putting on anger and not love.
                “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and if anyone has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.” Colossians 3:12-13
                We are God’s chosen people.  He sees us as holy and beloved. He expects more from us than from the rest of the world. He expects us to heed His Word, to be obedient to what He tells us to do and He expects us to keep His command to love others just as He has loved us. He expects us to have kindness not only in our words and deeds, but in our thoughts as well. He expects us to be humble, not seeking to be right or have the last word, but to be okay with not being heard. Look at how long He has been patient with us; can we not extend that same patience to the one who pushes all our buttons?
                Paul then says that if we have a complaint against anyone, we are to forgive them. We are all to blame. There is not a single one of us on this earth who has ever gone a day without being at blame for something. This person in my life sins, just like me. This person who pushes my every button says things and does things that drive me crazy, just like I do to someone else, and possibly even to them. Any complaint we have about anyone should be taken to the Lord our God, who had and still has the only right to complain about anyone, yet He chooses to forgive us instead.
                “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17
                Whatever you do, notice Paul did not say whatever they do. When we begin to get angry or frustrated with someone we need to take a step back and remember it is not about them, it is about us. People are going to sin, they are going to say things; do things and not do things to annoy us, make us angry and hurt us- and, we are going to do the same to them. Our focus is not to be on them and what they have done, but on us, not on him but on me, not on her, but on me. You know the saying that if you point the finger at someone else there are three more pointing back at you? It’s about you and your relationship with Jesus Christ, not theirs. It’s whatever you do, not whatever they do- remember that the next time your buttons start getting pushed.
                “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.”
Colossians 3:23-25
    Once again Paul shifts our focus off of others and centers it back onto our own personal walks with Jesus. In horse races the horses are given blinders to wear because if they don’t wear them they will watch the other horses and not focus on the race. They become distracted by what the other horses are doing and end up falling down, getting hurt and taking out a few of their competitors along the way. We have got to put our blinders on. Paul tells us that whatever we do, we do if for Christ and not for man. That person that pushes your buttons might be your boss, or perhaps it is a spouse, or a family member. It does not matter who they are, because we do not serve them, we serve Christ. We do not work for man, we work for Christ. We don’t cook and clean for our husbands; we cook and clean for Christ. No matter what someone says or does, the only person God is concerned with is you.

                Paul encourages us that the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrongs that they have done, even if that wrongdoer is you, for with God there is no partiality. Don’t let what other people do or don’t do rob you of your peace. Keep your eyes on the things above, and keep your thoughts and all that you do focused on the fact that you live, walk, and talk for Jesus Christ. God will reward you, or God will correct you, no matter what that person may or may not do. God is only concerned with you.