PJ’s Daily Devotional for Saturday, March 11, 2017.
There is a way of escape when our desires and passions cause us to be at odds with ourselves and those we love!
You have heard of “stop, drop, and roll” when you are on fire. Well I say to you: “stop, turn away, and run into the arms of Jesus” when you are finding yourself at odds with yourself!
Paul teaches Timothy and each of us who follow the Lord Jesus as our Savior, “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:22-26).
Do you find yourself quarreling—at odds with yourself and others? Do you find that those who have historically loved you seem to be standing in your way or opposing you? Do you find yourself wanting to make a drastic shift in your life or in your relationships to deal with this conflict?
That is a hard place to be! It feels like the world has shifted on its axis and up is down, gravity has increased, the sun is rising in the west, right is left, and in that unsettled place there is a war waging. Let me be honest with you: the war is first and foremost within you! If that battle field is in your mind, it is called “cognitive dissonance”!
Examples of cognitive dissonance are as follows: when a loving husband takes a job as a bouncer and starts becoming argumentative at home where he once was patient and accommodating; when a formerly faithful spouse finds him/herself in an extramarital affair and the feelings of guilt overwhelm him/her as the secret festers like gangrene; when a hard-working loyal employee gets so overwhelmed by life that he calls in sick, but finds no rest because he feels guilty about missing work; when a tender-hearted child starts hanging out with the wrong crowd at school and starts to experience anxiety because she is being asked to do things she doesn’t want to do to be accepted by her new friends. In cognitive dissonance, the mental stress is experienced because the person is simultaneously holding two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values; or when the person is doing something that contradicts their existing beliefs, ideas or values.
Do you hear the war? When someone is experiencing the mental stress of cognitive dissonance, so often they seek some level of peace at whatever cost, including giving themselves over to that which is the problem. But that is not the way out!
The Bible diagnosis you as having been given over to your passions and desires! When you desire your next drink more than you desire your family, there is war! When you desire to break your promises in hopes of finding peace, there is war! When you become hardened to loving and trust, because you have been so deeply betrayed and hurt, there is war!
There is only one hope and it is a living hope! Paul gives the hope to Timothy as the bottom line up front: “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.”
Decide today: (1) move away from what “breeds quarrels” (JUST STOP IT!); (2) flee from all immorality (TURN AWAY FROM IT!); and (3) Pursue Jesus Christ—righteousness, faith, love, and peace (RUN INTO THE ARMS OF JESUS)!
It’s simple, but it is hard to do: STOP, TURN, AND RUN!